1. For those readers who have not seen or heard of your collective yet, can you describe it in 5 words?
2. Can you tell us about what brought you together, your mission, and the purpose that drives you today?
Why is this cause important?
I founded Psy-Sisters global arts collective in 2012 with a small group of fellow psy-trance female DJs. At the time, there were very few female DJs and music producers in our scene. I had the idea to host a psy-trance event with an all female DJ line up. From this event, a platform and network was established.
Our mission has always been to promote and support female artists. Since our inception, we have featured hundreds of female artists on our platform, held two successful all female DJ line up events in London, interviewed top female DJ Lisa Lashes at Brighton Music Conference in 2014, and we were featured in Thump by Discwoman founder, Frankie DeCaiza Hutchinson.
Psy-Sisters are celebrating our 7 year anniversary this year. We are now a multi-genre record label, releasing music from female artists around the globe and ‘under the radar’ music producers. Our focus has also shifted to supporting organisations who help disadvantaged women. We want to do more to support women who don’t have opportunities to explore music careers.
3. What is a challenge you've had to overcome so far as a collective? What has been the response of the London community?
At the beginning of our journey, we received a mix response from the psy-trance community. We had a huge number of supporters, but we also received some backlash about what we stood for and were trying to achieve with our platform. I think some people misunderstood our objective to boost and support female artists and possibly felt threatened by our work. I hope today, those people understand that our work has only had a positive impact on our scene. It’s fantastic to see more female artists on line ups and embracing careers in music tech.
4. If you could pick anybody to collaborate with, who would you choose and why? Are there any other collectives who inspire you?
We recently partnered with refugee charity Play For Progress for an event we hosted to raise the profile of their work. The charity supports young refugees through music and arts workshops. I ran a music production workshop for their girls group. It is our aim to continue to support organisations like Play For Progress and develop more initiatives to promote their work and collaborate.
In terms of collectives, we are inspired by the work all the collectives do and are thrilled to now be partnering with Wxmb2.
5. Looking back, can you tell us about one of your collective’s favourite projects to date? And looking forward, what is something you are currently working on that you are excited to share with the world, and where we can find you over the summer?
I would say that our DJ events and interviewing Lisa Lashes have definitely been some our most memorable projects, and setting up our record label Psy-Sisters Music. We have also collaborated with music tech giant Native Instruments, running female led user insight workshops at their successful Native Meetup events held at Point Blank Music School in London.
We have more exciting music releases scheduled on our label and are planning to host more music events.
And some Industry insight…
6. What is your favourite aspect of the music industry and why? Conversely, if you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Collaboration is one of my favourite aspects and finding like-minded people to collaborate with. You learn and gain so much from collaboration, whether it’s producing music or collaborating on large projects such as hosting events.
If I could change one thing, it would be ensuring artists are given more financial support to fulfill their careers.
7. A 2018 YouGov survey reported that girls are much more likely than boys to say they enjoy studying music (48 per cent against 34 per cent). Yet, in 2013, Creative & Cultural Skills reported that the divide across all music industry related jobs is 67.8% male to 32.2% female. Why do you think this is happening?
I think women are now starting to feel more confident to embrace music technology. A lot of good work has been done by collectives over the years to make music production workshops more accessible and appealing to women. There has been a big increase in the number of female music producers, especially in the psy-trance scene. I think the ratio will even out more over time, as we see more women take up careers in sound engineering and production.
8. Among the 75 female songwriters and producers interviewed by the University of Southern California in 2019, over 40% admitted their colleagues dismissed or discounted their work or skills and 39% have experienced stereotyping and sexualization. Have you ever had a negative experience in the music industry specifically because of your gender? Alternately, has it ever been an advantage that has worked in your favour?
I have personally never experienced any stereotyping about being female. I work exceptionally hard at developing my skills. I always want to deliver my absolute best, whether in the studio or performing at gigs. For me, it’s actually not about being a female artist, but being respected for who I am, my music and being professional.
9. A 2019 study (University of Southern California) examining the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 2012-2018 found that women only made up 21.7 percent of artists, 12.3 percent of songwriters and 2.1 percent of producers. Some advocates have promoted gender quotes as a means of placing external pressure on promoters to book more female artists and to ensure more inclusive programming. Do you agree with this? What more could be done to reduce sexism and create more balance in the industry?
Women don’t need to prove themselves because they are women. Hone your skills, work hard and show the world your talent and artistry. It’s far more gratifying to be booked by promoters on these merits, as opposed to being booked because you are a woman. Promoters headhunt talent. Show them what you’ve got!
10. Any parting words of wisdom for folx out there looking to pursue careers in the music industry?
My advice to any artist is to understand the music business. We are now in a time where independent artists have the opportunities to really excel themselves thanks to social media and digital platforms. Learn about the business side of the industry, because this is vital to your success and always persevere.
Come meet Rena Psibindi, founder of Psy-Sisters, in person at our Femme Summer Fête taking place at Grow, Hackney (E9 5LN) on Friday 30th August, 6pm-2am!