It’s been a minute since Ana Sia put out a mix, so I am stoked about this new one, recorded for Savage Future Radio on GlitchFM that will light up your glitch factor and smoke it. It’s labeled under: “Yes, I like/love/want/need bass music in my life, stop teasing me and pour that sweet, sweet nectar in my mouth gotdammit.”
Archive for the Females in the Arts Category
ill-esha from Vancouver, BC is one of my favorite producers, DJs and vocalists out there. Her recent whompcast blew the hinges off my mind, pissed off my neighbors and made a motherlover out of me; I have been handing out burned CDs of her mix like rocks to fiending crackheads.
ill-esha performs tomorrow night (Thursday, July 16) at Thirdsdaze in Seattle at THE REBAR. Get out for some ridiculous new music and hear what the future holds. I am jealous! Also on the lineup are locals Zacharia, Aksion and Kat1lyst, who will be bringing their unique brands of bass music to the rain-slicked streets of the Emerald City.
Check out my email interview below with ill-esha who is holding down the far Pacific Northwest with mountains of bass and a forest of talent:
1. What actions can we as members of the EDM community take to encourage more female creators in the electronic arts?
I don’t think that lacking females in music production is a product of lack of community support; in fact I believe the latter is only a symptom of the greater global stereotype of females in general. We are still taught to be submissive, pretty, placating… and it translates into a fear of taking on anything that would be competitive to a man, or anything that’s “too hard” or “too technical”. That being said, I think there should be more workshops put on by females – for both males and females – giving people friendly intros to all that “technical” stuff. Without making it a girls-only club, the message subtly gets across that capable people exist in both genders and hopefully inspires something. I love doing workshops with youth and have made appearances at high schools and community centres to show people how much fun it is to geek out.
2. What is West Coast sound?
West Coast sound is hype and chill at the same time. I think glitch hop is a direct product of this… really crunk synths and basslines with half-time tempos. We love to surf and snowboard, but we also love to party!
3. What can save drum and bass? Do you think this genre even needs, or wants, to be saved? Who are the innovators right now in DnB?
Drum and bass has shut itself down because people hoard their dubs, and labels hoard their releases. The music that’s coming out for the average citizen to buy was often made several years ago. There is some great stuff being made now that is either too risky for the labels to sign or simply won’t come out for another few years; bah!! People that still get me going are B-Complex from Slovakia (an incredible musical prodigy), Dan Marshall from Wales (teenage talent!), as well as UK producers Alix Perez and Sabre. I’m also liking the drumfunky, more minimal stuff from North Americans like Sinistarr and Mutt.
4. What can stop dubstep? It seems to be taking over the West Coast. Any thoughts on this?
Dubstep can and already is going the same way as drum n bass. Innovative ideas being eclipsed by overcompressed wanky bass slams and headbanging programming. Hey, I love the bangers as much as anybody, but when that’s all there is it gets tiring and monotonous. I enjoy a Rusko tune, but not five in a row. Vancouver has some great dubstep parties right now, but I do hope that more experimental producers like Eskmo start to take over the limelight from the more commercial stuff. There’s also that really boring stuff my friends and I call “dubstand” which is sleepy and repetitive – no thanks!
5. What do you want to tell girls out there who want to learn to make electronic music or DJ? Who are your favorite female producers and DJs?
Girls, quit worrying about being girls. And be prepared to give up your social life if you want to be a producer. :) But it’s not as hard as you think, computers are less scary than ever with easy to learn programs like Ableton. Favourite females? Well, Reid Speed and Empress have proved for many years that they are fierce forces to reckon with behind the decks, and both have continued to evolve in their sound and production. Mieka du Franx is spirited, soulful and successfully runs her own record label.
6. How can girls learn to have the confidence they need to create and perform the electronic arts?
I guess it can be hard when society tells you that it’s a boys’ game to do these things. But screw it. Honestly, I originally came from a point of pretty low self-confidence and at some point you have to toss that aside and go, “Whatever, I’m making music now, no time for this garbage.” Oh, and stop reading beauty magazines. Even just to kill time in the airport. That stuff brainwashes you.
7. What is the bass music scene like up in Vancouver? How is it unique, and what is it contributing to the West Coast Future Sound Movement?
