Posts in LGBTQ
[Interview] FEMMEHOUSE DJ LP Giobbi On Empowering Women Through Production, Going 'Tits First' Into Her Career
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Los Angeles FEMMEHOUSE producer and DJ LP Giobbi (born Leah Chisholm) is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to her trajectory into present day and without a doubt Some Kind of Awesome. Raised by a couple of Deadheads in New York, she started playing piano when she was in 2nd grade and experimented playing in bands as she grew up. "I was always the music kid. I played in the bands," LP explains, "I was that person." When it came time for college, her supportive parents encouraged her to pursue her passions, and she found herself taking all music classes at UC Berkeley in Los Angeles, California. She graduated with a degree in jazz piano and, drawing inspiration from her upbringing, sought out a job at Another Planet Entertainment, home of Outside Lands Festival, Treasure Island Music Festival, and more. After reading the biography of legendary rock promoter Bill Graham, who worked with the likes of The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and The Rolling Stones, she decided to write a letter to president Gregg Perloff, who had worked directly under Graham for many years.

"I wrote a letter as to why they should hire me and I literally walked down to their office, found their address, rang the buzzer and asked for Gregg Perloff," she recounted. "They assumed because I had so much ignorant confidence that I did have a meeting with him and they let me in." As luck would have it, Perloff actually stepped out of his office around the same time that the APE staff were trying to assess what the then-nineteen year old's intentions were. "I think at that moment they were like, 'There's a stalker in the office'", she said, "but I walked over to him and I said, 'You know, you would really benefit by hiring me and here's a letter as to why'." Completely blown away by her go-getter attitude, Perloff read her letter while she stood in of him and then hired her on the spot.

This is one of the many stories that LP would share with me during our conversation the evening before her set at Brooklyn nightclub Output, alongside Animal Talk labelmates Crush Club and label founders better known as electro pop sensations Sofi Tukker. While her attitude towards life is often more of a "Tits First" policy, leaping into everything assuming that a safety net will appear, it took a while for her to be honest with herself about wanting to pursue music full-time.. "After a lot of soul searching and conversations with the best pals, I learned it was actually fear of not being able to make it as a musician [that] was putting me on the industry side of things," she explained.

By chance, she was approached to be part of an all-female electronic project, LEX (later known as LJ Laboratory), despite not knowing the first thing about making electronic music. "I did not even know what a synthesizer was or how to turn it on," she admitted. In true Tits First fashion, she would spend the next three years familiarizing herself with DAW systems, ProTools, Abelton, and sound design, which helped bring her to her present-day production prowess.

During that time a friend invited her out to catch house legend Tornado Wallace. Entirely unaware of the inner workings of electronic music, the experience blew her away almost instantaneously. She recounted, "I was like, 'Is there a piano up there? Where's all the music coming from? Like how is there one guy playing all this music?'" For the reminder of the set her friend would proceed to break down everything that Wallace was accomplishing on his own on stage, going so far as to pounding on her shoulder during the 2/4 time signatures.

Beyond being impressed by Tornado Wallace's technical ability, LP was wholly captivated by the sophisticated yet simple nature of house music. "What was so interesting about it was that I had spent the last 4 years in college intellectualizing music," she recalled. "When I was at this club listening to this music it was all about the body. It was like meditative almost. It was the first time in a long time that I had a connection with music on a non-intellectual level."

After that encounter she knew that was the kind of music experience that she wanted to curate for her listeners. She explained, "I wanted to understand it. I wanted to know how to make people tick with it. That's what I wanted to be a part of."

LP admits that her "inner music major" can get in the way as she works on new music: she occasionally struggles with over-intellectualizing. "[In college] it was like 'Let me show off and show you how much I can say really quickly'" she said. After graduating college, however, she was challenged by some sage advice from a songwriting partner. "The very first thing she did," she recalls, "was rip up all my music and said, 'I don't wanna hear how many things you can say, I wanna know WHAT you're saying.'

It's something she still battles with in present day. She detailed,

"The note that I get back from Tucker [Halpern (Sofi Tukker)] every time I send him a track that I think is ready to be released, is 'DO LESS'. 'Take things out'. 'Say more by saying less'. My motto in life is 'More is more' so that's been really challenging for me, *laughs* but ultimately it has benefited [me], I think, for like focusing in on what I'm trying to say. It's been a really good challenge for me."

