E.M.M.A, Ikonika, Dexplicit and P Jam have joined forces to challenge electronic music’s male-centric landscape
Radar Radio are launching a workshop aimed at encouraging more young women to get into music production. Led by producers Ikonika, Dexplicit, P Jam and E.M.M.A, with support from FL studio, the ‘workshop for girls’ aims to encourage a new generation of female producers ready to occupy space that has historically been dominated by men.
While figures compiled in 2010 suggested that less than 5% of producers were female, the increasing visibility of producers like Jessy Lanza, Asma Maroof and Georgia suggest that the landscape is changing. This month’s Music Producers Guild (MPG) saw several of the top awards go to artists including FKA Twigs (best single and best album, both of which were co-produced by her) and Catherine Marks (breakthrough producer of the year). While ‘Female:Pressure’, a network of female artists who campaign for more women across the dance music world released a survey in 2013 “addressing the lack of…visibility for female artists in the electronic music scene” which found that festivals, labels and clubs worldwide featured less than 10% of women and continue to challenge this inequality.
The free ‘Workshop for Girls’, which takes place in March, has received over 100 applications (according to producer E.M.M.A, “the response so far has been overwhelming.”) For her, it was visibility of a woman in music that galvanised her to pursue music herself, and she comments that, “When I found out Delia Derbyshire basically invented electronic music that 100% inspired me to continue”.
Last year was a hotbed of discussion of the importance of ownership over work, following Björk’s comments that women are often not credited in the same way as male counterparts. It’s something that DJ and producer Ikonika also recognises, explaining: “It’s important to have ownership over your work because it still happens. It happens with people like Jessy Lanza, where people don't know that she produces her own tracks. People immediately think that a man’s involved, or that a man did all the work. ” Similarly, Grimes, who produces all her own work, has commented: “I can’t use an outside engineer, because, if I use an engineer, then people start being, like, ‘Oh! That guy just did it all.’”
For now, workshops like this appear to be a step in the right direction, creating visibility of women behind the scenes. Ikonika and the rest of the team are making the point that ownership is key, and getting more young women involved in music is just the beginning of a more diverse landscape. For them, their role is about uncovering the untapped resource of female talent, and challenging the idea that women are less technically able. She says, “There’s an idea that men are more ‘technical’. For me, technicality is something that you learn, but raw talent isn’t.”
It’s a simple point, but one that needs constant repetition before there’s true gender balance in an industry used to seeing male producers. Really it's a point best made by stating the obvious, and Ikonika puts it simply: “I didn’t have any cool female producers to look up to or someone I could relate to. They were all dudes – which was fine, but I think we’re in a time where things are changing.”
If you’re interested in applying, email firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday March 11.