It’s crazzzy!!! I am in love with it!! Glitchy + Scratchy have almost singlehandedly built a loyal, energetic young scene that is absolutely thriving on glitch hop, dubstep, aquacrunk, skweee and whatever else we can throw them. There is a great lack of pretension – we have costume themed parties and nearly everyone not only dresses up but goes totally overboard. Also, our beautiful setting is very conducive to great outdoor festivals. There’s a lot of extremely talented young producers about to break out here, like Jay Wikid… lots of tunes to add to the movement. And we made Glitch Hop Forum, which has proved to be the greatest resource yet for this style of music to connect talent all over the world.
8. You are playing Seattle tomorrow- do you see more collaboration in the future for the two flagship cities of the Pacific Northwest?
I certainly hope so. It’s not easy to jet back and forth in these times but I think there’s great energy that should be linked up.
9. You are one of the founders of GlitchHopForum.com. Why did you start it, and where do you see it going?
Well, there just wasn’t anything like that on the internet. Really the site was the brainchild of Dewey dB and The Mongoose of Glitchy + Scratchy. Once we all realized it didn’t exist, Dewey decided to create it – he’s been responsible for a lot of other great music sites like dubstep.ca, dubstepradio.com and downtempo.ca – and it’s been growing ever since. I think it’s going to be the biggest resource the scene has, and at least as big as sites like dubstepforum.com have become.
11. What artists inspire you most? What music are you loving right now? Who are you listening to the most?
Vibesquad can really do no wrong in my opinion. Eskmo makes the best dubstep I’ve ever heard. Also a lot of the Australian cats are great, like Spoonbill and Opiuo – they’ve really got some great things going on. Antiserum is a great friend and inspiration.. we’ve got some stuff on the go. I’m listening to a lot of glitch hop, since it’s so new.
12. Shambhala? Going and/or playing there?
I’m supposed to be playing on a smaller unofficial stage.. but it’s not official. :)
13. Your mixes are full of fresh, eclectic tracks. Where do you find them? (Ha ha ha and you can just tell me personally if you want ;)
Most of them are made by me or my friends. I am proud to be connected to so much talent.
14. What music did you grow up or come of age listening to?
Really lame folk music till I was old enough to buy my own. I entered high school the year Kurt Cobain killed himself, so there was a lot of grunge, punk and industrial. Then I switched to a high school downtown and got flyered on the street one day and went out of curiosity – rave on!
15. How would you describe your sound?
Musical bass? Harmonic dissonance? I guess my trademark is having really lush, symphonic or vocal elements over top of juicy fat bass and hard beats.
16. How do you think the weather of Vancouver affects the music produced there?
Well, we have fabulous summers and rainy blah winters. I’d say the only way it really affects things is I get a lot more done in the winter and say goodbye to the studio for the beach in the summer.
17. Any plans to come to LA?
I’d love to – book me! :)
18. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
19. What equipment/software do you use?
I’m a die hard Cubase user, but until I have enough saved up for version 5 I’ve been using Logic 8 because it goes with my Mac. Can’t stand the audio editing though so I always have to rewire Ableton to it. I have a lot of nice microphones and an Avalon tube preamp for recording, and plenty of fun plugins. Alchemy is my favourite synth at the moment.
20. What is next for you? Any exciting news or big future plans?
I’m trying to plan an Australian tour and another one of Europe. We’re also about to launch a new record label featuring all this great Vancouver talent so stay tuned!
The newest whompcast, from ill-esha of Vancouver, BC is extra-crunchy; it gnaws on you as it evolves, the eclectic set getting better and better the whole way through until all the mother lovers unite in bass bliss euphoria. I started the mix over as soon as it finished, ‘cuz I’m a fanatic like that. Ill-esha is the shit.
This singer, rapper, producer and DJ will be performing next month on July 16 at Seattle’s new glitch, dubstep and bass music monthly: Thirdsdaze. Also on the lineup are locals Zacharia, Aksion and Kat1lyst.
Listen and check the tracklist here or subscribe to the Whompcast in iTunes!
Note to readers: The whompcast website will be back up on June 16, when my homie gets his paycheck. The huge response to ill-esha’s whompcast crashed his shit.
The lack of ladies behind decks and on dance floors has really been bothering me for a while; not just the dearth of women in the EDM community but music in general and indeed, arts culture as a whole. Females are globally underrepresented in the arts from San Diego to Singapore, and I wanted to figure out why.