When she's able to achieve the perfect balance of doing less and saying more, the result has been nothing short of deeply impactful. An easy example of this is her debut single, "Amber Rose", which features Hermixalot reciting lines from a poem she wrote 10 years ago about then-girlfriend of rapper Kanye West and present day feminist icon, Amber Rose. When she's not making songs about women reclaiming their agency you can find her making more clever club-filling music. In "These Are Your Children" she pays homage to the history of New York City nightlife by sampling former club kid king Michael Alig’s 1990 interview from the Geraldo Rivera show. Her latest single, "Kupsa Kupsa" features a collaboration with French rapper H3RY LÜCK and is a playful song entirely in French about how making music is akin to cooking and is simply a blend of all the best ingredients.

One of the most admirable things about LP is that despite being involved in the electronic music scene for a somewhat short amount of time that she's already making a point to pour her heart into the community that helped her connect to music on an emotional level. She specifically makes it a point to leverage her white privilege and opportunities to provide a platform for other women, specifically women of color, in addition to the LGBTQ+ community.

Earlier this month, she partnered with Live Nation and launched the first of a series of events in San Francisco at their new August Hall venue under the name FEMMEHOUSE. The events give women the opportunities to take DJing and sound design classes prior to a series of performances of which there will be a few spots kept open for the women to practice the skills they've learned. "I think our whole goal in all of this is to be gatekeepers where, you know, the gatekeepers have normally been white men, she explained, "We wanna give them a stage and we wanna give them a voice and we wanna give them tools to use those things."

For LP, teaching women music production is a way to empower women in music, specifically vocalists, who are often at the mercy of their male producers."I feel very passionately about having women control that narrative and having them control their own voices," she says, "Or at least be able to speak the language when they do get into the room with a producer. That to me is what FEMMEHOUSE is all about."

 LP Giobbi at the inaugural FEMMEHOUSE event on November 1st at August Hall in San Francisco, CA. photo credit:  FEMMEHOUSE instagram

LP Giobbi at the inaugural FEMMEHOUSE event on November 1st at August Hall in San Francisco, CA. photo credit: FEMMEHOUSE instagram

I feel very passionately about having women control that narrative and having them control their own voices, or at least be able to speak the language when they do get into the room with a producer. That to me is what FEMMEHOUSE is all about.
— LP Giobbi

In addition to FEMMEHOUSE, LP is also responsible for being the driving force behind the Santa Barbara Girls Rock camp being able to expand their course offerings to also have a music production class. Upon leveraging a recently made relationship with Native Instruments, she pressed the company to donate the necessary gear, and then even taught at the inaugural music production camp. "We taught [10 year old girls] how to make a song in Abelton," she gushed, "They used a bunch of like the Native Instruments keyboards and DJ controllers and it was SO FUN." The experience actually ended up inspiring to flesh out her then-initial stage idea for FEMMEHOUSE.

It is no surprise given how excited she was while we talked about her experience at the Santa Barbara Girls Rock camp that she has found a happy home within the artist collective Animal Talk, born from Sofi Tukker members Sofi Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern. According to LP, "Animal Talk is more than a language *laughs* Animal Talk is the best place on earth in my humble opinion."

Born around the idea of tapping into your child or animal, she explained the importance of being a member of the collective,

"Sofi [Hawley-Weld] always talks about how as an adult you go and meet with one of your friends, you sit down and have a beer, and you're like, 'This is what I'm doing with my life', you catch up, and that's it. But as children, we would play. We would build sandcastles. We would play dress up. We would play make believe. We would create things together. That was such a natural state of being and in adulthood that gets killed, so we wanted to make Animal Talk a place, like a physical/spiritual place. Physical in the parties and spiritual, you know, offline. In that reminding people that we can still play, we can still create, we can still be children. A place where they can free themselves and where they can tap into their inner child or inner animal and, you know, remember what it's like to play and to create. I think that that is the key to joy in life."

This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarify.

[SONG OF THE DAY] Sakima - "Apps"
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Yooooo London’s Sakima is out here raging against the hookup culture machine and I am HERE THE FUCK FOR IT, Y’ALL. His latest single, “Apps”, from his forthcoming debut full length, Project Peach, speaks to the overall disillusionment from the current state of modern dating. Although he’s speaking to Grindr related careless hookup culture, yer girl knows first hand what it’s like to come back from a bathroom break on a date and see a dude swiping away on Tinder to kill time. App dating is garrrbbbbaaaaaggggeee fam please for the love of everything in your being just go meet people at shows ffs.

