Mix Sessions: Georgia Anne Muldrow

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This Friday, July 14th, Gender Amplified will be premiering the first installment of a 3-part edition of Mix Sessions featuring producer, songwriter, and artist Georgia Anne Muldrow (also known by her stage name Ms. One). Gender Amplified had the chance to spend some time with Muldrow last October at her private studio in Las Vegas, Nevada where she and husband Dudley Perkins co-own and operate their record label SomeOthaShip Connect. Through her extensive catalog of music and collaborations with a wide range of artists such as Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper, Madlib, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), and Jason Moran, Muldrow has established herself as an influencer and undeniable force in music production.

Throughout the interview, Muldrow reminisces about her musical upbringing and being mentored by renowned producer and jazz musician John Barnes. She also discusses her creative process when focusing on the rhythmic aspects of a track and how she utilizes the vast parameters of compression, a tool most novice mix engineers and beatmakers find daunting when first introduced. But most importantly, Muldrow offers raw, honest advice for young women aspiring to become music producers and explains how motherhood has made her “more bold” in everything she does.

We don’t want to give too much away, so head on over to our YouTube channel this Friday and brace yourself… because Georgia Anne Muldrow is nothing but a delightful inspiration!

Credits:
Featured Music Produced by: Georgia Anne Muldrow – “Queen Knockingstein” from the oLIGARCHY sUCKS! album
Mix Sessions Theme Music Produced by: Kallie Marie – “Innovation” (https://www.patreon.com/kalliemariehttps://kalliemarie.com)
Videography by: Hidden Chapel Studios (https://www.hiddenchapelstudios.com)
Wardrobe by: Blacq Moka (http://blacqmoka.com)
Georgia Anne Muldrow appears courtesy of Someothaship Connect (http://www.someothaship.net)

 

The Future is Female – Madame Gandhi at SXSW 2017!

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One of our favorite music producers, Kiran Gandhi (her independent musical projects are under the stage name Madame Gandhi), has had quite the busy month… and it’s only getting started!

This week alone she has performed several showcases at Austin’s annual SXSW Conference and Festival, including two DJ sets for SoulCycle and live performances at TechCrunch Day Party, Empire Control Room & Garage, MOOGfest, Empress, and SheShreds. Gandhi brings surprises and new additions to her show such as the Madame Drum Set (a beautiful gold and yellow acrylic drum set created by DW Drums), various tattoo, sticker, and vinyl merchandise, and songs about the current political state in America.

For the full list of DJ sets, live performances, and panel discussions Gandhi will be participating in for the remainder of SXSW 2017, refer to the flier below:

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And if you missed our Producer Spotlight on Kiran (Madame) Gandhi, you can find it here.

 

 

 

Producer Spotlight: Kiran Gandhi Combines Music and Activism to Inspire Social Change

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The ability to influence change through art is an aspiration for many professional creatives, but for producer, performer, and activist Kiran Gandhi, it’s a way of life.

Kiran Ghandi

Gandhi made international headlines last year after free-bleeding her way through the London Marathon, a decision she consciously made to impress upon the stigmas associated with female periods. In a piece written for TIME Motto, Gandhi addresses the negative effects of stigmas and how advocating for women’s rights benefits the greater good of humanity. “Stigma is one of the most effective forms of oppression because it denies us the vocabulary to talk comfortably and confidently about our own bodies… the menstrual cycle is the bedrock of the human race. Without it we wouldn’t exist. If we want to make the world a better place, we have to start combatting taboo now – and, in the process, make it easier for women and girls to access their fullest potential.”

After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School and touring internationally as the drummer for both M.I.A. and Thievery Corporation, Gandhi formed her own electronic music project under the stage name Madame Gandhi. With songs like “The Future Is Female” and “I Own My Own Body,” Gandhi is using her intellectual and musical talents to serve the end of social change. “I’m not a great singer or anything like that, but I have a message and I have stories that I want to express, and the best way to express them musically is to sing them.”

Producers on the Rise: Bobbi Giel Talks Impact of Humans of New York Featurette

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“You’re only 22 years old? My daughter just turned 27 and she isn’t as self-actualized as you. You’re going to be fine, I know it.”