People told me it was too large of an issue to tackle or have any effect on; sure, I might be able to organize a local women’s DJ night or help promote various female producers, but this giant problem encompassed all music and all arts, and there would be no solution or answer. It was too big.
I did not want a quick fix, either, like an all-female DJ night where the chicks come out spinning beats in bras; those kinds of nights draw more males than females anyway. And I didn’t just want to convince promoters to book more women DJs in the name of diversity, rather I want there to BE more talented female DJs to book. I want young girls coming up in the community to throw down, and not just as DJs, but also as producers, promoters, journalists, sound technicians, laser artists- the whole show. I want to see more women in the arts, which meant figuring out why the hell they aren’t here to begin with.
And I’ve done it. Please read on.
Some of the weak female representation in music can be surely attributed to the history of male dominance of the arts; for thousands of years men were patting male artists and musicians on the back, commissioning each other and sharing ideas while the women were raising kids and making homes from households.
Arts in the traditional female domain like folk stories and handicrafts don’t stand the test of time as well as those in male-dominated spheres. A nursery rhyme evaporates into the blur of historical haze while the Sistine Chapel will be around for a while. Though females have truly come a long baby way in regards to our gender roles, the tradition of male domination of the arts certainly still affects the dance floor on Friday night.
But that isn’t the whole story. This is 2009 and for a generation now in the Western world, women have been able to pursue any career they could possibly want, from firefighter to fine artist. So why aren’t they? Why is only one of every twenty DJs I hear playing out female? Why are dance floors almost always over 50% boys? Why can’t I remember the last time I saw a girl in a sound booth, and when they write me, why do my blog readers overwhelmingly assume that I am male?
Don’t women love to make and experience music and art too? Maybe they are pursuing careers that they feel are more worthwhile to society than a creative profession; now that women can be doctors and lawyers and policymakers, they are. We all know that artists are the most important people in our society; art cures ills that no doctor could, comedy can take down a dictatorship, music can change minds. Maybe women are so busy getting college degrees and starting companies that they have forgotten the true value of artistic expression; however this theory also easily applies to men. So the question remains:
WHERE THE HELL ARE THE LADIES AT?
I put this question to email lists, to forums, to strangers at clubs, to friends on the dance floor, to my mother. I clicked on every link you sent me, I checked into every female DJ or producer you said was the shit. I read and took notes on every comment about how we can get more girls out, from cleaner bathrooms to more aggressive males to less aggressive males to house music.
And I have figured out the crux of the matter; the turning point that if we can effectively change will have an enormous effect not only on the DJ booths and dance floors of the future, but on arts production in the world as a whole. Hey, I’ve got big dreams. Don’t you?
The crux of the matter, therefore, is this: CONFIDENCE.
Women need more confidence. After thousands and thousands of years of being told we are the lesser sex and second-class humans, we have an acute case of learned inferiority complex. We are lacking the metaphorical balls it takes to put ourselves out there but rest assured: you DON’T need literal huevos to make it as an artist in this world. But you do need confidence.
It takes a hell of a lot of guts to pull something out of your head and lay it out for the world to see and judge you on. The artists out there know this. Choosing a career in music or painting or theater is a bold and terrifying choice, a decision that requires a steadfast belief that what you have in your head is worth sharing with others- take it from someone who just relocated across the country to try and feed herself as a freelance music journalist.
Following an artistic path in life is a risky choice, and many women have children and will choose security over self-expression. If you have three kids to raise, are you going to go for the nursing degree or try and make it as an abstract visual artist? Yeah. I do not fault these women, not one bit, as they are doing what they deem necessary to take care of the future.
But even females without dependents are not taking the risks we should, and it is because we don’t think we are good enough. How many times have you seen a male DJ strut up to the decks like he is God’s gift to the dance floor and then proceed to take you straight to train wreck city?
Think of the female DJs that you know: a bunch of badasses, right? Outspoken, confident chicks that don’t give a shit if anyone thinks of them as are lesser human beings- because they know they are not.
All women need to take a cue from these ladies, to learn confidence and make it part of ourselves. Worldwide, every one of us must come to believe that what comes out of our minds and our hands and our hearts is worth sharing. This is an epic task and a daunting challenge; one that cannot be conquered overnight. But every single one of us, male and female, can do something right now, tonight and this weekend to push females forward in the arts so that our daughters and granddaughters will be dancing to female DJs and listening to tracks produced by females half the time instead of once every blue moon.
