A Mess is Dorte Hartmann. Expect voice, guitar and drums, expect this to be loud and non-apologetic. A Mess speaks up and rocks hard. What’s not to love?
Hartmann’s new EP “WOMAN” is five songs of brutal honesty about what it feels like to be female in today’s day and age. We hear a lot about it in Danish music these days: standing up for yourself as a non-male in a male-dominated society. While I could not be happier about this conversation, most of it is communicated through electronic pop music. “WOMAN”, for its part, is more exciting because it is straight up rock! There are some pop elements, a little grunge, and a lot of riot grrrl. When I put this music on, I want to untie my hair and rock out because I deeply relate to every word A Mess says.
“WOMAN” addresses the big topics: power and norms, not wanting children, female friendship, sex and dating, sexual consent. A Mess boldly stands with all women who have been called sluts or dirty. She is gives her voice to all of us who have been degraded for doing… well, basically anything the patriarchy does not approve.
Yes, just like men, non-males are allowed to have as much sex and partners as they like. No one should be judged for it. And no, this does not give anyone permission for non-consensual sexual actions. Not wanting to have children is still seen as selfish, when it really should be a personal decision. I am thankful A Mess is speaking up about all these things. She does it so sympathetically, so nonchalantly. She angrily shouts, playfully whispers and confidently speaks her mind as grunge guitars and powerful drums accompany her vocals.
Besides music, Hartmann engages in activism in other art forms. For example, art hybrid Snapshots of a Wo/Man, which combines music, mini-documentaries and gender debate. Together with musician Tomas Høffding and film director Tor Kolding, she discusses prejudices about men and women.
On her next tour, A Mess will travel all over Denmark, including three nights with Ring Them Bells, who charmed us with their debut album last year.