Why aren’t there more female producers? A very, very good question and there are but they’re basically producing themselves. All the producers that you can think of, female producers, 90%, I can’t think of any exceptions to this, they’re all artists themselves. (Jeremy Lascelles, CEO Chrysalis Music, personal communication, 16/09/09)
Observations on women’s absence in music production have been made but examination of women’s work in music production is scant. For example, Richard Burgess dedicates six paragraphs in the FAQ section to his book to the question, ‘Why are there so few female record producers?’ (1987:171) and concludes, ‘ I can’t come up with a single good reason why there are not a great deal more women in studios both engineering and producing’ (ibid.). Recent research in Sweden comes to similar conclusions, ‘ no one had an explanation as to why men dominate in this industry, other than the traditional factors’ (Gullo, 2010). Significantly for this article, Gullo observes, ‘ Gender aspects are therefore important to consider in future music research’ (ibid.).
As Lascelles indicates, women are producing. Although a significant minority, there are female producers, engineer-producers, writer-producers and artist-producers. A close examination of women’s working experiences is needed, therefore, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the contributing factors that have led to women’s significantly low representation in the field in the past, and to gain an insight into how the gender imbalance might be addressed in the future. To illustrate, I focus on the access to technology in a domestic setting, as part of the practice of self-production, by a study group of women artist-producers. From a feminist viewpoint, I pose what I consider to be two key questions: how are women, in this case women artist-producers, gaining and developing music production skills and what does this contribute to our understanding about women’s participation in the field? In order to contextualise these two questions, I begin with a brief outline of how music production, and accompanying use of technology, has been historically positioned as gendered. This serves to foreground the practice of self-production within a current industry context. I draw on research from personal interviews with women artist-producers of different nationalities and working in different genres, from interviews with industry professionals and trade bodies, representing the independent sector of the British music industry, and on data collated from industry conferences and training events, encompassing both major and independent sectors, from the period 2005 to the present day. This allows for a long-term view on the impact of digital technology on the female artist-producer working today.
The gendering of music production
The role of the music producer within the popular music industry has been recognised as a profession that is male dominated and strongly associated with notions of power and control. Early work by Simon Frith and Angela McRobbie (1978) offers a historical perspective in which, at the time of writing, they describe the music industry as being ‘male run’ observing that ‘popular musicians, writers, creators, technicians, engineers and producers’, as being, ‘mostly men’ (Frith, McRobbie, 1978: 373-4). Such views are later echoed by Paul Theberge (1997:185) and by Sara Cohen (in Frith, Straw, Streets (eds), 2001:232). More recently Alison Wenham (MBE), Chair of AIM (The Association of Independent Music) launched an initiative in response to the ongoing gender imbalance amongst industry professionals, particularly at senior level,
We remain one of the most white-male-dominated industries in the world. I do not believe the men in the industry have ever deliberately exercised prejudice, it is more a deeply ingrained set of customs and habits that has resulted in this imbalance (Wenham, AIM AGM, London, July 2009).
Although the issues for female artists, that have accompanied the historic gender imbalance within both creative and business sectors of the British and North American music industry, have been comprehensively examined by feminist popular music scholars1, to date the particular impact of such imbalance within the field of music production has been under-researched. It is still the case that, as Frith pointed out over twenty years ago, the territory which women are expected to inhabit, that of performer, that of singer, has in itself been depicted as ‘natural’ or ‘artless’ (Frith 1988:155). The woman artist is still assumed to be, until she overtly states her case as otherwise, ‘just the singer’2, and to be ‘just the singer’ is seen as requiring none of the skill associated with mastering an instrument (Bayton 1998:13) or recording technology or music production. In direct contrast, music producers, inhabiting arenas of expertise and power clearly marked as male, are seen as adopting the role of ‘magicians’, with skills that may be hard to define, but whose Prospero-like ‘flair and impressions are key to success’ (Hennion 1989:402). Female producers, on the other hand, are marked primarily for their absence in the field and, as stated, have been under-researched. It is significant, therefore, that Holly Kruse calls for ‘two crucial elements’ to be addressed that she felt was lacking in ‘feminist critiques of popular music’, namely, ‘analyses of popular music institutions and economics, and analyses of practice’ (Kruse in Leonard 2007:7). This article is an attempt to address the latter.
Historically, music production knowledge and skill have been accessed and developed in the professional recording studio, a site gendered as a male space of creativity (Negus 1992; Porcello 2004) and it is these gendered perceptions of technology aided creativity that are cited as a primary reason as to why women have either avoided, or have been excluded, from pursuing a career in music production (Theberge 1997:451). Today the view persists, ‘that artistic production is self-evidently a guy thing’ (Empire 2005:14) and women have been consequently excluded from the dialogue. A useful comparison here is provided by Mavis Bayton who states with reference to the under-representation of female lead guitarists, ‘The reasons for women’s absence are entirely social’ (Bayton in Whiteley (ed.)1997:39). The same could equally be said of female music producers. However, the research presented in this article charts a growth in women’s self-production practices that, I am suggesting, presents a viable challenge to such a legacy.
Self-production, technology and feminism
Feminism offers a suitable framework within which to examine women’s practice in self-production as this area of music production encompasses the key crafts of song-writing, engineering and production, all of which have been strongly associated with male expertise and ‘genius’ (O’Brien 1995; Reynolds and Press 1995; Whiteley 2000; Mahew in Whiteley, Bennett and Hawkins (eds.) 2004). Music technology, providing the necessary palette of production tools, has also been gendered as masculine (Negus 1992, Theberge 1997) and the notions of power and control that have accompanied such gendering (Hennion 1989; Cohen 1991; Warner 2003; Leonard 2007) have resulted in ‘patriarchal assumptions’ (Mayhew 2004:232) that have proved problematic, not just for women working in that context, but in the media representation of the female artist/producer relationship (ibid). Such ‘assumptions’ spill over into early scholarship (a tendency also noted within the male dominated field of rock by Kruse (in Jones (ed.) 2002), Whiteley (2000), Leonard (2007) and Reddington (2007)). For example, in Edward Kealy’s comments on the rock musician’s use of self-production from the mid-1960s onwards, the gendered use of the gendered possessive pronoun is marked,
In the mid-1960s the relationship between record corporations and popular artists underwent a revolution. Rock musicians developed the capacity to act as self-contained production units…The rock star thus announces to his peers, critics and audience that his sound mixing work is part of his art (my itallics). The transformation of the craft to the art is complete (Kealy 1979: 215-216).
