I sat down with Kelsy Munsterman, an Oakland musician, for tea at my apartment in downtown. As a singer/songwriter/guitar player she has been involved with bands such as Chump Change and Star Fucking Hipsters, leading to her latest project, Faultlines. A strong lady with a sweet demeanor, Kelsy puts her heart and soul into her work. With a love of travel, music, and diy Kelsy stays active in the local art and music scene. Here is a glimpse into her world:
How did you become involved in music?
Basically I grew up with a guitar. My dad handed over his guitar when I was around 10. My parents were really into music like Grateful Dead and stuff like that so they would give me instruments to play. And I wanted to learn Blink 182 songs pretty early on so that was part of it. (::laughs::)
What was your introduction to Oakland?
I was hanging out with some older friends and we came out here. They knew some people and we went to a show. I didn’t really know anyone, I was 16 so I was like okay, let’s do this. We came out here, went to a show at Hazmat and we ended up staying out here. Right away I knew from being at the show and seeing people so excited and friendly, everyone had a sense of community and fun and everyone was super into the music. Oakland has such a diverse group of people and they seemed excited to be there.
What do you like about the music scene here?
The community and friendships. I just like how versatile it is in terms of different kinds of music and how people can just have fun and relate to all different styles and there’s always something going on. Everyone is pretty accepting of everyone else. And there’s always shows.
You travel frequently. What do you think of the music scene in Oakland in comparison to other places?
Because there’s such a unique blend of people there are different kinds of music at all times. There’s always something to do or some barbeque to go to with some random punk bands playing. Whereas other places I’ve visited there’s not as many options.
What is it like to be a woman in the music scene?
It’s very different. To start, there are very few women who are musicians in general as compared to men so it’s kind of like you have to prove yourself talent wise that you are capable of making good music but once you make friends and know enough people it’s pretty easy to get into the music scene and then opportunities just explode. Its awesome meeting new people and learning new things.
Do you feel like you’re treated differently as a woman?
Well, there are certain things. Like sometimes a guy will be like “Here let me help you with your equipment” and I’m like no…I can carry my own equipment (::laughs::) I’ve been playing it for a while, if I couldn’t carry it I probably wouldn’t have such heavy equipment. And it is different because some people, not a lot of people, but some people just think automatically you’re not going to be as talented just because they haven’t seen as many women musicians. Being able to prove them wrong and show them there are women out there who can play awesome music and do great things is just like one up on them.
You’ve been living here for a pretty long time. Why do you stay in Oakland?
Well, cheap rent (::laughs::). And the art scene, First Fridays, there’s always some cool place to go or art show to go see. There’s always a show going on. There are a lot of cool things going on in the city but in Oakland it’s much smaller so it’s more likely that you’ll run into your friends. You don’t have to ride far to get anywhere it’s pretty easy to get everywhere in Oakland. It’s mostly pretty flat so…
Kelsy’s Munsterman’s Top 3 Things To Do in Oakland:
- Ride bikes with a box of Franzia to The Tea House: There’s a little dock on the beach and you can see sting rays when they’re feeding. There’s an old piano and tea packets everywhere which is why they call it the Tea House.
- Play Find the Black Dahlia’s Grave in Piedmont Cemetery: Great big cemetery where you can just wander around, hang out on the grass, ride around, skate around and just explore. And good tacos right down the street at Baha’s.
- Beer Revolution: Because they have the most awesome beers. Go to Beer Rev and then to Metro for a show, maybe over to Souley Vegan…and then back to Beer Rev.