It is important now more than ever to embrace and celebrate what connects us: our resilience. This month, we’re shining a spotlight on Courtney O’Connor, Social Media Manager of Revival Recordings, a partner of Our Music My Body. Read our interview to hear from Courtney about stopping sexual harassment in the music scene and what we can all do to bring a culture of consent to live music.
Read our interview with Courtney below.
Tell me about your role and work at Revival Recordings.
I started working at Revival Recordings two years ago. I was with running their Twitter and I’ve moved up to Social Media Manager, taking over all our social media, some of the bands we work with, and our distribution company. I do that, I do some A & R (artists and repertoire) stuff there, I find collaborations like we do with OMMB (Our Music My Body) and other marketing things. So my role expanded over the past two years into a little bit of everything.
You worked with Our Music My Body on a live video series on Instagram interviewing bands at your record label about preventing sexual violence in the music industry. Can you tell me about that project and about OMMB’s partnership with Revival?
I met Maggie Arthur (Resilience’s Director of Education and Training), who used to run Our Music My Body at Riot Fest where they had a tent. I went up and chatted with her and in my work brain I thought wow, they would be great to partner with. I reached out and spoke with Maggie. We’ve done a few collaborative things, not just live streams. We started with a T-shirt collaboration. We did the live stream interviews with a couple of our bands and Nina Wilson, Prevention Educator & OMMB Coordinator. One of our bands wanted to interview Nina so that their fans could understand the program, they talking about the importance of preventing sexual violence and what the bands can be doing to prevent things at their shows. For their merch tables, we printed out QR codes on guitar picks that you can scan for resources. So our bands have brought those out on tour so people have access to that. Rather than just a little piece of paper, it’s a little token to bring with them.
OMMB is a collaborative campaign aiming to raise awareness about sexual harassment in the music scene. What is one thing any music fan can do to bring a culture of consent to events such as concerts and festivals?
For any music fan or someone who continuously goes to shows, I think we all have a responsibility to be aware of what’s happening around us, speak up, report anything we see, and look out for each other. Music is such a community within itself. Shows are such a community within itself. Being there, you realize all these people like the same thing I do right now. We’re all in this room for the same reason. I think you can be aware and call out if you see anything bad happen and understand that it’s not okay in any situation. Shows are probably going to continue to have these issues, but as long as we, the bands, the fans, the people working at the venues, all want to work towards this goal of ending the violence at the shows, I think it can hopefully one day happen.
The conversation around ending sexual violence and harassment in the music industry seems to continue to grow in the past few years since the initial surge of the MeToo movement. Why do you think that is? Have you seen attitudes or conversations shift in this time?
I’ve definitely seen attitudes and conversations shift. We had the Me Too movement and then COVID and just a lot of conversations happening all around about a lot of different things. Things were being brought forth that people either didn’t want to talk about or were too ashamed to. Now, bands are more open to talking about it. I think before they felt like what was happening wasn’t their responsibility. Security handles everything. But now we have bands that go up on the stage and are like, “Okay, we’re going to start the show. We don’t want to see violence. No harm done at our shows. If someone falls, pick them up.” We hear that a lot now since Astro World and other dangerous situations, not just sexual violence. Bands and artists are being more aware. Not that they weren’t before, but they’re being more vocal about that and standing up for it right off the bat. I think a lot of people now are more aware of the idea that even if you love a band, you still have to call out when they’re wrong. There still is the devoted mentality for some fans, but I think many fans now are more aware. It’s still hard for people to speak out if they’ve had issues with especially prominent bands and make that step. We see a lot of people come out anonymously or on social media but I think we as a community are more open to hearing it now.
What do you want people to know that you haven’t been asked about? About your work, the music industry, sexual violence, or anything else?
One thing that we at Revival want to touch on is the label’s responsibility for some of these things. With bands that do have allegations, labels also have to take the responsibility of deciding whether or not they are going to keep those bands on the label and having protocols in place if those situations arise. We also want to have that continued conversation with our bands. We have a no-tolerance type of policy. We make that very clear to our bands. We don’t put up with that. You will not be part of Revival. I think we have more women working at our label at the moment than men, so that’s really important to us. I think people want to know what the label’s responsibility is. A lot of people don’t think that they have that responsibility when it comes to the band, but you do.
How can our community and the music industry support OMMB?
The community and the music industry can support OMMB by continuing the conversations. We want to continue getting the information out there, the resources, and talking to our bands. The community will hopefully take that and spread that information and awareness. With our shirt collaboration and things like that, donations help any organization at the end of the day to keep it running. We want to continue getting Our Music My Body out there. That’s why we did the guitar picks at the shows and why you guys do the tents at festivals. I know when I first met and connected with OMMB, it was very Chicago-based and I think spreading that outside of Chicago, getting that with our bands that tour, they get it out there in different cities, and even though you guys are based out of Chicago, that can spread the word and get others involved.
What’s one fun fact about you?
One fun fact I actually have a degree in psychology, and that’s what I thought I wanted to do with my life, but music was always a passion, so I switched careers and am now fully invested in doing music and being involved in this industry.