Ironing Maidens are here baby, and they are tired of picking your shit up.
Their new song ‘Lighten The Load’, tackles the worst C-word of them all… Cleaning! The electronic duo are known for their challenging gender norms with their unapologetic mix of in-your-face lyrics, humour and iron-y, and this new single is no exception. We caught up with magnificent maiden Melania Jack about all things domestic labour.
Do you ever feel like ‘Oh FFS it’s 2019 and we’ve still got to sing about this shit?’
Exactly. That’s what I think about it all the time! I don’t know who I was talking to but I was saying recently that I’m looking forward to a time when we can just dissolve the Ironing Maidens, because everyone has come full cycle and gone ‘let’s get rid of these gender roles’, and we can just give up the ironing.
There are a lot of conversations around gender roles at the moment.
Yes, it’s slow to move though. When we looks at the stats and the differences from the 1950s to 2016 census, it’s a joke that it’s taken that long for not much to budge. Although yes the topic is definitely out there, it’s just a matter of how fast can we undo all of this social conditioning and all this unconscious bias and these archaic ideas about what it mean to be a woman or a man.
I want to know how you create instruments out of irons and ironing boards!
We have a couple of different prototypes, essentially we find old irons and ironing boards and pull them apart. If they’ve got a nice cavity inside we might put one of our little synthesisers. Others we set up to trigger samples that we have and then the ironing boards have trip sensors so we can hit different parts of the sensors and trigger different sounds, sounds we’ve collected from ironing boards and washing machines and household items. We create the bass drum or high hat and sewing machine sounds in there. It’s like full circle [laughs] I mean some days I just look at it and go ‘ooh that’s art isn’t it, we just spent all this time making an iron make an iron sound.’
What was the genesis of the idea for the Ironing Maidens?
It’s interesting, that thing with artists, you realise through the process your own ideas and politics. As the years have gone on I’ve realised how passionate I am about the concept of gender equality, starting in the household as a child out there on my BMX with my male cousins, but at 5 o’clock I would be the only one who got called in to peel the potatoes. And I’d think ‘Why can’t these boys do it?’ And no one could tell me that, why it was. Years later I realised I’ve got so much pent up resentment towards all of that housewife training I had so young. It becomes outrageous. We’ve all got bodies and homes and we all just need to learn to look after them ourselves.
The Ironing Maidens’ hot new single, ‘Lighten My Load’, is out now on all digital platforms. You can take a listen on Spotify here.