That’s what a kind stranger said to me after 15 minutes of small talk and a few drinks each at the MSR Studios closing party back in July. I’m used to giving and receiving frivolous compliments from the joys of complimentary booze at industry parties, but I didn’t know how to respond to being referred to as “self-actualized.”

It reminded me of the time I took a course the spring of my sophomore year of college called “Adult Journey.” The course was two and a half hours once and week, and all we did 90% of the time was watch movies and write reflection papers about how those movies related to our lives. We occasionally colored and had group therapy sessions too.

This was a college course. I’m not kidding.

We spent one class watching The Breakfast Club and our reflection paper asked us to explain whether we identified with the criminal, the princess, the athlete, the brain, or the basket case. I’m pretty sure I wrote about identifying with both the basket case and the brain. I don’t remember exactly, but that combination seems as analogous to my personality now as it did when I was 19.

Another one of our assignments was to present a project about a person we believed to be self-actualized. My group chose John Lennon. Another group chose Oprah. A third group chose Gandhi.

See where I’m going with this?

Compared to those monumental individuals, why would someone consider me to be self-actualized? Almost two months after being given this unwarranted accolade, my reaction hasn’t changed much. I’m 22 years old and graduated from college just over a year ago. My job as a General Assistant at MSR Studios was unfortunately short-lived because of forces beyond anyone’s control. I burn toast and undercook chicken regularly. I lose at least one sock every time I do laundry. I learned what a 401k is two weeks ago. I have no idea what direction I want my life or career to go in, nor do I have a sense of how my presence impacts this world.

I’m not self-actualized – I’m far from it.

And for some reason, I seem to stumble upon situations that make others believe I have my life together. Or as my mom likes to say, “Bobbi, you always seem to fall into s!#$ don’t you?” My mom is very eloquent and honest – that’s why I consider her one of my best friends.

Let’s take being interviewed by Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York, for example.

Y’all have heard of that little blog, right? Close to 18 million people follow it on Facebook or some astronomically ridiculous number like that.

I was dropping my friend off at Juilliard for his graduate school audition when Brandon stopped me. It was a Monday afternoon in late February and I was on call for the studio, so unless a last minute session booked in or a co-worker called out, I had the day off. It was below freezing, I was sick, I had absolutely no makeup on, and my hair was reaching that point where I couldn’t resuscitate it with dry shampoo as I had done the day before. I usually have my earbuds in when I’m walking around the city alone, but for some reason, that day I decided to unplug rather than listen to my ?uestion Mark playlist (if you’re curious about my taste in music, there’s a snazzy link to the playlist below – there’s no theme, hence the title).

When Brandon first approached me, my initial thought was, “Ugh, this random dude is probably going to ask me for money, directions, or both. Look distracted, look distracted!” If you’re a New Yorker, those are two questions you dread being asked on a daily basis. But once he introduced himself and whipped out his camera, I knew what I was getting myself into. My sickly, unkempt appearance was going to be all over the internet along with whatever story I decided to tell.

I was freaking out. I started excessively complaining to Brandon, to which he reassured me, “No, not at all. You look great!”

Lies. Lies.

To confirm how disheveled and awkward I looked, I was on the phone with a friend of mine about a month after the interview went live who hadn’t seen it. Before I could even warn him, he goes, “Yeah… that’s not the best picture of you.”

Life hack – get yourself some brutally honest friends to keep your ego in check.

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After learning my name and a few other basic facts about myself, Brandon’s first serious question for me was, “What is your biggest challenge in life?” How do you answer such a personal question for someone you hardly know? I know that’s the whole premise of Humans of New York, but still. I have trouble communicating even my smallest challenges to my closest friends and family. So in response, I groaned several times in the vocal stylings of Tina Belcher, which inevitably made Brandon ditch the existential questions and start asking me about what I did for work.