Ladies, I challenge you to instill the women of the world with confidence, starting with yourselves. Men must do the same right beside us, but for females to succeed, we must unite. I once saw a female DJ walk up to the decks at an outdoor party, scheduled to play her set right after a charismatic male DJ had been just killing it. She was intimidated, and she gave up her slot- but ONLY because another female had discouraged her from playing. Had this second female instead encouraged her to play her set, bang it out, go for it- she would have. We CANNOT have this bullshit cutting down of one another. It does not make you less of a female to build another woman up; in fact, it makes you more of a human being. So step up and quit knocking down.
Each one of us can incorporate certain actions into our lives to fuel the journey of women to a greater involvement in the industry of artistic production and expression, from sharing their musical tastes as a DJ to creating giant murals to tweaking sound design and production. Females must become more confident in their artistic abilities, and if we can accomplish this, the future of humanity will be richer and more colorful for everyone.
1. THANK FEMALE ARTISTS. Words have power. Ever gotten a compliment that made your day, or your week? As a writer, I live off the kind words of my friends; I could not write this blog without the love and support of my fellow human beings. Thank female artists always and often. Even if you are more of a glitch girl and the DJ played prog house all night, you can still thank them for getting up there and sharing. Recognize the guts it takes to perform. No need to have a colorful vocab, a simple “thank you” will do. Shy? That’s why God created Myspace and Facebook; just friend ‘em with a quick message: “Thank you for your music.” It may seem like nothing to you, too simple, a waste of space, but believe me: it is not. Please feed the animals- with your words.
2. INVITE GIRLS TO SHOWS. Yeah yeah yeah, fear of rejection boo hoo your ego can’t take it, WHATEVER. This is an area where both males and females could really grow some balls. Weird girl in your office who smells like oranges? Invite her to Deadmau5. Neighbor chick listening to really bad pop shit? Ask her if she wants to go hear Flying Lotus. And SEATTLE- I know I have a lot of readers from the two-oh-SICK, and let me tell you: I have been asked out to electronic shows more in three months in LA than in three years in Seattle. Girls don’t bite- unless you want us to. What are you waiting for, your next life? Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to ask a girl to an electronic music show. This month. Do it.
3. GET YOUR ASS ON THE DANCE FLOOR. Actions speak louder than words, and nothing is more encouraging to a DJ than seeing people on the dance floor getting down and having a good time. Nothing brings girls out onto the dance floor like girls on the dance floor, so get out there, ladies!
4. TALK TO GIRLS AT SHOWS. Some people have a problem talking to strangers. I am the opposite; I have a problem NOT talking to strangers. For those of us extroverts out here, make it a little easier on the introverts by saying hello. Having a good night? This DJ rocks! Why the hell are they charging $11 for a vodka soda? Is that spit on the wall? Etc. Create a more comfortable environment for your fellow human beings. Guys, don’t be dicks. Girls, don’t be bitches. Life is better when you are nice, anyway. Figure it out.
5. IGNORE THE HATERS. In my research for this piece, I got some pretty nasty answers back from boys regarding the reasons behind the lack of females in the EDM community, ranging from “females don’t know what good music is” to “women are dogs.” There will always be haters in the world, like the girl at the outdoor who effectively discouraged the female DJ from spinning, or the cavemen guys who still think women are dogs without souls. IGNORE THEM; they are stupid, and the boys are obviously just not getting any. Move on, and surround yourself with people who will build you up, leaving the haters behind in a slimy pool of their own negativity.
6. FEMALE ARTISTS: STEP THE FUCK UP ALREADY. You all know the archetypal cocky DJ, right? The guy who plays everything and knows everything and IS the next big thing and DAMN anyone who thinks otherwise? God help me I LOVE these DJs, because I appreciate the absolute BALLS it takes to live like you are going to grab every dream you ever had. Having a ridiculous amount of unwavering confidence in yourself is a necessity and now is the time to go for it. DO IT, whatever IT is for you. You will never regret trying and hey- you might even succeed!
7. WANT TO LEARN HOW TO DJ? Or produce? Or create visual art? Or run the sound? Ask someone to teach you. I have spoken to many female DJs who said they would be more than happy to teach other girls the tricks of the trade, to share the secrets and be a mentor. Who wants to be in the boys’ club when you can be in the artists’ circle?