Placed against such a backdrop, I argue that not only does an examination of women’s self-production practices provide a useful vehicle with which to aid our understanding of women’s minority status in music production, in the broadest sense, but that the very act of self-production, undertaken by a female artist, constitutes a bold statement for feminist popular music scholars and female artists alike.
Self-production in context: music technology and a changed industry
I acknowledge that in many ways a female artist’s choice to self-produce can be viewed as would a male artist’s choice to work in this way, that is, as a response to available technologies and industry expectation, irrespective of gender. Early responses to digital technology saw some scholars taking a celebratory stance to the opportunities new technologies presented previously marginalized artists to distribute their music and connect directly to their fans (see: Fox 2004 and McLeod 2005) and so arguably an increase in women’s self-production practices, facilitated by digital technology, might equally be seen to form part of that discussion. Equally, the progression from singer-songwriter, or DJ or engineer, to artist-producer can also be seen to mirror developments within technology itself. Lucy O’Brien comments how, ‘women have always written to make sense of their world, to clear an inviolable space that is theirs rather than the possession of a man’ (O’Brien, 2002:180). It could be said that the only difference, therefore, is the nature of the tools that are being used to aid that creativity. The issue arises because those technological ‘tools’ have been gendered masculine, as has technology in many non-creative fields (see Cockburn 1981 and Hatfield 2000) and therefore form part of ‘ a cultural context already gendered’ (Leonard 2007:51).
Undoubtedly, the increased access to recording technologies, combined with the portability of such access, has transformed our understanding of the recording studio (Prior 2006) and has influenced the practical application of recording and production, which again, bears relevance for producers, engineers and artists of either gender. A clear distinction, therefore, needs to be drawn between what can be seen as a growth trend in self-production practices per se, as a result of technological developments and subsequent industry shifts, and the particular significance that gender holds when examining women’s participation.
An illustration of the former can be seen in the response by the UK independent sector to technological developments, from the early 2000s to the present day, through the training events and conferences provided by its trade bodies and associated organizations. These have aimed to raise awareness among independent artists and labels of the need to embrace a DIY approach to their artistic and career development, through accessing available technologies, and self-production practices are now seen to form an integral part of such an approach. For example, Lascelles speaking at City Showcase, London, June 20063, stated, ‘DIY is an option forced on the artist community… Development doesn’t exist therefore a void has been created.’ This had resulted in what he saw as, ‘ a very exciting time for artists to build things up for themselves’ (Lascelles 2006). Three years later Lascelles echoes observation in scholarship (see: Goodwin 1988:264) when he offers a historical perspective of how self-production practices have been viewed in the industry over a thirty-year period,
What self-production, self-promotion can show is that you’ve got initiative…self-production has changed a lot over the years, again largely because of technology. When I started doing A&R in the late 70s through to the early 80s, when you signed artists off very, very crappy little demo quality and the first thing you’d nearly always need to do is find a producer for them because they just didn’t really have the knowledge and technical skill to know how to make it sound great and that point to where we are now, it’s changed enormously. Making very good sounding records off very simple equipment in your proverbial bedroom is very common and very doable and it’s almost part of being a musician, having some technical skill, so that’s evolved over time. I don’t necessarily see it as a huge plus or a huge minus, it’s all part of the package (Jeremy Lascelles personal communication, 16/09/09).
A current view is provided by comments from several British independent record label owners at the Norwich Sound and Vision Conference in October 2011. Speaking on a panel discussing the kind of deals that an independent label might offer an artist today, the label owners expressed clearly that they viewed investment in recording as a thing of the past. For example, Tony Morley of The Leaf Label stated how he expects that an album from prospective artists, ‘will arrive fully formed’ (Morley 2011).
In considering the domestic setting within which the production and use of technology takes place, by the women artists under examination here, a comparison emerges with the observations of early feminists who noted that women perform a temporary, but necessary retreat, accessing whatever tools are available to them to get their work done, whenever they have been made to feel aware of their ‘otherness’ (De Beauvoir 1949 in 1997 ed.:102-113) when attempting to create a career in a field marked as male territory. One of the earliest examples is provided by the response to the life of Mary Wollstonecraft and first publication of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792 which has been seen as, ‘ an experiment in self-creation at a time when women were allowed virtually no personal autonomy’ (Woolf cited in Taylor 1992: xi). In 1929, Virginia Woolf’s response to women’s efforts to self-determine through their writing from the time of Shakespeare, concluded that in order for a woman to create, in this case literature, she needed a private space and financial independence, ‘a room of one’s own and five hundred a year ’(Woolf in 1985 ed.:6). Woolf also responded to the progress women were making in other creative fields in this period. Significantly, she observed that although women were making strides as novelists, they were encountering particular resistance as composers, noting, ‘So accurately does history repeat itself’ (ibid:53).
Reference to Woolf’s response to women novelists, as a useful analogy for women accessing available tools to create music, has been made before. Lucy O’Brien draws on Woolf to suggest that women excelled as singer-songwriters in the mid-twentieth century, in the way that women excelled as novelists at the turn of the nineteenth century, because they could access a guitar or piano in much the same way that women could access pen and paper (2002:179). Sheila Whiteley stresses, ‘the importance for women musicians to compose, perform and indeed produce their own songs’ (Whiteley 2000:69), yet a decade or more after these observations and eighty years after Woolf’s comments, history has been shown to ‘repeat itself’ as a result of the gendering of music production.
An early illustration of this in my research was provided by a discussion that took place on a music production conference panel of eminent UK and US producers and producer managers, including Nile Rogers. Rogers articulated that a major label would not entertain employing a female producer to work with one of their artists, and, as a result, found it very hard to find work for the female producers on his roster (Rogers 2006). During this one day, high profile event, not only were there no females present on any of the panels but the tone of the discussions resulted in one of the few attending women delegates, Claire Whitaker4, to stand up in protest and to express her objection to the constantly reiterated implication that women were absent in the industry, other than in the capacity of singers. A further example was presented by the predominantly male audience’s response to Nile Rogers’ discussion of the singing ability of the pop singer, Christina Aguilera. In referring to the power of the artist’s voice he said, “She can really blow.” This comment was met with schoolboy laughter and titters to the clear embarrassment and confusion of Rogers, unaware of the sexual connotation of the phrase used.
