These Online Archives Spotlights Female Producers and Sonic Innovators Of Sound

These online resources document women producers as an exploration of women as creators of some kind of art that can be listened to.

On International Women’s Day 2017, in response to the shocking gender inequality across the electronic music industry, Smirnoff announced their ground-breaking, “Equalizing Music” initiative.  Acknowledging the complexities of this deep-rooted issue, Smirnoff promised genuinely effective solutions, by working to a three-year strategy, a multi-million-pound budget and by enlisting talent and organisations who are recognised both for their credibility in electronic music, and for independently championing gender parity.

“Since Smirnoff pledged to double the number of women, transgender and non-binary DJ headliners by 2020, we have been working with some of the most forward-thinking people in electronic music to help make that a reality” said Leila Fataar, Head of Culture & Entertainment at Diageo. “ We realise that the whole industry need to be shaken up across the board – in offices, in recording studios and most importantly, in the DJ booth itself.”

Some of the key issues facing the electronic music industry in 2017 are the gender imbalances in studios, on festival and party line-ups (only 17% of festival headliners are female and only 5% of producers) and in the electronic music industry in general.

There are women out there doing many many great things which can be heard but it seems that sometimes they are a bit too hard to find. So here are some great sites that highlight and promote women and electronics, in an effort to overcome this visibility issue. “It’s not a separatists gesture—an us against them thing—nor is it a ghettoisation.” It’s simply a list of online directories of female artists that can be referred to for information easily when a booker/ PR or anyone interested, assumes “well there are no women out there doing this kind of thing.”

There are and here are a few that have come across.

Audible Women, founded by Gail Priest a Sydney-based sound artist, writer and curator, founded this fantastic online directory in 2016, with a focus on female producers in all of it’s enterprising forms: working with electronic, experimental sound, sound art, noise are just a few that you can find here, devoted to electronic music and experimental related music-based genres.

With a growing directory curated of 860 listings that covers female artists within Australia, and Internationally, Audible Women, aims to promote exposure of artists and composers from diverse cultural, ethnic, educational and economic backgrounds, and of diverse sexual orientations.

Many Many Women is a Seattle-based archive that went live in October 2015 and was founded by Steve Peters, who subsequently handed over the extensive index in December of 2015 to Megan Mitchell (aka DJ Degenerate of the MOTOR Collective and TUF) as proprietor of Many Many Women that is dedicated to female musicians actively working in the fields of avant-garde and experimental music.

As of June 15th 2017, there are 1,195 artists listed in this alphabetized index which contains links to pages for women in contemporary classical, avant jazz, sound art, electronic experimental, and the likes, featuring artists such as Yoko Ono, Laurel Halo, Daphne Oram, and Maria Chavez .

From the project’s website:

Several years ago, a bright and talented pianist told me that she had gone through her entire Juilliard education having heard of only five female classical composers – three of whom were dead. I started making her a list, but it got a little out of hand.

The main focus of this index is on women making various kinds of experimental/avant garde music. Some of these artists may also work within more mainstream forms, but they are included here because of their other work that is more challenging.

WOMANPRODUCER founded by Brooklyn, NY artists Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne in 2016,  is an online archive with a focus on female producers who’ve largely been overlooked or under-acknowledged by mainstream media and the general public.

Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne who form the New York-based art-pop band The Blow, only recently discovered an under appreciated history of women in sound and music production. While male producers and musicians like Phillip Glass and Steve Reich have been written about and documented extensively, the work of women producers and early electronic musicians like Wendy Carlos, Laurie Spiegel, Delia Derbyshire and more have essentially been ignored and undervalued by music historians.

To combat the stereotype that production is solely a man’s job, The Blow created the online archive Womanproducer.com to collect photos and clips of women producers in history. And recently the archive has expanded into a live event series at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, featuring performances and talks by artists like Zola Jesus, Neko Case and more.

Conversation on music production with (from right) Neko Case, Suzi Analogue, Miho Hatori, and Nika Danilova/Zola Jesus, moderated by Melissa Dyne & Khaela Maricich. October 25th 2016 at National Sawdust in Brooklyn NY.

From the project’s website:

The impetus to create WOMANPRODUCER came to us a couple of years ago when we started learning how many of the early pioneers of sound recording and production were women. It seemed strange to us that despite this historical fact, for some reason we had grown up with the sense that “music producer” meant something that didn’t look like us.