As Sakima told Highsnobiety about the inspiration behind “Apps”,

“I was dating someone in particular and it was going really well but by the end of it, it transpired that even though this guy really liked me he just wasn’t ready to give one person his attention. Not because he wanted to sleep around or anything like that, but because there’s just so many endless opportunities to meet someone new 24/7, how can I compete with that? I’m the kind of person where if I like someone I get rid of all the hook up and dating apps on my phone and give whoever it may be my full attention to see where things go, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for the same in return. So through the frustration and psychological stress that comes with feeling like you’re not good enough to compete with an entire world of new possibilities through an app, I sort of found this inner voice in me that was much stronger and self-knowing than before all this dating apps shit that’s ruining potentially meaningful relationships.”

“Apps” is a departure for Sakima, who typically relies on his angelic voice to be the central focus for his songs. Instead, he enlisted the production stylings of Robokid, who also contributed a verse on the song about dudes being “glued to [their] phone looking to get [their] dick sucked.”I especially appreciated Sakima’s jab at the end of the song about people being too disillusioned to vote. Impeccable timing considering we’re a week out from Election Day here in the US.

Suffice it to say if I didn’t already hardcore stan for Sakima I sure as shit do now.

[SONG OF THE DAY] Saro - "Please"
 photo credit: Josh Nixon

photo credit: Josh Nixon

Proceed with caution as LA based queer musician Saro (pronounced “sorrow”) has a voice that can completely wreck you if you’re not prepared for it. Ever since my first taste of his 2017 EP Boy Afraid, his songs have firmly cemented themselves in my heart and I’ve been eager to hear what he would share with us next.

Yesterday he unveiled his latest single, “Please”, which upon first listen can be interpreted as a song about a lover, but as he explained in an interview with PAPER,

"'Please' is a reflection of my search for something lasting in this increasingly disposable world.The past few years, I've kept a distance between myself and any sort of permanence, caught in a revolving door of temporary homes and temporary people. Temporary has become my constant— the only stability in my life has been music. Now, I find myself reckoning with my growing desire for stability and my willingness to exchange volatility for something more concrete. I wrote this song about longing for something lasting, all the while knowing that nothing is forever."

If you happen to be fortunate enough to be in Los Angeles, you can catch him live next month on November 19th at School Night.

[SKOA PREMIERE] + [SONG OF THE DAY] Niki Black - "Not Coming Up"
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IT’S FRIDAY, WITCHES!

Just in time for a weekend that will be undoubtedly be full of Halloween parties I have a song from LA siren Niki Black that is nothing short of supernatural. “Not Coming Up”, the debut single from her forthcoming EP, wastes no time in allowing you to get to know Black, who studied feminist theology in college, as she cries out, “don’t forgive me father”, which I assume is derivative from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Whereas Christ was crying out for God to forgive those crucifying him for sinning against God, Black does not wish to seek for forgiveness, as the song is ultimately an arresting ode to her first queer relationship, which as we know, one does not need to seek any forgiveness for. “I felt the church to be central to the song’s idea of being denied entrance to heaven because of your sexuality,” explains Niki. Spoiler alert / non shocker here: Black is also tremendously involved in women’s rights and LGBT initiatives.

Her forthcoming EP, which is slated for an early 2019 release, offers up Black’s perspective on femme sexuality through her feminist theological lens. “I was enchanted by old Judaism, namely the mythology of the female demon Lilith, and how she mirrors Eve,” shares Niki. “The thousands of years of interpretations of the myths of the religious texts are goldmines in the way that they illuminate my creativity and thoughts, and also how they inform so many of our modern generation's conscience, especially when it comes to sexual politics.”

To a certain extent, the EP is like Dante's Divine Comedy, describing the journey from heaven to oblivion, or hell. “I wanted to retell that descent from a modern feminine perspective, one of the damned, which some of us may feel like sometimes, or all the time....whether it's from religion directly, from a relationship, or from yourself,” shares Niki.