Four years later, two producer managers were interviewed as part of the research for this article. When asked how many female producers they have on their rosters, Safta Jafri, who was on the panel referred to above, had none (personal communication, 21st October 2009) and Alys Gibson one, Isabella Summers, aka, ‘The Machine’ in the UK band, Florence and The Machine. She comments,
Isabella is the only female producer I’ve ever come across. There are female songwriters, there have always been female songwriters. In my experience there are little or no female producer-writers in the world (Alys Gibson personal communication, 27th January 2010).
Comparisons have been made between the music producer and the film director (Massey 2009). Just as ‘producers are assumed to be men’ (Negus 1992:91), with the attendant issues accompanying such assumptions, a parallel status quo exists for the female director in the film industry5. If the female artist-producer can be seen to challenge the status quo in popular music, her challenge is mirrored by the independent female actor-director who accesses technology to write, make and perform in her own films. An example is US actor-writer-director, Lena Dunham, who has been described as, ‘…among the first film-makers to have emerged from the YouTube generation’ (Fraser 2012). A further comparison can be found in music journalism. In a recent interview, Krissi Murison, the (at the time of interview) editor of UK music magazine New Musical Express (NME), observes that increasing numbers of women journalists have entered the profession in the last five years and believes that this is a direct a result of blogging which has enabled young female writers to develop their voices and writing skills (Murison, 26th March 2012). This, she believes, has also impacted more widely on the perception of the profession,
I think that actually blogging culture really was quite instrumental in overturning that perception overnight of music journalism being a boys’ club (ibid.).
Importantly, it also offers a parallel with the potential presented by the increased availability of, and access to, music technology in the same time period. Murison considers the parallel herself,
if you think of all the hugely, hugely successful female artists that have come up in recent years, I wonder whether the reason they’re solo artists, as opposed to bands, is because they feel much more confident sat at home in their bedrooms working on music by themselves, getting themselves ready before they take it out to anyone else…also if you think about when we talked about blogging culture, suddenly opening those doors for a lot of female writers, actually if you think about all the things, all the programmes that you can get on your Macbook, or whatever, that suddenly it allows you to be yourself in a room and do it…you can play with it and tinker with it and I wonder if that’s been empowering for female artists? It’s all that, I dunno, garageband, whatever it is, that allows you to sit at home and do it yourself…there doesn’t seem to be as many females in traditional bands as there are solo artists, particularly in the mainstream, and that’s definitely worth thinking about and questioning why (ibid).
Characteristics of the self-production process
I am not suggesting that self-production is a new phenomenon for female artists. Bayton has pointed out that as early as the 1960s, ‘the most popular route has been self-production’, for those women songwriters and performers looking for ways to move forward in the industry (Bayton 1998:7). Leonard also notes that, ‘undoubtedly some female artists have profited from the flexibility afforded by new recording opportunities’ (Leonard 2007:54). The question I am asking rather is, what do women’s experiences of the self-production process tell us? More specifically, there are two strands to this question. Firstly, what does a woman’s transfiguring of ‘a room of one’s own’ into ‘a studio of one’s own’ contribute to our understanding of women’s historical absence in the field of music production and, secondly, has the historical gendering of both music production and music technology influenced her choice to work in this way? In other words, within the confines of a woman’s studio, does the control over what she has created, along with the control over the multifaceted roles she has performed, render irrelevant the ‘endlessly reinforced…socially dominant discourses and fictions’ (Kelly 1999: 22) that have been shown to undermine and contain the achievements of women songwriters, musicians and performers? (See Davies 2001)
‘Catching the vibe’ (Summers 2010) is gender free.
The twelve independent female artist-producers, one major female artist-producer and one major female writer-producer referenced here, work in a variety of genres: singer-songwriters and composers of electronica, dance, hip-hop, alternative indie-rock and experimental music. As the artists are at varying stages in their careers, for the purposes of clarity, they will be referred to here as, either emerging, or established artists.
What emerges from the data is that the women only refer to their gender when they are discussing the manner in which they have chosen to acquire and/or develop their skills. Discussion of the work itself does not make any reference to gender. This is, of course, as it should be and echoes Bayton’s observations, above, that the reason for women’s absence in the field is grounded in the social. For example, the topics touched on in the interviews include: discussion of what constitutes the production process; the ability to perceive and capture a significant moment in a recorded performance; the importance of ‘fresh ears’ in the mixing process and the advantages and disadvantages of home recording versus the professional studio.
An illustration of the first topic is provided by Kathryn Williams who describes herself as a singer-songwriter rather than an artist-producer, despite the fact that she essentially carries out tasks that have been associated with the production process, namely writing the parts and the arrangements for other musicians to play (Negus 1992; Burgess 1997). Williams defines production in terms of mixing and sees the writing of the parts and the arrangements as forming part of the song-writing process. Although she uses a commercial studio to record her albums in a ‘live’ set up with her musicians, she has already written and worked out all the parts beforehand and, following the recording, works with a producer on the mixing,
When I use a producer, I’ve recorded everything – I don’t have them in at the recording process. I use them in the mixing process rather than the recording process. It’s at that point, I think, you need fresh ears because you’ve made it, you’ve recorded it – so you’ve got all the components. You know, it’s like having a palette, you can do anything with those things…it’s about the mix…what you put on it….the placement…the EQ, the reverb, the panning. It’s about constructing a nice placement for it (personal communication, 7th April 2008).
The ability for a producer to ‘catch a vibe’ (Summers personal communication, 6th January 2010) forms an integral part in the process of developing the sound of an artist (see Massey et al 2009). In Williams’ case what is being seen is her catching her own ‘vibe’ in the creation of the parts, in the live recording of her musicians’ performance and in the mixing process, whereby she benefits from, ‘those fresh ears. It’s always about fresh ears’ (op.cit.).
Maintaining the objectivity needed to ‘hear’ and therefore, ‘catch’ a ‘vibe’ or the potential of a ‘mistake’, is a challenge for an artist-producer. The participants highlight other potential pitfalls such as, ‘a repetitive kind of creation that can become really boring’ (Joana De Melo personal communication, 3rd December 2009). Williams refers to this, ‘ I think the problem with home recording is that you go over and over. You kill things, you lose the spontaneity’ (op.cit). She acknowledges that access to recording technologies in a home studio helps break down barriers for those, ‘people who wouldn’t normally have access to it’, but expresses her preference for, ‘the magicalness of going into a studio’ and believes that, ‘you get the most magical records in a studio’ (ibid.).