Sound pioneers featured on the site so far include Daphne Oram, Rachel Elkind-Tourre, Suzanne Ciani, Else Marie Pade, Sylvia Robinson and Laurie Anderson, among others. The entries include dozens of archive photos, plus multiple third-party links to help info-seekers delve deeper.

MadLab was set up in 2009 with a mission to provide hands-on space to actively encourage practical workshops and peer-to-peer learning. Asa Calow and Rachael Turner are co-founders and director of Manchester Digital Laboratory (MadLab), Manchester’s  home for ‘creatives, technologists, home biologists, hackers and idle dreamers.’

MadLab is an active and globally recognised participant in an international, boundary-crossing, genre-bending hacker and maker movement – whether working locally to bring digital making to new audiences through projects like Make Stuff, CodeUp, and Digital Skills for Women, to Manchester Girl Geeks, and Women in Technology. They support a diverse range of communities and activities – from monthly meetups  and courses through to public experimentation with new & emerging technologies, & collaborating with others to deliver new, interesting and exciting projects.

From the project’s website:

It’s a regrettable but undeniable fact that the digital technology industry as it stands today has a gender gap issue. By current statistics there are roughly six men employed for every woman in the industry, and this has remained largely so for the past decade.

MadLab is an outward-looking organisation. We work hard to create an inclusive environment which operates outside of the traditional “white, male, with an engineering” makerspace demographic boundaries. One of the ways in which we are doing this is by actively creating more opportunity for women in technology, through the Digital Skills for Women scheme – offering training and support to out-of-work women in cornerstone digital technology skills – and other events such as Curry & Coding – a monthly informal lunchtime session attended by a diverse cohort including several women from a local refugees association.

If you have an interest in digital innovation, tinkering with electronics, or just fancy having some fun with the laser cutter, then look no further than MadLab.

Smirnoff Sound Collective  debuted a brand new series called Tribes. For the new series inspired by some of the world’s most interesting music collectives fostering diversity and inclusivity within dance music.

Episode 1 which features  special appearances from The Black Madonna, Star Eyes, Demian Licht, Sandunes, Nicole Moudaber & Ninasonik, takes us to N.Y.C  where we go behind the scenes with DISCWOMAN, an N.Y.C-based, all-woman DJ collective.  Watch as they travel to Mexico City,  giving you more insight to the group while they celebrate rising female producers, DJs and artists.

In this episode Tribes 2, we meet the founders of NAAFI, a Mexico City-based electronic music collective using their network and parties to redefine Latin identity.

This 14-minute documentary the third in the Tribes series, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the members of Dirtybird, an American house record label originally based out of San Francisco, and now Los Angeles. Dirtybird founder Claude VonStroke created the American house record label to champion a new style of house and techno in the U.S.A. “Tribes Dirtybird” shares the story in this documentary exploring Dirtybird’s transition from a small record label to a popular subculture. Claude VonStroke has always kept DIRTYBIRD grounded in its messages of inclusivity and has partnered with the Smirnoff Sound Collective to share the recipe behind Dirtybird’s continued success.

According to music heavyweights THUMP, females, transgender and non-binary ppl made up an average of only 17% of headliners in 2016 at electronic music festivals around the world. This percentage is far from gender parity. In Ireland, Smirnoff has joined forces with the Gash Collective to work together to increase representation of women across all elements of nightlife culture to drive meaningful and lasting change.

Join thisgreedypig across the country this summer to Move the Needle with a series of free workshops. Each workshop will provide an introduction to using CDJs and turntables, beatmatching and Ableton production with leading female Irish producers, DJs and trained teachers. Featuring members of the Gash Collective and other leading figures from the industry, such as ELLLL, Eve, Lolz, Marian Hawkes and Aoife Nic Canna.

Watch the fourth instalment of its “Tribes” documentary series, entitled “Equalizing Music”. This documentary highlights the challenges that women face in the industry; sharing stories of success from Chicago’s The Black Madonna, aka Marea Stamper, and Kampala, Uganda’s DJ Rachael, to amplify the voices of women everywhere.

YouTube Music launches new campaign called “It’s Who We Are” exploring diversity and inclusivity.

Diversity with Code+Art is live! Featuring works and interviews with asian female and gender non-conforming artists created by Chelly Jin!

Meet Five Underground Female DJs who are Flying the flag for their Respective Countries across Asia.