Smirnoff set out a brand commitment earlier this year in their stated goal of doubling the number of female, LGBTQ and non-binary headliners at electronic music festivals by 2020, in the wake of recent talk of the lack of gender representation on bills across the world.
As part of this initiative and following on from the Move the Needle campaign, Smirnoff have announced a call for upcoming electronic producers and DJs to apply to take part in a masterclass weekend in Dublin on December 8th and 9th under the name Smirnoff Equalizing Music Dublin.
A industry panel will select 15 candidates to attend the two-day event which will feature talks, workshops and networking with 8 musicians from Ireland and internationally.
Participants in the talks include UMFANG (Discwoman / Technicolour) and ELLLL (Gash Collective) who will also play a showcase at Wah Wah Club on Saturday, 9th December. Other speakers and tutors to be announced.
Potential applications can apply here. The closing date for entries is Monday, November 6th and the 15 selected will be notified by Friday, November 17th.
SMIRNOFF reminds music fans of all gender identities to pace themselves and drink responsibly. To learn more visit drinkaware.ie
About the SMIRNOFF Equalizing Music Pledge
According to music heavyweights THUMP, females, transgender and non-binary people made up 17% of headliners in 2016 at electronic music festivals around the world. This percentage is far from gender parity. On International Women’s Day in March, Smirnoff pledged to double this number by 2020.
We’ve got the Body & Soul Festival stage times, the playlist and how here are the recommendation for 12 acts to see in Ballinlough this year featuring 9 acts & 3 DJs you must see.
Friday, Main Stage, 10pm
I have zero idea what the live show from Scottish composer Anna Meredith will be like as she’s made music that had an epic brass quality and experimental post-rock-style music but if either of those show up as the sun sets on Ballinlough, particularly the bombastic ‘Nautilus’ then I’d be happy.
Friday, Woodlands, 3am
A late-night show from one of the best new bands in Ireland? Nice. Christy Leech & Aimie Mallon are a party band who make music that moves between house, pop and electro. They are one of the hottest tickets on Irish festivals this summer so stay up late for this one.
The Bug ft. Miss Red
Friday, Midnight Circus, 21:30
If it’s heavy bass and atmosphere with a gritty rhythmic shake informed by down and dirty Drum ‘n’ bass, ragga, grime, ambient and dub, then a live show from the Bug is a must.
Simon Greene’s most recent Bonobo album traded off his reputation as a creator of intricate electronica to add some toughness and dynamic dancefloor production to his music, making Migration his best work yet. Live, he’s already known for large band recreations of that music so this should be a treat.
Saturday, Reckless In Love, 1am
Corkwoman Ellen King’s electronic is fairly uncompromising sonically, eschewing clean lines and grids for grit and lo-fi noise. Beneath it all, is a throbbing techno style. As seen in the recent Women In electronica documentary, King is also founder of the Gash Collective, who are also playing throughout the weekend.
BARQ are seasoned musicians having played with Hozier, Kodaline, Monster Monster, Damien Dempsey, Loah, Lethal Dialect, Ryan Sheridan and Zaska in the past and are establishing their own rap-tinged soulful R&B jazz sound under a genre they’ve coined as “agrosoul.”
Saturday, Wonderlust, 11.15pm
Saturday is a great day for Irish DJs. While it would be remiss of me as one-third of Lumo CLub not to mention that we are playing twice on Saturday at Reckless in love from 4pm – 6pm and Absolut Bar late at 2am til close. So before you come over the latter, you can find my Loose Joints co-host Sally Cinnamon playing at the Wonderlust stage where I know there’s going to be be tunes I can recommend. Sally introduced me (and many others) to this track and it often gets a play in her sets.
Sunday, Main Stage, 9pm
One of my favourite live bands. The Florida band Hundred Waters‘ music features skittering electronic leaps, abstract folk textures and the undeniably beautiful voice of Nicole Miglis.
Sunday, Main Stage, 15:30 / Woodlands, 22:30
Kelsey Lu is a North Carolinian cellist and singer/songwriter who makes orchestrally-arranged ambient folk music and has an EP out on True Panther. She has earned comparisons to Alice Coltrane and Bat For Lashes, Lu’s music leans into the avant-garde spectrum yet she has collaborated with artists in the field of pop and R&B like Blood Orange, Kelela and Wet.
Sunday, Woodlands 1am
They are the creators of an album that is one of my favourites of the year, an ’80s-inspired collection of strutting synth disco with heart. Simon Cullen and Sorca MCGrath will work better than most at 1am at a festival. The place to be.
