This is the first in a series of interviews which will delve into the minds of those in the music scene, to both discover more about them as artists, and to help answer the question "Why are there so few female music producers?''. This research will be gathered over the course of 10 months, and these interviews are just one of the techniques that will be used. Using statistics, surveys, opinion polls, real experience from women in the industry, interviews, academic essays and journals, and observational study, I hope to find an accurate and meaningful answer to this question. More than this, I hope that this answer will lead to real debate concerning gender neutrality in an industry that claims to be unbiased.
Two weeks after I moved to Dublin, I heard about Canalaphonic. It is a music and arts festival, showcasing independent acts in venues across the South side of the city, and it is not exclusive to music. Over the two days it ran, there was a constant stream of art and photography exhibitions, music and dance, family entertainment, opera, theatre, and poetry. If it fell under the vast umbrella of culture, it was there. Canalaphonic came into existence through an ongoing collaboration between Dublin City Council's South East Area Office and Abner Browns Barbershop. On September 23rd and 24th, with a desire to get immersed in the music scene here, as well as exploring the burning question I was determined to answer, I went to see what it was all about. This led me to Lock 6 Cafe, Canal Road.
I enter a small, cosy place, with a smoking area of seats and pillows, free Red Bull and chocolates, and Prosecco on tap inside. It is also BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer). On the other side of the cafe is the outdoor stage leading onto the street. Arriving early, at 4:30pm, I sit by the pillows and soon I get into conversation with the man beside me.
"Are you here for business or pleasure?'', he asks.
"A bit of both. I want to interview the acts.''
And so I meet my first interviewee of the night; Dylan McCrumlish, DJ.
Young, wearing glasses, a bit of a beard, and a friendly demeanour. I take out my notebook and get into journalism mode, putting the batteries into my old dictaphone. I comment on its age, and ask him to bear with me for a moment while I get it set up (I was only slightly offended by his laughing at my Sony fossil). With candles on the coffee tables, a box of Roses in front of us, and a scattering of rose petals by an employee, this interview feels like a highly efficient first date.
"I've been at it for about 4 years- I don't want to say professionally because it's not the only thing I do, and DJs around Dublin don't actually get paid that much contrary to popular belief- so I've been DJing semi-professionally for about 2 years.
And influences... 70s music influences me, I love all the funkiness, all the grooviness that comes with it. Anything that gets you moving. That's what I like.''
"I've met a few female artists on my travels, but a lot less than male.
-Would they be DJing or on the production side of things?
All the girls I know that are DJing are just DJing. I'm sure that it's a precursor, you start DJing and then naturally enough you're interested in how to make music as well. So, I think it comes with it. But, the girls I know that are DJing, they're not looking at the production side of things. I'm sure that's a natural enough progression over time.''
-Do you think they will?
I hope they will, but the 2 girls I know aren't particularly musical, you know? They're into their music, they know a good tune when they hear one and they're able to mix it in; they're good at that. But I don't think they're musicians or anything. So for those girls in particular, probably not.''
Emaleigh Kelly is a big one at the moment, she's getting a lot of media. There's one called Heidi, a good house DJ. And another one, Magda. But you're right, there's not many.''
"I don't think, from a woman's perspective looking in at the media and seeing all these male DJs, that they would be intimidated by the thought of being a DJ. Just from seeing 90% of them being men. On the other side of that though, all the media is portraying the fact that it is a male dominated industry.''
Girls just need to get out there more, I think. When you see a good female DJ, it's automatically better than the guy who's just as good, you know what I mean? You see the woman, and she's just as good, which makes her better, because of the rarity. So women actually have an advantage because of the minority that they are in the industry.
-So you think people would be more inclined to go see a female DJ, rather than a male DJ?
If they know that it's a good DJ, they'd be more inclined to go see them''
I'm trying to think of producers in the studio recording, but they're all male, there aren't much women out there. From what I know, computer science college courses are all male dominated too. Maybe women are just intimidated by the technology side of things, and that has a knock-on effect deterring them from getting into production, which is all electronic these days on a laptop in your room.
I think a lack of female participation in these courses is part of it, absolutely. There are loads of women doing biology, but in physics and computing...
It tends to drop off. Maybe it might be an innate male thing to go for these mathsy sort of things, or computer and technology. But I'm not sure.''
I've got this one all day today. I'm actually in Galway in Monroes on the 6th of October. My friends, they're a trad band- I'm wearing their t-shirt now-Moxie. They're doing an Irish tour and I'll be supporting them. They're class, really good.''
I'd probably be sitting on my mam's couch collecting the dole. *Laughs* No really, I wouldn't know what else to do. Right now I'm doing a music technology course in Maynooth. I don't really know what else I want to do.''
"Around Ireland...no, I'm the only artist in Ireland I want to work with.
-You're a lone wolf?
Yes. Picasso never collaborated, am I right?''
''Absolutely. I've been waiting to make the next big track now for about 3 years. It definitely does hold you back.''
"I think there's a nice mix at the moment of international and local. Every week in Dublin, each night a week there's probably going to be an international DJ that you know is very good at what he does. On the other side, there are loads of night with just locals, and they're the best craic in town. The techno scene has skyrocketed, and electronic music in general; it's becoming mainstream.
I'm from Sligo, and the house and techno scene has kicked off there. There are a few guys organising underground parties over the last few years. But there's only been 50 to 100 people turning up. Now they've got a weekly thing, they're bringing in international acts, it's all getting bigger. Even the local clubs are moving to techno and house, they're getting the big acts over.
My prediction is that there will be more of that, what the mainstream now wants. It's not underground anymore. Even in the charts you're hearing all this deep house music becoming more and more popular, and there's more of a market for that underground stuff now.
-Is there a point where it could be ruined?
Absolutely. Anything that becomes mainstream will eventually be exploited and commercialised. I suppose EDM is that already. It'll probably be just a lot more EDM. I do think we'll be hearing a lot more techno tunes in the charts with those cheesy vocals over them.
-And you're not going to go that direction?
Here look, if somebody offers me a hundred grand for a cheesy vocal over a techno track, I'll do it. I'll sell my soul.''
"I've always been a scrambled man. But recently, in the last 12 months or so, I've moved on to poached eggs. I've got this little egg cup, where I put it in the pot of boiling water, and I crack the egg into this rubber cup. You put the lid on and in 3 minutes the egg is perfectly poached- it's perfect. I recommend it, highly.''