Interview written and conducted by Rhyan Gaspari
This week, Metal and Melodies spoke with Franccesca De Struct. This woman is definitely more than a triple-threat. She may be a dancer, fire-breather and a bassist, but she has a very good sense of what’s going on in the world.
With a good head on her shoulders and a bass in her hands, there’s nothing this girl can’t do.
This is all the intro this needs.
How are you today?
I’m doing pretty well! Definitely busy… then again, I’m always busy. It’s a curse and a blessing.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Franccesca De Struct. I’m the bassist for two amazing bands: Kuza and Ginger V. I’m also a published model, fire performer, dancer and all around weirdo.
When did you know you were destined to be in a metal band?
I’m not a big believer of destiny. I decided I wanted to be in a metal band from the moment I started avidly listening to music and discovering which genres spoke to me. Somewhere around 14, I suppose.
Do you think the internet has harmed or helped the music industry?
I think the internet is harmless; it’s the way that people choose to use it that decides whether or not it helps or hurts the industry. In many ways, the advent of the internet and the increased connectivity between people allows spreading music and ideas exponentially easier. However, with the increased ease of access, the industry has become flooded. These days, anyone with a music program can be a band, and sometimes what matters to people is strictly dependent on some internet popularity contest. I can easily say that the internet has helped me, personally, but as far as the industry goes; that really depends on from which side of the glass you are looking.
What is the biggest struggle you face as a woman in the metal genre?
Being taken seriously. I hate to say it, but there is still this huge stigma facing women in the industry; especially women who are just starting out and trying to gain a foothold. It’s almost as if the industry sees a girl playing an instrument and thinks, “Awe, that’s cute! Look at her playing her little instrument.” I have a lot of friends in the industry who are in successful bands, and to this day I get the sense that they don’t take me seriously as a musician. Women in music (especially metal) aren’t seen as much more than a gimmick, or a sex object (excluding, of course, the women who have already made it and cemented their reputation as legitimately talented). When I first started out, I was offered spots in numerous bands only to discover that the offer was really a cover for more sinister intentions. It got to a point where I became incredibly discouraged and almost stopped pursuing music as a career. I can’t blame the men entirely though; over the course of time that rock n roll has existed, women as a whole have put themselves into the position to be viewed with less respect. Be it groupies, or crazed fans, or jealous girlfriends, constant complaining over work, or whatever the case may be- the general lack of respect women pay themselves has definitely played a role in developing the stigma against them. It just means women have to work all the harder to prove themselves.
What about the bass appeals to you?
Truthfully, I like the way it feels to play the instrument itself. I started off by playing guitar, and the strings felt awkward and dainty. I like the sturdiness of the bass, the thick strings and large fret board. I like the flexibility of not being the forefront of the composition. Because the bass line tends to be less technically complex, I feel as though I have more freedom to focus on the showmanship during shows. Besides, there are countless lead guitar players all vying for a shot at the spotlight, I felt the bass was more unique and would afford me more opportunities in finding a band. My love for the bass also has a lot to do with the musicians which influenced me when I was younger. The music I loved, and the musicians I idolized tended to be the bass players. There is also something to be said about the visceral feeling of a bass so deep it vibrates your chest; a show wouldn’t be the same without one.
What are your other interests besides music?
Ha! So many, it’s absurd. In general, I’m a person who never ceases to find new subjects which interest me. The world is a place of wonder, and I feel like what makes life worth living is experiencing as much as I can of it. My life is a serious grab-bag of random and obscure interests, definitely more than I can name.
Your fan, Tyler, would like to know what your favorite memory of the UK was?
My favorite UK memory? Oh man, that’s a difficult question. The issue with answering that question is that so many of the experiences I had were amazing for different reasons. I have my favorite moments from being on stage, or meeting the fans, or even just the hilarity of sharing a tour bus with Motionless; and they’re all so different it’s difficult to pick a favorite.
Looking back, what advice would you give to the 16-year-old version of yourself?
Practice more. Learn discretion; the world doesn’t always need to know everything you do. A reputation takes a lifetime to build, and as much as the immortality of youth wants to throw a middle finger up and scream “fuck you, I don’t care what you think”, you have to keep in mind that people are judgmental, and sometimes their judgments can affect your ability to get work.
What is one life skill you believe everyone should know?
Personal accountability. Personal accountability encompasses so much of what I feel are the most important tools to success. Personal accountability means that you accept your limitations, and make the decision to change them. It means knowing who you are, what you stand for, your own self-worth, and not allowing the outside world to affect those things. Taking personal accountability prevents a person from becoming a victim of circumstance, and empowers them to change the world around them. It’s much easier said than done; it takes a lot of self-exploration, self-esteem, and wisdom to be able to see both the positive and negative traits you possess, and the responsibility each action has on your situation.
What was your first concert experience like?
You’d laugh. The first concert experience I ever had was when I was 11 years old. My mom took me to see BackStreet Boys. To 11 year old me, it was amazing. Haha.
Why do you think body image has become such a big issue? What can we do to fix it?
I think the reason it’s become a problem is that the “need” for perfection isn’t about positive reinforcement anymore; now the price that’s paid for imperfection is ridicule and shame. Sadly, I don’t think there is a fix. For some reason what has become important is something entirely insubstantial. Beauty fades, youth fades, and as people get older what really constitutes someone as a person is all that really matters; unfortunately None of us are guiltless; not even myself. Vanity is natural; carnal- it’s an evolutionary left over from the days of needing to attract a suitable mate. I struggle with body issues and insecurities, just like everyone else. It just seems that lately there is too much of a focus on physical attributes, and that shift has made body image an actual problem.
What is in the immediate future for Kuza and what can fans expect later on?
Immediate future? The video release is coming soon, and a new EP is in the works, plus a tour in 2014 is a certainty. I try not to focus on too much further in the future than that.
Do you have a personal message for your fans?
I don’t want to be a preacher; the path that worked for me won’t work for everyone. I’m still figuring out life for myself, so I don’t feel like I’m in any position to tell anyone else how to lead their own life. The only thing I can really say, is that it’s important to do things which make you happy; whatever those things may be. Learn as much as you can and make your own decisions, forge your own path, and be whoever it is you want to be.
You can find Franccesca on the following sites:
@FDeStruct on Twitter
franccescadestruct on Instagram