More specifically, he asked me to explain what being a General Assistant at a recording studio meant. For me, it meant cleaning toilets every morning and taking multiple 40 gallon trash bags out every night. It meant going on food runs for clients at 2pm or 2am and spending almost 12 hours on a Saturday to set up for a two day Broadway cast recording session. It meant barely any sleep, going rogue for weeks at a time, and spending an absurd amount of money on takeout because none of us ever had time to cook.

Regardless, I’m not saying any of this with contempt. Although I only had the opportunity to call MSR Studios home for six months, they were some of the craziest and greatest six months of my life thus far. When our studios weren’t booked for clients, assistants were able to use them for personal projects, which was a huge luxury. To be able to go in on a Sunday afternoon by myself and record my own music on a 72-input SSL J Series console with what seemed like endless amounts of outboard gear and plugins at my disposal – it was an audio engineer’s dream.

And my co-workers. If one of them didn’t make me laugh until I cried with an ache in the pit of my stomach, my day was ruined. We supported each other and encouraged each other and I consider them all to be my incredibly annoying but affectionate big brothers. What other group of guys will leave a voicemail for you of themselves shouting your name while you’re on vacation or write and record an entire rap song based on you getting fiberglass down your shirt?

I know what you’re thinking.

“I want to hear the song!”

Of course you do. Everyone does. But I’m not going to disclose the title or any of the lyrics because they are mortifying and I can’t listen to the whole song through without my face resembling a ripe tomato. All I will say is the song was a whimsical sentiment of love and adoration that I will always hold dear to my heart.

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When the picture and write up finally went live two weeks after the initial interview, to say the response was overwhelming is a vast understatement. I received hundreds of Facebook messages from people all over the world (Peru, Australia, and France to name a few of the countries people were contacting me from) asking me to listen to their demos and if I was interested in producing them. My phone was buzzing continuously for weeks with text messages, emails, phone calls, and notifications from every social media platform. Atlantic Records reached out to me personally. Organizations such as Gender Amplified, Women’s Audio Mission, and Soundgirls.org welcomed me into their communities of like-minded female audio engineers. Thousands of friendly Internet strangers commended me on my work ethic and humility and wished me success in my career.

Being featured on Humans of New York, without a doubt, changed my life instantaneously.

However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling like a downright fraud.

I’m going to be vulnerable for a bit and confess a few heavy insecurities about myself to the worldwide web in hopes that those who may read this will understand my fraudulent mentality.

My self-confidence has always been relatively nonexistent. I’m not exaggerating when I say I virtually have none. It’s gotten marginally better over the years, but I still struggle everyday with finding the strength to take pride in myself and my abilities. I’ve been studying, performing, and writing music since I was six years old. I went to two high schools simultaneously (my hometown public high school for academics and a performing arts high school for classical piano) and still managed to be an honors student, a band geek, and a theater kid. I carried at least 18-20 credits a semester in college while working three jobs and graduated when I was 21. I’ve also been extremely fortunate to be continuously employed in my degree field since then.

I’ve accomplished a fair amount, but there’s always this nagging, devilish voice in the back of my mind whispering, “You’re not good enough, Bobbi. Just stop. Quit before people realize you’re actually terrible.”

Remember that scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II where Voldemort hijacks everyone’s minds and reproaches Harry in this eerie, hissing voice? The voice in my mind is essentially Voldemort.

With that said, in the wake of my Humans of New York interview, I was suddenly a fresh face for the “Women in Music Production” movement, and the newly placed expectations for me to make a name for myself and have my life together were daunting. I felt unworthy of the attention and praise I experienced and am still experiencing today. There are women in the industry working twice as hard as me and thriving in their careers, yet I was the one profiled. Six months later and I still feel just as unqualified.

But like I mentioned in the beginning, I fall into s!#$.

So how does being on Humans of New York and working at MSR Studios and being referred to as “self-actualized” all relate to one another?

I’m getting there.

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My candid interview also presented an outpouring of comments from young women who were either unaware of the possible career paths in music production or intimidated by the difficulties of being a woman in music production. Because it is hard. It’s really hard. Breaking into the music industry, whether as an artist or audio engineer/producer, is tricky for anyone. Add on the stigmas and societal stereotypes of being a woman, and the journey becomes twice as hard.