She refers to her home studio as a ‘den’ where she paints, as well as writes her music. She states how she, ‘purposely didn’t make it sound proof ’ as for her, ‘ the most important thing for home recording is to get ideas down ’, stating that,
if I was too bogged down in the technical thing in the beginning I would lose all my creative, you know…I need to press record and get it down (ibid.).
Emma Pollock echoes this desire to simply harness the initial idea, and believes that, ‘getting too wrapped up in the technical side of things’ carries the danger of clouding the ability to hear, ‘whether it’s a good song or not’ (personal communication, 30th October 2009). As established independent artists, both Williams and Pollock use home recording as a musical notepad effectively. Pollock states how she does not want to produce anything in her own house that is ‘worth releasing’ (ibid.).
In contrast Kate Bush, a major artist and the most high profile of the women artist- producers included in this study, illustrates how she navigates some of the challenges cited here. For example, she describes two instances during the recording of her recent album, 50 Words For Snow (EMI 2011), in which there were two mistakes made on two tracks that were kept in the final mix. The decision to keep the first mistake on the track, Lake Tahoe, is a result of Bush following her own intuition,
I was just getting near the end of the take and I was playing so softly that at one point my finger didn’t hit the note on the piano so suddenly there was this space, there was silence and I thought, ‘no, no I’ll just keep going’ and actually that’s the take we used on the record because it just had a feel about it but there is this little hole in the track (Kate Bush speaking on Front Row BBC Radio 4, 22nd November 2011).
The second mistake is a false start at the beginning of the track, Among Angels. Here the decision to keep it was a result of the views of ‘fresh’ ears’, in this case those of some friends,
I was going to take that off…but a couple of friends said, “ No don’t take it out because you actually get drawn into the song because you’re going, ‘what went on there?’ ” (Ibid.)
For emerging artist-producers who desire and, by virtue of establishing their careers in a current industry context, feel compelled to produce something ‘worth releasing’, knowing ‘your kit and room acoustics inside out’ (DJ Angel Farringdon personal communication, 8th November 2009), can result in significant empowerment with the potential for the ‘vibe’ to not only be caught but used in the final mix. As expertise develops, therefore, the dangers of losing the vibe by virtue of ‘chasing the demo’, can be avoided by emerging and established artists alike. An example of this is provided by Bush’s reference to the vocal used on her single King of The Mountain from the album Aerial (EMI, 2005). She describes it as, ‘ just the throwaway vocal that I put down on the track…I tried a few times to recreate it and I couldn’t get the same feeling’ (Kate Bush speaking on BBC Radio 4, 4th November 2005). The ‘throw away vocal’ could be kept and used on the track not just because of its ‘feeling’ but because it was technically good enough for commercial release. In another interview, in the same period, Bush in fact refers to the problem of ‘demo chasing’ she encountered when she first started working in her own studio. This was overcome, not just by the development of her production skills, but also by the development of recording technology that allows for recordings of a professional standard to be made in a home studio setting (Kate Bush speaking on BBC Radio 2, 7th November 2005).
Creativity in solitude
The desire expressed by all the women in this study to create in a private space (all the participants have a home recording facility with the exception of Summers who rents a studio space) resonates with early observations from Woolf and also with Simone De Beauvoir who claimed, ‘Art, literature and philosophy are attempts to found the world anew on a human freedom, that of the creator. To foster such an aim, one must first unequivocally posit oneself as a freedom…one must first emerge within (the world) in sovereign solitude if one wants to try to grasp it anew’ (De Beauvoir cited in Cusk, 2009). An artist-producer who creates, performs and produces her own music, in whatever genre, can be seen to embrace an intensified form of solitude. Music composition is a solitary experience, as is the production process. Even if she uses other musicians or a sound engineer or a mix engineer or a producer for the final mix, the majority of the work that comprises both the compositional and production process will have been executed solo.
I am not claiming that creativity, enacted in isolation, is a characteristic gendered female. For example, one of the areas examined in Eddie Ashworth’s study of the male artist-producer, Bon Iver, was his isolation which, it is suggested, was key to the sound produced and ensuing success of the album, For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar 2008), (Ashworth 2009:4-14). I am not suggesting, therefore, that the male artist-producer, does not also need to develop confidence via a creative retreat. However, the acknowledgement that a woman’s confidence in her technical abilities may be significantly influenced by the male dominated context of the commercial studio (Bayton 1998:6), strengthens the argument for a woman to develop confidence in this way. The creative retreat is awarded further pertinence when set against the dual impact of the marginalised status of women working in male dominated genres (see: Coates N. in Whitely S. (ed.) 1997:53 and Wener 2005:6) and subsequent undermining of their achievements by music critics (see: Davies, H. 2001; Reynolds S. and Press J., 1996).
O’Brien notes how female singer-songwriters have been given a media representation of, ‘ loners, writing songs in self-imposed solitary confinement only to emerge every so often to take a lover ’ (2002:187). She also highlights, however, that, ‘ excluded from male rock and jazz traditions undertook a quiet revolution, creating a powerful arena for themselves ’ (ibid.:180-81). The evidence from the artist-producers here also points to the potential of a ‘powerful arena’ in response to what can be described as an exclusion from the field of music production. The state of isolation experienced is expressed as being imbued with positive, rather than negative, connotations and the private space, the home studio, is rendered a site, not of marginality, but rather one of creativity and subsequent empowerment, an embracing, in fact, of De Beauvoir’s ‘sovereign solitude’ in order ‘ to grasp (the world) anew’.
For example, Caro Snatch has experienced long periods of physical isolation as a result of a long-term back complaint that has led to a number of operations necessitating lengthy and isolated episodes of recuperation. She states that her music and developing career stems from one such period of recuperation in her early twenties when, living with her boyfriend at the time, who was a musician, she started ‘playing around’ with his synthesizers and recording equipment (personal communication, 03/03/11). Snatch’s interpretation of her isolation can be seen as an interesting illustration of Julia Kristeva’s interpretation of women’s ‘permanent marginality’ as ‘the motor of change’ (Kristeva in Kelly 1999:92). In other words, Snatch views her isolation as an opportunity to find a means of communicating with others through her creativity6, as well as finding her ‘voice’, or, as she expresses here, ‘ a connection to myself ’ (op.cit.),
I think in a way, I actually came about music because I was isolated physically and it actually provided me with a connection to myself but also a way of communicating with others…so I think in a way, isolated? I don’t know, I think in a way it does the opposite (ibid.).
