Military Position is fire. The solo project from Melbourne-based producer Harriet Kate Morgan—who has leant her skills to acts like Armour Group, ZOND and Sydney black metal outfit Tyrannic—explores the space between sexuality and subjugation through searing industrial beats and harsh experimental tones
We talked to Morgan about her latest effort, Black Noise, challenging male norms and playing with Puce Mary.
Concept behind Black Noise
There is no single concept behind Black Noise. There are many different elements that have brought me here to this point along the past eight years. The release itself is part of a long and large series of Military Position releases, based around different big themes that would take me a long time to explain—so I won’t go into full detail.
What influenced Black Noise, most simply, is the experience of being a female musician in extreme music; the hurdles that you come up against constantly when you’re visibly different. Black Noise is a conceptual reference in opposition to the banal and non-emotional connotations of white noise.
Black Noise on the other hand is the emotional and references the everyday industrial contemporary woman; the depressive emotions that come with the domestic and struggling to have a career, musically or otherwise. It’s the sound of a potential future housewife’s inner torment; a trapped domesticated woman—it’s about the balance between [having to be] functional and sexually appealing, which in itself is exhausting for anyone.
Military Position's exploration of 'sexuality, non-conformity and subjugation'
The insight is in my experience as a ‘heterosexual’ female for 31 years. Most females could relate. I have for a very long time hidden and concealed my sexuality due to various incidents over my life. I now realise how conditioned I have been to do so—told and schooled on how to be a ‘woman’ in the way that fits peoples understanding of what that is; what that means.
If I do anything outside of peoples understanding, how does that effect their view of who ‘I’—this vehicle—really am. I enjoy the course of destroying these definitions and assumptions through music.
The freedom that Military Position to creates
Military Position is literal freedom from another band member, which has evolved through playing live regularly and having to cope alone with multiple things to attend to. It is always a challenge and playing a successful show makes me feel accomplished. I think, for any musician, it is an interesting process to go through—creating a solo project.
In Military Position, self-sufficiency creates that urgency in the music—that drive that I need to stay interested whilst practising alone. It is all my vision without any discussion; for better or for worse.
Modern feminism carving a place in harsh music
I was very pleased to play with Puce Mary recently. Not because of the hype surrounding this particular artist, but because I actually respect what she does musically—regardless of sex. It is significant that she is female, of course, but to me she is unique beyond her gender due to the music that sits aside from her as a person.
I hope that her recent shows have a ripple effect on those watching, and undoubtedly it will. I hope to see more women playing always—in whatever musical field. What I really crave though is bands I actually like listening to with men or women in them. I think it’s dangerous to define things as ‘girl’ bands and a female sound due to the gender constrictions that places on audio-freedom. Obviously I am obsessed with a non-cis male perspective and voice, but not at the cost of bad end product. Regardless of gender it needs to be quality output.