My thoughts of being an unconfident, undeserving imposter aside, it was humbling and inspiring to hear these women’s stories. I’ve seriously considered quitting the quest entirely and moving to a rural hillside town in Europe at least a dozen times (I’m a dual citizen of the United States and Italy, so this fantasy may not be so distant in my future), but these confessionals persuaded me to keep persevering and stay true to my goals.

Because here’s the deal. Yes, I am only 22 years old, wide-eyed and intrigued by the world. Yes, I worked at a major recording studio in Manhattan for minimum wage sixty hours a week or more at times, then the facility closed and left me scrambling to figure out what I was going to do next. Yes, I doubt myself and compare myself and am constantly hard on myself. And yes, sometimes I consider giving up on this dream for a career more manageable and stable.

But part of being “self-actualized” means to “seek personal growth and one’s full potential through creativity and independence” (thank you dictionary.com). Everything that has happened in the year and a half since I graduated college has contributed exponentially to my personal growth. And even though my career path has experienced some detours and treacherous terrain recently, I’m determined to live my life in pursuit of my fullest potential, whatever that may be.

So I wouldn’t refer to myself as “self-actualized” like that tipsy gentleman did (he also insisted I learn how to play a Hammond B-3 organ – long story). I like to believe I’m still “figuring it out” – that’s a good millennial way to sum up my situation and every other 20-something year old’s situation, really.

“Work hard, be good to people, enjoy the process, and enjoy your life during the process.” I wish I could remember who or where I heard that from, but it’s a mindset I strive to emulate in my life day by day. I know it’s easy for me to believe because I haven’t been “roughed around the edges by the harsh realities of this cruel, cruel world,” (a miserable, old man I was working with on a live sound gig once said that to me and totally obliterated an already long 16 hour day), but truthfully and maybe even naively, I don’t care. Life is full of highs and lows, and I rather live my life searching for the highs rather than succumbing to the lows.

So yes, I’m not quite sure what the universe has in store for me, but I’m having the time of my life “figuring it out.”

Gender Amplified Presents: Studio Politics Featuring Ebonie Smith

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Gender Amplified is proud to present ‘Studio Politics,’ a new web series that takes you in the studio with our founder and award-winning music producer and engineer Ebonie Smith. Known for engineering work on Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) and other notable projects, each and every episode Ebonie will take you behind the scenes to talk about the process of making music at the major level and working as a staff producer/engineer for Atlantic Records in NYC. There won’t be a dull moment as Ebonie produces and composes records on the spot and discusses music production and technology with a cast of talented collaborators and industry insiders. Tune in and SUBSCRIBE!

Studio Politics

Daughter’s Day: Celebrating the father-daughter team Bill and Delaney Hafener

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Bill and Delaney Hafener

My dad has been my number one biggest musical influence. It seemed to me there was never a time when he didn’t have a guitar in his hands, and he was always listening to new music and sharing it with us. Playing and writing music is cathartic for him, and he passed that on to me. From a very young age, music was a crucial form of communication for me. My parents always encouraged me to make music. My dad was by my side as I taught myself to play guitar and bass alongside my classical french horn training throughout middle and high school. He accompanied me on guitar when I sang in elementary school talent shows, I remember singing “Good Riddance” by Green Day and the Beach Boys’ “Surfer Girl” as he played. I started learning guitar and writing my own songs when I was about 12, and with help and support from my parents, I began playing open mic’s and then gigs at 14. In those early days, my dad accompanied me as I played short, eclectic sets with covers from ranging from Johnny Cash to Taylor Swift, interspersed with embarrassing originals.

We’ve spent countless evenings sitting on the couch playing acoustic guitars together, taking turns singing lead and harmony, talking about notes and melody. In high school, I decided that I wanted to study Studio Production at SUNY Purchase. The program is by audition only, which meant that I had to present at 15 minutes of music that I recorded and produced myself.  My dad helped me through the process of putting together my audition, and he was the one who helped me buy the equipment that became the first fragments of our home studio. From there, we began adding more and more to our collection of gear. We had been keeping everything confined to what used to be our family room, which had our garage attached to it. We eventually hit a point where we chose to close off the garage and reconfigure the space. Since then, the garage has become the live room and the family room is now the control room.