The creative journey chosen by the women here starts from a point of isolation and arrives at a ‘sound’. As Snatch comments, ‘You have to isolate yourself to build up your confidence and your skills ’ (ibid.). Sophie Townsend concurs,
in order to build a career, you have to get that sound, whatever it is that people then know you for…and having your own way of doing things to create a sound (Sophie Townsend personal communication, 13th December 2010).
Self-production practices have enabled these artists to progress to the starting point of a career, afforded by a recognisable ‘sound’ which, as Theberge notes, ‘ carr(ies) the same commercial and aesthetic weight as the melody or the lyric in pop songs’ (Theberge 1997:195). I am not suggesting that such a creative journey, that might result in creating a ‘sound’, is particular to women but rather that the cultural contexts in which music production has been framed has resulted in a voiced recognition by the participants here of the particular benefits for women to work in this way. For example, Snatch sees advantages for a woman to be able to experiment and learn through self-production in the early stages of a career,
playing on your own…you’re not worrying about what people are going to think…just on your own, you’ve got that freedom. No one’s judging you, you can’t criticise yourself. I think for women, especially, I found that as a girl, starting off, that it was really important that no one told me what was right or wrong and therefore that’s how I developed my sound (op.cit.).
Several other participants in the study point to an ensuing confidence as a result of working in this way and one woman expresses how the building of such confidence is then accompanied by a feeling of creative freedom (Christine Broussard personal communication, 3rd April 2011). Even as a highly successful artist-producer, Bush similarly stresses how self-production has allowed her to continue to develop what she describes as her ‘creative focus’,
It (also) helps me to get a very creative focus because one of the things that’s very difficult is the distractions that come into what should be a very quiet, focussed process (Kate Bush interviewed on Front Row, BBC Radio 4, 4th November 2005).
Six years on, she reiterates,
I think in some ways I’m just starting to get the hang of, you know, the whole piecing together of a recording process…it’s this continual learning process…hopefully you can learn from your mistakes (Kate Bush interviewed on Front Row, BBC Radio 4, 4th May 2011).
Six months later she describes a new direction,
What I think is really interesting is that in a strange way by making Directors Cut, which was a really important process for me, it was almost like a kind of finishing off a cycle and it feels to me like this has begun a new phase…in some ways this does feel like the beginning of my music from now on. So in some ways it’s like my first record again (Kate Bush Front Row BBC Radio 4, 22nd November 2011).
Technology and the domestic environment
The research suggests that one of the key characteristics of self-production that has been particularly appealing to the female artists studied here, and which has contributed significantly to their developing production skills, has been the ability to access technology at home. Ironically, the access of music technology in the home has been perceived as creating male ‘spaces’ in domestic arenas, traditionally gendered as female (Keightley 1996), and the marketing of the technology to be used in a home studio setting has assumed that the consumers are male (Theberge, 1997:125-175). Ann Werner’s study of the access of technology in the home by teenage girls in Sweden, for both listening to and making music, revealed that the young female participants’ view of their relationship with technology is more influenced by their relationships with their male peers rather than by the domestic context (Werner 2007). The observations of Bayton (1998), however, are echoed by one of the participants in this study when she states that, ‘Many women and girls are intimidated by technology, and especially the male dominated aspect of music and technology’ (Aimee Norwich personal communication, 29th October 2009). This is not to suggest that men are not also intimidated by technology 7 but she points to the important role that, ‘the accessibility of music technology’ can play, whereby, ‘women and girls can take things into their own hands and learn this stuff on their own, on their own terms’ (ibid.). She believes that,
By doing this, they will quickly learn that music technology is not some mystical ability, acquired only by the chosen few. All one has to do is take the time to learn this stuff. In doing so, one gains confidence in their own abilities (ibid).
This view is reiterated by Mandy Wigby,
I think it’s to do with confidence and education and opportunity. I work with so many young women now and they always want to work with me in the studio…I think it’s about relating to someone of your gender and being comfortable with that person (Mandy Wigby personal communication, 15th December 2010).
A connection might be seen here between the learning preferences of young female students and female artists who, with an artistic vision in place that they want to execute, are motivated to ‘take the time to learn this stuff’, away from mixed gender environments where potential problems can still be encountered. An example of such problems are illustrated by Wigby who, even as an experienced engineer, finds she still has to challenge potential intimidation in the mixed gender studio environment of the community studio where she works,
I think that women can be quite intimidated, you know it’s difficult, I still have problems at work, the men will push in and I go, “ Hang on a minute, let me do it for a change ” (ibid.).
The problems highlighted from gendered recording studio cultures (see: Sandstrom in Moisala and Diamond (eds.) 2002; Essle 2003; Hinkle-Turner 2003; Hutton 2003; McCartney 2003; Simoni, 2003; Weber-Lucks 2003; Leonard 2007) are referred to by studio owner, Jasmine Lee, in her description of the atmosphere inside her own studios,
it’s a real boys’ world in there…it’s like lads’ day out….If you put a woman in there, they’ll be well behaved but only for a certain amount of time and then they’ll start – you’ve got to be thick skinned (personal communication, 27th January 2010).
Reflecting on her recording experiences, Summers ruefully comments, ‘Engineers and dudes always know better than you’ (personal communication, 10th January 2010).
For those women for whom self-production in a home studio has been their starting point, their awareness of the control that this approach has allowed them from the start of their careers is marked. Angel Farringdon remarks,
It’s how I started, learning on kit at home, I loved having total control over the production process (Helen Taylor aka DJ Angel Farringdon personal communication 8th November 2009).
It has also placed them in a position to make important artistic choices such as how to go about achieving a particular sound for a new project. Polly Paulusma states how, ‘I think having self-produced my first album I knew where I was comfortable getting help and where I wasn’t ’ (personal communication, 10th April 2007). Snatch illustrates similar choices she felt she could make, for example, whether to use a professional studio instead of, or as well as, her own,
I wanted that £3000 reverb and I wanted that ‘gig sound’ and I wanted it to go through a Neve desk…the more I get confident, the more I know it’s choice, it’s a choice to do that (personal communication, 3rd March 2011).