Before today I didn’t have a playlist called “Songs To Sin To”, but here we are…

Have a safe weekend, fam! Happy sinning ;)

[TODAY IN MUSIC] 5 Things You Should Know On Monday, September 17th, 2018
 MRW I saw the news about Australia’s first female-focussed and LGBTIQ+ inclusive booking agency

MRW I saw the news about Australia’s first female-focussed and LGBTIQ+ inclusive booking agency

Hi so I’m going to try a thing. I do my best to keep up with relevant things happening in and thought a recap of the things that stand out the most to me might be mutually beneficial. If you want to chat in the comments (or on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram) about any of these I’m all ears! 😎

  • TL;DR: Ad Rock and Mike D did NOT give Eminem permission for the Kamikaze artwork. In fact, a lot of us knew about the artwork before they did. [Exclaim!]

  • Dua Lipa’s body guards from her Shanghai show were detained by police after reports of them dragging out fans waving rainbow fans and beating members of the audience. 🤬 [NME]

  • If you have a never ending love/hate relationship with AutoTune, you might find this very thorough history of how it revolutionized popular music interesting. [Pitchfork]

  • ICYMI: we’re still trying to get the very forward thinking legislation known as the Music Modernization Act passed in the US. Neil Diamond took to the LA Times to detail how our current outdated laws negatively effect legacy acts' ability to earn performance royalties on digital/satellite radio. [LATimes]

  • AMAZING news from down under: Australian booking agent Kailei Ginman has launched Australia’s first female-focussed and LGBTIQ+ inclusive booking agency – an all-female roster, run by female agents, employing all-female freelancers and supporting community charities – aptly named Alpha. [The Music Network]

[SONG OF THE DAY] SAKIMA - "Holy Water"
 photo credit: Anna Partington

photo credit: Anna Partington

Our first taste of SAKIMA’s upcoming full length, Project Peach, dropped yesterday, which means your Saturday is about to get hella sexy. In true SAKIMA fashion, “Holy Water” is a come-to-Jesus (heh) moment between lovers. It’s a beautiful moment of vulnerability all the while maintaining a sense of self-worth. You can’t be more up front with someone than saying, “So if you make me love you like I think you are then boy, I’m fucking sacred, better treat me like I’m holy water”. Even though I’m of the opinion that SAKIMA could sing the phonebook and I’d be on board with it, if this level of intimacy is what we’ll be getting for this upcoming album, it’s going to be just peachy.  🍑

[SONG OF THE DAY] SAKIMA - "Show Me"
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HAPPY PRIDE EVERYONE!!!!! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🌈👨‍❤️‍👨👩‍❤️‍👩

Yesterday, Billboard premiered London crooner SAKIMA's  latest soft and ultra sensual single, "Show Me", which is all about communicating sexually with your body. 

Upon playing this track a good, oh I dunno, 20 times this morning, I had this nice moment of reflection of how beautiful it is that as more voices are being lifted up in music that we are getting so many different new ways to hear about expressing love, passion, lust, romance, etc. With his last few releases, SAKIMA has been boldly tackling the queer romance and queer sex from his perspective, all the while, as he told Billboard continually battling with feeling fully sexually liberated in the process. The thing that will always keep me coming back to SAKIMA is his hypnotically soothing voice, which sometimes puts you in a sexy stupor and in other moments (such as "Show Me") there's such a tenderness to his delivery that it evokes memories of being young, wanting to fall in love, make love, etc. 

The lovely London lad is currently working on a new project, which he's still determining the full scope of but is calling "Project Peach" and "it's going to be a complete celebration of queer art, queer iconography, queer stories, all of it." Obviously if there's no full scope of the project yet there's no release date to relay, but more updates on that as it reveals itself. 

[SONG OF THE DAY] Fischerspooner (feat. Caroline Polachek) - "Togetherness"
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When last we met, Fischerspooner was reportedly dropping SIR on September 22nd. It would appear that they felt like they needed more time to roll this record out, unfortunately. That said, if the rest of the record continues to be as uncontrollably hot as "Have Fun Tonight" and today's song of the day, "Togetherness", then obviously it's going to be worth waiting until February 16th now. 

If you haven't seen the video yet and are into perfectly sculpted bodies then it is an absolutely must see. Also really into Caroline Polachek's addition to the track. Very nice touch. 

NYC fam PLEASE go to Brooklyn Steel tonight because I ran off on tour and cannot. I am trying not to punch myself in the face for missing their first NYC show in like 10 fucking years. Go go go. Please go. Oh my god please go.