The primary purpose of our studio is to produce ourselves. When we first got started recording our own music, we were traveling to a studio in Brooklyn. Once we started putting together our own equipment, the restrictions that come from being on a budget were gone. This opened endless doors for my band Pandafan. We’ve been doing all the producing ourselves since the band first started out in 2012. My dad and I are a team when we’re in our studio together, bouncing ideas off each other and crafting Pandafan’s sound with dedication and devotion. I love producing, and I especially love producing my own music, but it can be difficult to engineer and produce on your own projects. Bill always seems to know what I’m hearing in my head, and knows when to indulge my weird ideas and when to pull it back a bit. He and I also work on his band, The Black River Republic, where he is the primary songwriter and I play bass and add my vocal harmony. We’ve also moved beyond just working for ourselves, running sessions for many of our friend’s projects, from noise-rock bands to folk trios to spoken word podcasts.

My dad has always encouraged Pandafan, as well as me as an individual, to look ever forward and always be working on the next project. His involvement in the band has been vital to our success. Without this help and guidance, Pandafan and I would be nowhere near where we are now, and I have him to thank for so much of what I’ve been able to achieve since starting my career as a producer and musician.
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Producer Spotlight: Delia Derbyshire, The Sculptress of Sound

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With her undeniable sense of fashion, work for the UN, and unassuming disposition, Delia Derbyshire may not seem like a pioneer in electronic music at first glance. Nevertheless, her work speaks for itself. In the 1960s and 1970s, she made her mark as a composer of experimental music compositions. If you’ve never heard of Derbyshire, be sure to view Sculptress of Sound: The Lost Works of Delia Derbyshire, the 2010 BBC Radio 4 documentary about her life and career entitled.

Delia Derbyshire

Delia Ann Derbyshire (May 5, 1937 – July 3, 2001) was an English musician and composer of musique concrète and electronic music. She is known for her electronic interpretation of theme music for the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and for her work for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Producer Spotlight: TokiMonsta = Dopeness

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Los Angeles native, TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee) is known for her unique take on indie electronic/r&b/dance music. Her classical upbringing and eclectic music taste has allowed her to create vast textural soundscapes—a reverberation that fuses vintage sensibilities with progressive inclinations.

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Her music has been recognized and praised by the very best in tastemaker and mainstream media. TOKiMONSTA has been featured on various large-scale radio programs such as: BBC Radio1 (UK), NPR (USA), BBC World Service (UK), J Wave (JP), Studio Brussels (BE), Radio Nova (FR), KCRW (LA) to name a few. Subsequently, DJ Mag, Pitchfork, The Guardian, XLR8R, Paper, LA Times, Dazed and Confused, SPIN, Wax Poetics, MTV, VIBE, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Sound and Recording and more have covered her. LA Weekly ranked her as 2010’s #1 female DJ in Los Angeles. Additionally, Resident Adviser did a full feature on her for their “Breaking Through,” an RA series, which focuses on the next big artist.

Tokimonsta

Not only has she caught ears of many as a different dimension of Los Angeles-based music, TOKiMONSTA is notably the first female to join Flying Lotus’ crew/label BRAINFEEDER, which is on the forefront of LA music scene.

TOKiMONSTA tours the world regularly as a live performer. Her performance is engaging as well as intricate—using new technology with pieces of musical and multimedia gear. She participated in the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy in London in 2010. In the summer of 2012, she was apart of the Full Flex Express tour, the first electronic music themed train tour that traveled across Canada with Skrillex, Diplo, Pretty Lights, and Grimes. She performed on the very first SS Coachella, which is Golden Voices’ first ocean cruise festival. Some notable past performances were at Coachella, Sonar Barcelona, DEMF, WMC, Electric Zoo, SxSW, Camp Bisco, Decibel Festival, with more scheduled in the future.

You can check out more of her music at soundcloud.com/tokimonsta!