What strongly emerges is that the women feel confident about making both artistic, and arguably career choices, as a direct result of the sound they initially created for themselves in their own studios. Snatch states,
I still am a solo artist but I’ve collaborated more and more and I know that’s because my confidence is building and I trust my sound…I’m not interested about whether this is good enough anymore. Good or not, I respect what I do (ibid.).
Just as the need to build confidence is relevant for male and female artist-producers alike, knowing your ‘kit’ and your ‘room’ is clearly essential for either gender8. However, the particular significance for the women studied here is that it has allowed those who have chosen to transfer their work to a commercial studio, to circumnavigate potential intimidation. Williams refers to the dangers of a passive role that can be imposed upon an artist in this context,
to go into a studio that is very foreign and you don’t know what buttons work and you’re the passenger of the whole environment. I think when it comes to recording yourself, I mean it makes a massive difference because you can make the sound you want, you can mess around with it. It gives you an idea of what the whole process is and it gives you control of what you want (personal communication, 7th April 2008).
Another participant similarly expresses the danger of being ‘disconnected’ when working in a commercial studio environment (Alice Rose personal communication, 6th April 2011). The production skills that the women have developed, therefore, is a direct result of having taken full responsibility for their sound rather than from being a ‘passenger’. This, in turn, allows for a confident articulation of the work that needs to be done in order to meet the needs of the song. Williams states how, ‘in the studio, it’s not like I’m the boss, it’s the songs are the boss and I’d rather come across as a tit and get what I want from the song than hang back’ (op. cit). Similarly, Snatch has been able to assert herself when necessary,
you learn a lot by working with other people as well but there is a fear, there is a tendency that it could undermine your own free expression…I have had situations, like the first album especially, the guy was like, “Oh no, you can’t do that.” And I was like, “Yes I can because I want to” (personal communication, 3rd March 2011).
Williams initially states that self-production, ‘is relevant for everyone wanting to make their own sound’ (op.cit.). This view is echoed by Paulusma (personal communication, 10th April 2007), Pollock (personal communication, 30th October 2010), Townsend (personal communication, 13th December 2010) and De Melo (personal communication, 3rd December 2009). However, she then qualifies her comment by expressing the particular benefits for women, due to their minority status in the field,
It gives you an idea of what the whole process is and it gives you control of what you want and it also opens up avenues for that sort of work to go into, you know, which is like, a massive minority. I’ve been to loads and loads and loads of recording studios and I have never, ever, ever seen a woman in the control room – ever, ever – apart from me (op.cit.).
Keith Negus and Michael Pickering (2004:ix) point to the ‘traditions’ that ‘the act of creation involves grappling with’ in order to ‘be given communicative form’. As the power and control associated with the producer (Bayton 1998:6) appears undiminished, even in the digital age (Wikstrom 2009), the ability to avoid such ‘grappling’ via self-production, therefore, is welcomed by the women here,
The recording industry is so male dominated that there is a potential to encounter a lot of sexism if one were to be forced into traditional recording studios (Christine Broussard personal communication, 3rd April 2011).
Music Production and Motherhood
All the participants refer to the practical advantages of working in a domestic environment, which can benefit both sexes. Broussard points to the financial benefits of recording ‘at home’ (ibid.) and Norwich describes how she used her technological skills and experience of producing her music in other people’s studios to physically make a lot of her equipment herself. She also invested in a digital audio recording platform, and taught herself how to use it, in order to save the cost of attending a course (Aimee Norwich personal communication, 29th October 2009). Snatch highlights the flexibility that recording at home allows (personal communication 3rd March 2011) which is also clearly relevant to male and female artist-producers. The singular relevance of flexibility for four of the artist-producers examined here, who are also mothers however, is notable. For example, Pollock acknowledges that childcare issues are also relevant for male musicians but emphasises the empowerment and ‘flexible approach to (that) creativity’ that home recording affords when it is the female, rather than the male artist, who shoulders the majority of the childcare responsibility (personal communication 30th October 2009).
Paulusma asserts that she would not be able to record her work now, as a mother, in the way that she did when she first started,
I know that when I was starting out in the late 1990s, when really the home recording phenomenon was just arriving, I used to have to go to record in studios in the middle of the night to get the downtime – and I think if I’d been trying to do that now, as a mum, it just would have been shut off to me (personal communication, 10th April 2007).
In two separate interviews, Bush stresses the role a home studio plays for her as a mother. Firstly in discussing Ariel (EMI 2005),
It’s very important to me now that I have a child. I wouldn’t have been able to work at all if I hadn’t been able to work at home (Front Row, BBC Radio 4, 4th November 2005).
She then reiterates the point when discussing Directors Cut (EMI 2011),
I think that’s important for me because if I didn’t have it (her studio) here, I probably wouldn’t be able to work…My family life, it’s incredibly important to me and it comes first and my work fits around it, which is quite easy to do with the recording process (Front Row BBC Radio 4, 4th May 2011).
Bayton comments how,
Musicians schedule their lives around music; mothers schedule their lives around their children. Only highly successful – and rich – women musicians can resolve this contradiction satisfactorily (1988: 254-5).
Twenty three years on from Bayton’s observation, the research presented here strongly suggests that access to recording technologies in their own homes is allowing women musicians, who are not necessarily ‘highly successful’ or ‘rich’, to attempt to ‘resolve’ this ‘contradiction’.
Creativity and Class
In this article I question how an examination of women’s self-production practices might contribute to our understanding of the gender imbalance in the field of music production. Within the constraints of an article, however, it must be acknowledged that gender cannot be discussed in isolation. Attention must be also given to factors that create social inequalities and marginalisation, in conjunction with gender, which in turn might influence a woman carving out a path to her own studio, or not. As John Shepherd notes,
it is not possible to study social processes independently of issues of gender, it is not possible to study gender issues independently of wider social processes…To study the situation of women is, in other words, to challenge the political domination of men (Shepherd 1991:153).
He emphasises why music is a particularly pertinent subject area for study of such ‘social processes’ when he states, ‘As moments of sociality, music and its study have been shot through with consequences of this dominance’ (ibid.). Such comments bear a clear relevance for the issues under discussion here.
