I’m the course leader for Music Production at BIMM Bristol. I’m a composer/producer currently releasing deconstructed club/dark ambient music. I’ve released two solo albums ‘Chrysalis’ (2014) and ‘Singulacra’ (2016) and have performed across the UK and in Europe. I’m currently working on two new projects, which should be released late 2017/early 2018. I hold both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Creative Music Technology and I teach Immersive Sonic Environments to BA3 students at BIMM Bristol.
How well do you think are women represented in the music industry?
Really I can only talk about production as I don’t have first-hand experience of other areas of the industry. Female producers are very few and far between; we represent around 5% of our profession which I think is pretty low in comparison to other areas of the industry.
There seems to have been an increase in ‘women in music’ themed events and ‘female fronted’ gigs, do you see this as a positive or negative? Why?
I think promoters should work harder to ensure line-ups are more gender balanced but I don’t believe in the whole all-female line-up thing. It feels quite reactionary – we want equality – which isn’t created through segregation. Female is not a genre, I believe a good line-up should be programmed based on a cohesive aesthetic – how will you draw the right audience if it’s too eclectic?
I’m quite lucky as I have some really supportive friends who also happen to be exceptional musicians but I don’t feel like I’m part of a collective. All of the people I know who are involved in experimental electronic music are men and many of them are part of a collective, friendship group, or label project. I think that this collective power really helps them to mobilise their projects, and feel secure in their work.
Being part of a collective of like-minded producers/artists would be awesome but I’ve just never found myself in that position, which I feel is partly due to being a woman and partly due to being a lone parent. I have very little spare time for socialising. I’m not sure what the solution is really, I wouldn’t want gender to be the unifying factor, I really feel that it should be based on the music and a shared vision.
Have you ever experienced the issue of ‘you’re good for a girl’?
Unfortunately yes, it can be difficult to be taken as seriously as my male peers. Technology is still broadly seen as a male thing and some people just assume that you know very little. I try not to give it too much energy to be honest, as it’s just laughable. I also find that it can work the other way, my being obviously technically knowledgeable can be really intimidating to some people (both male and female!). I’ve learnt to be careful not to inadvertently go over people’s heads – it’s definitely a fine line to tread!
What do you think women can do to change the stigma behind being female in the creative industries?
We should be visible while producing, more photos of us in the studio would be helpful. Female Pressure created this VISIBILITY blog a while back – things like this help to change perceptions of women in production.
More female-led technology-based workshops in schools could also be really helpful, we need to catch young people before they decide what they want to do at college. I used to run workshops for youth groups and youth centres, they specifically headhunted me for this work so I could help to promote technology to young women. I really loved this work but it lost a lot of funding a few years back.
More women doing production-focused interviews, teaching, and talking about their creative practice could really help. I’ve recently been asked to do one of these for Ableton which should happen quite soon.
I think it’s slowly changing, the number of young women getting into production is noticeably increasing.