Evelyn Morris, also known as Pikelet, is a music maker, movement starter and passionate advocate for women in music and ensuring the women’s stories and voices are heard. As well as a much-loved performer in her own right, Evelyn has started Listen, a collective which is gathering and documenting the Melbourne Music Scene from all perspectives, not just the male-dominated stories that are so often circulated.
When did you first take to the stage and realise that you wanted to dedicate your life to entertaining others?
I’m not sure that I ever decided to entertain others… I’ve never felt very good at that. I’ve always wanted to investigate music though. Ever since I was a really small child and playing around on my grandmother’s piano.
What are the three gigs or moments that stand out for you as being pivotal point, either career-wise or personally, for your music
The first solo pikelet gig I did in Sydney… There were heaps of people there and the lineup was really eclectic and experimental so I felt really intimidated. But I overcame it and had a great time. Since then I’ve thought back to it many times as an example of overcoming nerves and doing fine.
When baseball played at a festival in Taiwan that had been rained out by 2 typhoons so was held in an underground venue that was far too small for the amount of attendees that wanted to come along. They were very fired up it was extremely electric in terms of energy.
I also remember the very first pikelet gig ever in Melbourne. Once again I was very afraid but everyone encouraged me heaps and it was very fulfilling and affirming.
Tell us a little about Listen Collective and how it came about. Where can we find more info about it?
Listen collective came about because I complained about a book that came out last year called ‘noise in my head’, which chronicled stories from the ugly Australian underground. I found its language to be very masculinity worshipping and misogyny in Melbourne music was something I’d been thinking about for a while without having the guts to talk about. Once I did the response was really great and positive and very quickly developed into a new movement rather than just a criticism of what was already happening. We are now collecting stories from women identified and LGBTQI folks (and male identified feminist allies) to chronicle our own history and create discourse around music rather than just partaking in it without any social impact on our surroundings.
Do you see any changes in the amount of women who are engaging with the live music scene, or the way they are engaging through Listen? Are there any specific issues that seem to arise time after time without being resolved?
I do see a change largely just in the amount that feminism has become part of everyday dialogue. At least it has for me anyway. It’s hard to say what the broader changes are or will be as it’s evolving very rapidly and I imagine my perspective is skewed somewhat being at the centre of it for the time being.
What is next for Pikelet?
Just more songs, more recordings. I have a new band made up of some friends, so the sound is changing a lot. I’m also doing solo improv/electronic sets as Pikelet and piano sets of instrumental pieces I’ve written as Evelyn Morris. There’s a finished record of those pieces being released later this year.