Negus and Pickering (2004) draw on Bourdieu’s focus on ‘those from particular privileged backgrounds’ who have always had access to ‘ the consecrated arts’ in their examination of those factors, other than ‘raw talent’, that a person might need if they are , ‘ to achieve a significant place within the world of art and letters and deemed to be a cultural producer occupying a legitimate position ’ (Negus and Pickering 2004:117). They marry social class and gender by examining the ‘struggles’ of the male ‘working-class autodidact(s)’ and the ‘equally difficult obstacles’ faced by middle-class women in their ‘aspirations to creative expression ’(ibid.:118). The creative aspirations of the working-class woman or those of the working-class woman of colour are not addressed.
I would argue that for many working-class women it can take half a lifetime, if ever, to gain the self-confidence, self-belief and a sense of deserving the right to pursue a life of creativity. Her middle-class sisters may have the issues of gender, space and money to contend with but they may also have had the advantages, perhaps, of private music lessons as children or to have grown up in an environment whereby the financial and professional security provided by their parents allowed a space to be opened up in which creativity and the arts could be valued and aspirations to participate in them could be nurtured, unhampered by the pressure to get a job to support herself and/or contribute to the family’s income. Perhaps most importantly they may have been told by educated middle-class mothers that, like Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Aphra Benn, they could make money by their pen (Woolf in 1985 ed.:61) or post-1960 by their guitar or their piano or latterly by their home studio. Paulusma states that in order to create, ‘The money helps, but it’s not necessary’ (personal communication, 10th April 2007). What is necessary, however, is self-confidence because as Woolf asserts, ‘Without self-confidence, we are as babes in the cradle’ (Woolf in 1985 ed.:35). It is a sobering thought that journalist Julie Burchill notes,
Fewer than one in 10 British children attends fee-paying schools, yet more than 60% of chart acts have been privately educated, according to Word magazine, compared with 1% 20 years ago (Burchill 2012).
It has not gone unnoted, that Woolf, as an early but highly influential feminist, speaks to the middle-class woman9 nor have the shortcomings of the thesis for women of colour gone without comment10. Despite this, one of the key questions she posed over eighty years ago still resonates for the issues examined here, namely, ‘What is the state of mind that is most propitious to the act of creation?’ (Woolf in1985 ed.:50) For a woman to have such a state of mind as one that believes that she has the right to a creative life, a right to seek, find and develop her voice may also mean surmounting social inequalities that go beyond gender and encompass issues within society that go beyond the music industry. This is not to dismiss feminist popular music scholars who have rightly highlighted the role that feminism has played in allowing and validating women musicians and performers to find their ‘voice’, both literally and metaphorically (see: Bayton in Bennett, Frith, Grossberg, Shepherd and Turner, (eds.) 1993; Raphael 1995), even if some artists have been unwilling to overtly acknowledge feminism as a cultural framework embedding that work (Stein 1999:224-5). Clearly, social background will impact significantly on the ways in which men or women may or may not seek out and find her/his voice in a given creative field (see: Wiseman-Trowse 2008). Within the field of music production, however, in which the gender imbalance is so pronounced, the social inequalities that might be added to the mix also need to be examined if we are to gain a fuller understanding of the reasons behind women’s significant minority status in all strands of the profession.
In this article I have offered a feminist reading of the use of technology in the self-production practices of a study group of artist-producers and have suggested a parallel with an early feminist response to the woman novelist. Woolf saw the potential of the novel as a ‘young’ art form for a woman writer, ‘The novel alone was young enough to be soft in her hands’ (Woolf in 1985 ed.:74). As pointed out, there have always been women who have both produced (Lascelles 2009) and self-produced (Bayton 1998) but the growing numbers of women artists who are now turning to self-production, as a result of some or all of the reasons discussed here, positions the field of production for the woman artist as also being ‘young enough to be soft in her hands’, with all the potential that such a state may promise both in terms of addressing existing inequalities and in terms of the benefits it may offer to her career.
An illustration of this is provided by engineer/producer, Dave Pye, who has worked with a large number of female artists spanning a ten-year period,
I think that now the women who are in bands that I know or the women that are creating music are way more empowered…they’re the key creative force behind the band…and that’s more what I see now as a woman’s role within a band or as an artist than it was 10/15 years ago (personal communication, 8th December 2011).
He cites a recent project with a band comprising of two sisters called, 2:54, who use self-production as a drafting process. Pye describes how, ‘they make everything, they’ve got Logic on a laptop, they build everything from scratch. They write everything to that demo’ (ibid.). He views the ability of the two young women to, ‘sit together, create an entire album and that album come out through a big label and they will do well from it’ as ‘brilliantly empowering’ (ibid.). The women themselves have articulated their awareness to Pye that it is their production skills that have allowed them to initiate a career,
They sat at looking at their laptops and said, “We would not be doing this (releasing an album) if we couldn’t do this (self-produce).” They said that a number of times, just marvelling at the fact that they’re able to do what they are doing on their computers (ibid.).
Woolf looked to the future with optimism believing that the independent woman writer would, in overturning masculine values, write what had not yet been written (Woolf in 1985 ed.:2). Woolf’s optimism, however, has since been tempered, as novelist Rachel Cusk points out,
Literature, for most of its history, was a male reality. The form and structure of the novel, the perceptual framework, the very size and character of the literary sentence: these were tools shaped by men for their own uses (Cusk, 2009).
The optimism for the potential of technology and self-production for women artists needs also to be tempered. It must be remembered that music production in the popular music industry has, ‘for most of its history’, also been, ‘a male reality’ in which ‘the perceptual framework’ of the recording studio encompasses the ‘tools’ of technology that have also been seen as being ‘shaped by men for their own uses.’ However, there is some cause for cautious celebration in that two of 2011’s Mercury Prize nominees, Ana Calvi and Katy B, were both actively involved in the production of their own sound resulting in Frith to comment on what he sees as the significance of this for women,
I think for me the interesting thing is how the voice, which has always been seen as a sort of pop sign – women do well in pop where they don’t do well in other categories – is now being occupied by women that are also very clearly producing their own sound to escape from the setting in which their voices are placed (Simon Frith speaking on Front Row, BBC Radio 4, Tuesday, 19th July 2011).
Taking control of one’s sound, in a studio of one’s own, may only provide a temporary, albeit powerful, ‘escape’ for a woman artist from the constraining perceptions imposed by her ‘setting’. I would argue, however, that it does so in a way that perhaps the female artist writing and performing, as opposed to writing, performing and producing, cannot entirely achieve. Snatch expresses for example, ‘You’re nourished, nourished on other levels that no one else or nothing else can touch ’(Caro Snatch personal communication, 03/03/11). I am not suggesting that women who may not be involved in the production of their work are not still making significant strides11. What I argue, rather, is that the steady rise in self-production practices amongst women not only points to artistic and career potential for the individual but may also serve to address an inherited gender imbalance in the field.
