J: We started out offering panels, and have since expanded to organise two summer schools, introductory production courses, and we recently hosted our first producers camp. In the process of creating it, we realised the real difference we could make: offering a new, refreshing, inclusive programme.
At the same time, I was doing research for my thesis on decolonising music production software. Reading African philosophy and African ideas on music inspired new ideas on how production software could function. Now, all the software programmes are designed based on Western music theory and based on the piano. But what if we started from the drum, which is at the core a different instrument – with an entirely different logic. From that, you can understand beat making in a very different way.
I was also reading about the post-genre era and how it affects identity and power relations. The discussion suggests that we’ve moved past cultural appropriation, but that’s not the case. It’s still much more difficult for Black artists to be seen and recognised. Then I realised, we can discuss these subjects in the context of production as well, and we developed a masterclass in the summer school. We explore how we can find inspiration from combining and experimenting with genres, but also be aware of what that means. We have so much more to say than just repeating the fact that we have so few (visible) female producers in the industry – while the public discussion seems to get stuck on that level.
It was a parallel process – gaining these insights from research and an academic perspective – and then realising there’s added value in what we’re creating, by channelling all that knowledge and experience into workshops. It doesn’t just benefit women or non-binary people, it offers a new whole perspective on production, for everyone.