Women in Electronic Music & Female Music Producers

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In my ideal world there would be no need for gender differentiation and talk of disparities.

But in the meantime, here on planet earth it has been pointed out that women are under represented the fields in which i am active: namely electronic music and recording studio engineering/music production.

Though we have made progress since the days that Decca Records told Delia Derbyshire the recording studio was no place for a woman in 1959, we are still apparently less than 5% of engineers/recording studio producers. And only the other day a studio engineer/producer was telling me she was the only female at a Music Producers Guild event.

And according to a report and international press statement published in 2013 by Female:Pressure, only 5% of artists on electronic music labels are female and a a 10% proportion of female artists on festival line-ups can be considered above average. Click here for Female:Pressure 2017 FACTS survey.

VISIBILITY IS KEY

I have often been asked about this somewhat complicated subject in interviews, for research or in just plain conversation. And discussion is necessary.

Though I am tiring of the limiting language of how few of us are doing it and feel it much more helpful to be making more visible and heard what we are doing. It has even been said to me that it is ‘hard’ to find electronic women…Hence this page.

Which is a list of sites and resources I have happened across that i hope you may find of interest, benefit and maybe even inspiring for you too.

I wrote a post in response to a BBC article asking “Why are female producers so rare?”

And here is a hopeful interview with a group of 10/11 year old girls who had completed my Introduction to Music Technology Course carried out in primary schools:

I will start with the electronic music and then further down will be recording studio stuff and inspiring the next gen(eration). This is a rolling compendium so please do pipe up and share any links you feel should be included :)

Women in Electronic Music

Female:Pressure – international database and network founded by Vienna based DJ and composer Electric Indigo. We collectively produced some informal research into the representation of women in electronic music – on labels and festival line-ups. Illuminating results were discussed worldwide – see international press statement and report here.

Female:Pressure Photo archive of electronic women at work – This intiative was inspired by Bjork’s Pitchfork article in January 2015 where she notes the lack of photographic documentation of women at work in the studio. It acts a visual catalogue of female producers, DJ’s, media artists and electronic music Performers at work. This is a collective effort to demonstrate women and their use of technology in music and media production. Visibility Archive Photo Gallery of Women at work in the music industry

Women in Sound, Women on Sound – a stimulating and inspiring series of events, not too academic conferences, a forum for discussion and now a resource with tutorials and more.

Yorkshire Sound Women Network – inspiring and enabling women and girls to explore sound and music technology across Yorkshire, UK and beyond.

Saffron Records – women owned record label and Bristol (UK) based initiative helping to train, educate, develop and support womxn in Music Technology.

Pink Noises – also international network founded by Analog Tara and now a book of twenty-four interviews with women in electronic music and sound cultures.

Wikipedia list of female electronic musicians

Nerd girls – a herstory of electronic music by the awesome Antye Greie-Ripatti aka AGF.

Audible Women – A online directory for women who make sound, sound art, noise and music (acoustic or electronic) with experimental leanings. Started by Gail Priest.

13 women on how to change music studio culture – This interesting article covers a spectrum of responses on the obstacles and how we could change things.

Music (studio) producers and recording engineers

Lasses active in this field are harder to highlight as working ‘behind the glass’ is a more secluded job.
So these are some of the initiatives and professional individuals i have come across – do let me know of more if you know of them.

Women’s Audio Mission – “WAM believes that women’s mastery of music technology and inclusion in the production process will expand the vision and voice of media and popular culture.”

Women Produce Music – an artist and producer led organisation, promoting and supporting the activities of music-makers, producers and engineers through a series of collaborative projects and initiatives. Led by the wonderful Katia Isakoff.

Tape Op magazine – do include the odd woman in their creative recording interviews. It is here that I came across Terri Winston (founder of Women’s Audio Mission) and many more competent engineers with interesting approaches and careers.

Lodge Mastering – thought to include this high profile NYC company as 2 out of 3 of the mastering engineers here are of the female persuasion.

And while we are on the subject of mastering engineers, I have to mention Mandy Parnell who works on Bjork’s music amongst many others. I attended a talk by her and her passion for high quality sound and sensitivity was most inspiring and humbling.

Julie MacLarnon who runs her totally analogue studios now in Newcastle, near Belfast. No computer in the studio!

Other women working in recording studios I can think of are Leanne Ungar, Andrea Wright, Yvonne Ellis, Leslie Ann Jones, Trina Shoemaker and Silvia Massy, the only woman to make it into Howard Massey’s interview compendium of great producers Behind the Glass.

I love Sylvia Massy’s concept of adventure recording:

And for the next gen

A few initiatives I know of already – with female role models and young female participants:

Sonolux, Berlin – Laura Mello & Eunice Martins started SonONOlux in 2013 and have been granted Berlin Artistic Education Funds.

Hailuoto ipad orchestra, Finland – an educational sonic project on a remote island in Finland curated by musician, writer, producer and poet AGF.

Brighter Sound – especially their current Both Sides Now initiative.

She Makes Noise, Spain – A sound workshop for 7-11 year olds.

Delia Derbyshire Day – a growing electronic music charity championing women artists past, present and future. Instigated and run by little me.

And finally, Music technology courses in Primary Schools in the Greater Manchester area designed and delivered by yours truly!

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women in music – Women working in the recording studio
May 3, 2012 at 2:42 am

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Lemonadepi December 4, 2017 at 10:15 am

Hi! I’m a female producer, and I produced my first ever song. I always wondered why there’s not a lot of female producers, and that fueled me to learn to produce! Listen to my first ever track in the link: https://soundcloud.com/user-200656923/peace-of-mind

Thank you!

Nathalie M July 25, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Thanks interesting article & def need more female music producers & probs in electronic music.

Yvonne Ellis December 20, 2011 at 1:32 am

Thanks C! Lots to read about and investigate…. Will take my time and check it all out. x

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