Mix & Fairbanks
Sunday, Absolut Bar, 3pm
DJ Arveene has curated a whole weekend of DJs with an emphasis on the Irish selectors and the lineup is strong across the weekend with the likes of Ciara Brady, Kelly-Anne Byrne, Billy Scurry, Jimmy Rouge, Eddie Kay, Stevie G, Cyril Briscoe, DJ Deece and Aoife Nic Canna among them. Kildare up and comers Gary O’Reilly and Rob Smyth aka Mix & Fairbanks have recently got into original tracks to whopping effect, but it’s the skills as DJs playing disco and house edits and classics that started them on their path. Just listen to the Linndrum (80s drum machine) inspired mix they made for me last year.
Ok so slightly cheating here, but my wife Aoife runs Sing Along Social and last year’s Body&Soul was the first time her zero commitment choir debuted at a festival and it went off as you can see below. Basically, Sing Along Social is a zero-commitment choir, a group karaoke session, a party with lyrics and backing tracks. This year’s theme is Pop Battle so think Drake vs. Rihanna, Justin vs Britney, Abba vs. Fleetwood Mac and more, including props and inflatable. It’ll be gas. There’s a kids version on the Saturday too.
One of the arguments that you’ll often hear from male DJs and producers in response to the call for more female acts on festivals and stages of the music world is that women have the same opportunities as men so therefore they must either – a) don’t like music b) don’t have the desire to make it.
While that rhetoric is downright insulting in the first place, it glosses over the truth that men are in a more privileged position – there is precedence in their peers and history and they have more opportunities.
Women who do try get into DJing or music have to contend with the lads questioning their motives, mansplaining their track choices, dismissing their abilities, putting them in their place or presuming their looks outweigh their interest and talent. As a man, no-one has ever told me I couldn’t become a DJ but every woman that I know who is a DJ, has multiple stories of men doing the above. if you don’t believe me – ask them. I’m sick of seeing half the population of the world not represented as much as the other half – why aren’t you?
While I do believe that promoters and those in positions of power have to be conscious of the bias in gender when booking and consider other gender categorisations (on MERIT first, not quota-filling), the biggest change happens I believe, at the ground level, when a woman (or transgender, non-binary person for that matter) is encouraged to give DJing a go in a safe space, without judgement and with encouragement.
It’s something addressed in the above This Greedy Pig produced short-documentary Move The Needle by Joni – “there’s something about it when there’s a bunch of guys standing around it, you automatically feel like it’s not for you.” The film features some of the inspiring women who DJ and produce including ELLLL, Aoife Nic Canna, Cailín, Joni and my Loose Joints podcast cohost Sally Cinnamon.
Move the Needle is a series of free workshops by Gash Collective who do just that. Their workshops take place in Galway, Cork, Dublin and Belfast and are aimed at women who want to learn in a space like this. Each workshop will provide an introduction to using CDJs and turntables, beatmatching and Ableton production with leading female Irish producers, DJs and trained teachers. Featuring members of the Gash Collective and other leading figures from the industry, such as ELLLL, Eve, Lolz, Marian Hawkes and Aoife Nic Canna.
Smirnoff are involved as part of their “Equalizing Music” campaign which is working towards the promotion of the idea of doubling female headliners by 2020. Sign up to the below workshops at TGP.
MOVE THE NEEDLE GALWAY
DJ and Production Skills Workshop 3pm – 7pm, Sunday, 18th June Galway Arts Centre
MOVE THE NEEDLE CORK
DJ and Production Skills Workshop 3pm – 7pm, Saturday, 22nd July Wandesforth Gallery
MOVE THE NEEDLE BELFAST
DJ and Production Skills Workshop 3pm – 7pm, Saturday, 15th July Catalyst Arts
MOVE THE NEEDLE DUBLIN
DJ and Production Skills Workshop 3pm – 7pm, Saturday, 12th August The Tara Building
Cork producer Ellen King aka ELLLL has been cultivating a propulsive style of low-end techno that exists in a blotted form on a track ‘Romance’ released earlier this year, a “beat-driven collage with a playful and sinister narrative”.
‘Romance’ heads up a new four-track EP on Art For Blind on 12″ and digital on November 14th. Pre-order
Sherkin Island in West Cork will host a new festival called Open Ear on the June Bank Holiday weekend all about experimental music of Irish original from 3rd-5th of June.
Open Ear is inspired by alternative festivals like from Unsound in Krakow and to Rathlin Island (which has hosted regular electronic weekenders) off the coast of Antrim.
It’ll largely take place in the Sherkin North Shore Guesthouse and the Jolly Roger pub nearby.
Playing at the festival are:
Bjork collaborator Spaces, solo and with his techno duo Ordinate, Cork producer Ellll (also performing as Double Glaze with Mariah Black), Sunken Foal, Dublin “digital mixtape” collective wherethetimegoes will have a special showcase featuring young artists Minos and Lastminuteman, SIAS, Lumigraph, Niamh De Barra, T-woc and more.
Niamh De Barra
Noid The Droid
Wherethetimegoes Showcase with Lastminuteman ･ Minos ･ Sage
Tickets for Open Ear are €75 including camping, and there will be a special €7 return ferry deal for attendees.