My thanks to Dr. Marion Leonard for early discussions of the research and to Prof. John Street for his advice and encouragement in the redrafting process.
1 See: Pendle 1991; Gaar, 1993; McDonnel and Powers 1995; Raphael 1995; Coates 1997; Grieg 1997; Whiteley 1997, 2000; Bayton 1998; Cooper and Gordon 1998; Dibben, 1999; Moisala and Diamond (eds.) 2000; Bradby and Lang 2001; Davies, 2001; Kruse 2002, 2003; Schilt 2003; Feigenbaum 2005; Bannister 2006; Leonard 2007.
2 A recent example of this is provided by the frustrations expressed by Alison Goldfrapp (2010), of the band Goldfrapp, at the constant requirement to explain and justify her contribution to the composition and production process in press interviews as it is assumed that the other band member, Will Godfrey, is the composer and producer and that she is, ‘just the singer’. See: (http://www.prsformusicfoundation.com/news/womeninmusic.html
3 City Showcase is a London based charity that hosts a yearly week-long event of workshops and showcase opportunities for emerging artists. See: http://www.cityshowcase.co.uk
4 Claire Whitaker is a director of the jazz agency Serious and the London jazz festival since 1996. See: http:// www.serious.org.uk/
5 Women’s minority status as film directors has attracted media interest. See: Cooke, R. ‘Why women directors don’t need Hollywood’, The New Review, The Sunday Observer 03.10.10 pp.8-11
6 This aspect of creativity is examined by Negus and Pickering (2004)
7 Darius Kedros openly admits to a genuine fear of technology that he had to overcome when he was looking for ways to develop his skills. He refers to himself as, “a natural technophobe” and feels indebted to the house engineers in the studio where he first started to acquire his skills (personal communication, 29/04/10).
8 The importance of being able to ‘read’ or ‘work’ a room was one of the areas covered in a lecture to production students by veteran producer, Robin Millar at West London University, 28th October 2010. In the advice offered to the students, Millar was fully recognising and made direct reference to the context they, as aspiring engineers and producers, would be working in. That is, that the artist (s), the recording equipment and the engineer/producer would all be in the same room. Farringdon’s comments above, therefore, are in line with Millar’s assumptions on the working environment of producers, and, specifically here, artist-producers, working today.
9 See novelist Rachel Cusk’s assessment of early feminist work for the contemporary woman writer in The Saturday Guardian Review, 12/12/09 pages 2-3 and in The Saturday Guardian Review, 20/11/10 page 20.
10 See Alice Walker’s response (1974) in Eagleton. M. (ed.) 1997:34-33.
11 For example, the success of the high number female artists in 2011 led to one music critic to proclaim, ‘this pop gender divide angle is wearing thin.’ (Empire, K. The Observer Review 11/12/11 page 32)
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Appendix 1: Interviews
Christine Broussard, US independent artist-producer. Interview conducted by e-mail, 3rd April 2011. See: www.scifisol.net
Kate Bush, UK major label artist-producer (EMI). Interviews accessed from broadcast media between 2005 and 2012. See: www.katebush.com
Alys Gibson, producer manager. Personal interview in London, 27th January, 2010.
Safta Jaffri, producer manager/record label/production company. Personal interview, 21st October 2009. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taste_Media
Darius Kedros, UK producer. Interview conducted on skype, 29th April 2010. See: www.myspace.com/dariuskedros
Jeremy Lascelles. At the time of interview Jeremy Lascelles was CEO of Chrysalis Music. Following the purchase of Chrysalis by BMG in 2011, Lascelles has since resigned. Personal interview in London, 16th September 2009.
Jasmine Lee, studio owner of The Dean Street Studios, Soho, London. Personal interview in London, 27th January 2010.
DJ Angel Farringdon, UK DJ/ independent artist-producer. Interview conducted by email, 8th November 2011. See: www.angelfarringdon.net
Joana De Melo, Portuguese independent artist-producer. Interview conducted by email, 3rd December 2009. See: www.myspace.com/joanamelomusic
Krissi Murison, Editor of NME 2009-12. Public interview recorded at the Association of Independent Music (AIM) Women in Music and Entertainment Networking Evening, London, 26th March 2012.
Tony Morley , UK independent label owner. See: www.theleaflabel.com Public interview recorded at http://norwichartscentre.co.uk/norwich-sound-vision-conference-day/ Norwich, 1st October 2011.
Amy Norwich, US independent artist-producer. Interview conducted by email, 29th October 2010. See: www.reverbnation.com/page_object/page_object…/artist_1909231
Emma Pollock, Scottish, independent artist-label (Chemikal Underground). Interview conducted on skype, 30th October 2010. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Pollock
Polly Paulusma, UK, singer-songwriter (One Little Indian). Interview conducted by e-mail 10th April 2007. See: www.pollypaulusma.com
Dave Pye, Engineer/producer. Personal interview, 8th December 2011. See: www.davepye.com
Alice Rose, US independent artist-producer. Interview conducted by email, 6th April 2011. See: www.mixcloud.com/…/alice-rose-in-session-mix/
Niles Rogers, US producer/artist-producer/producer manager. See: http://www.nilerodgers.com Public interview witnessed at Conference: Production Magic: Revealing Tricks and Conjuring Business, The Magic Circle, London 11th November 2006. See: http://www.musictank.co.uk/events/production-magic-revealing-tricks-conjuring-business
Caro Snatch, UK independent artist-producer. Interview conducted on skype, 3rd March 2011. See: www.carosnatch.com
Isabella Summers, UK writer-producer/ keyboard player, ‘The Machine’, in Florence and the Machine. Personal interview in London, 6th January 2010. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella_Summers
Sophie Townsend, UK DJ/artist-producer. Interview conducted on skype, 13th December 2010. See: www.myspace.com/sophietoes
Mandy Wigby, UK engineer/artist-producer/educator. Interview conducted on skype, 15th December 2010. See: www.myspace.com/3rdfloormusicproduction
Kathryn Williams, UK independent artist-label (Caw Records). First interview conducted via myspace.com, 24th May, 2007. Second personal interview in Norwich, 7th April, 2008. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Williams