8. ENCOURAGE FEMALE ARTISTS. This is different than saying thank you, which in my opinion we should say to every artist every time. When your night or your life is made a little better by a female DJ or producer or promoter, tell them so, and be specific: I really liked that track with the drums, the dance floor went nuts when you dropped the dubstep, those blue lasers with the dots wicked tripped me out, I love the parties you throw because you bring a tight crowd. Encourage each other to helps create a nurturing artistic community.
9. ALREADY INVOLVED? In the EDM community or otherwise? Are you a bad ass female DJ? Do you promote? Own a venue? Produce sick tracks? Dance? Whatever your talents, figure out something you can personally do to promote female artists and do it. Even small gestures can have an impact and you never know who you may be inspiring. I will start more heavily promoting female DJs and producers in my blog; in fact the ten pictures in this post are my ten favorite female artists in the international EDM community. Do more than you are doing right now, and make a greater effort to support women who are doing their thing in the electronic arts.
10. AND FINALLY, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. This is the most important item on the list. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anybody else? Become a madly ridiculous promoter of your talents in your own mind. Talk yourself up to yourself, even if it feels stupid at first. Do whatever it takes, from tacking up pictures of inspiring females to writing positive quotes on your hand to pushing any negative thought about your abilities out of your head with nary a second of rumination. You don’t have time for that bullshit; you’ve got things to create and art to produce. SO DO IT.
If all you do is reach out to a female artist this month and say thank you on Myspace, do it. Don’t let the giant nature of this task stall you. We can do it. YOU can do it. And you have to, for the eons of women who didn’t even have the chance, and for the females of today who not fortunate enough to live in societies where they can shave their hair into a Mohawk and play minimal techno until eight in the morning. LADIES, IT IS YOUR DUTY TO CREATE, and every time you do, you inspire another female to do the same and help to insure a future full of female artists. So get crackin’.
Last night at the King King Ana Sia played EXACTLY the kind of music that I love. EXACTLY.
I go to a fat variety of EDM shows, from dubstep to house to techno to glitch to the occasional fucking rave; I like many types of music and want to write about my experiences to promote the electronic arts and support the community on the dance floor. If a night of music fills me up 75%, that is an epic win.
But last night filled me up to the very top. The sounds blasting out of the speakers from the hands of Ana Sia DID it for me, if ya know what I mean. I left completely satisfied, smile on my head, and a laugh in voice. And HUGE freaking blisters on my toes.
You might expect to get blisters if you dance once or twice a year, but I dance all the time to the music in my head which never stops. Around my living room, in the street, at the coffee shop, all the time. It takes some filthy fucking music to blister me up, and that is exactly what Ana Sia delivered last night: pulverizing waves of bass that make you dance down with your knees bent low, grinding yourself into the dance floor just as the beats are being crushed into your brain.
When I first arrived at the King King, house music was booming onto the floor and I thought: am I in the right club? Is there a King King in Venice or OC that my noob self doesn’t know about? But looking around at the crowd I could tell without a doubt that these were my people: the bass sluts.
Last night I heard three phrases outside the club which always make my heart sing:
1. “Looks like a total Burner crowd tonight- are those hoola hoops?”
2. “You know what music I’m really into these days? Glitch.”
3. “What did you come here for?”
Well as anyone knows, I came to get down; and down, down, down into the dance floor did I get.
Ana Sia was getting down too, dancing so much I was wondering how she continued to even play. On the opposite side of her set-up was a table with drinks and water for the VIPsters, and cups were routinely being shaken off the edge by the bass, bass so sick and grimey and given so perfectly- well, this is the music I want pumping out of my tombstone.
And don’t call her a fucking DJ (although I will, on my list 10 DJS I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS WEEK)- nothing was spinning but my head and she was tweaking the sound continually and masterfully through her whole set.
You know when you go out to hear someone you really love, and they play for about 45 minutes, and you’re like, well, that was good but I NEED MORE?
Yeah- that didn’t happen last night. Ana Sia rocked it for like two hours, two hours of some of the best music I have heard in LA, or anywhere. I am filled up to the top.
Thanks for the blisters, Ana Sia!
Read more about Ana Sia here.