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HomeMusicOnly Two Percent of Charting Producers Are Non-Male — LP Giobbi’s Femme...

Only Two Percent of Charting Producers Are Non-Male — LP Giobbi’s Femme House Tour Aims to Change That

In 2018, LP Giobbi was on tour with SOFI TUKKER, chatting with them about struggling to define her sound. “Why do you keep trying to put yourself in a box?” she recalls the duo asking her. “Why do you keep trying to force yourself to just make one kind of sound? What if what you care about is uplifting the female voice? What if your genre was just femme house?”

It was a pivotal moment that gave the artist, born Leah Chisholm in Oregon, a vision to move forward.

“Talk about hitting the lottery! That freed me to be an actual artist in a way that I don’t know if I ever could have done for myself. The power of community is so real,” LP tells Billboard via Zoom from her place in Austin, Texas, surrounded by music gear and wearing a colorful sweatshirt. ”As far as the sound, it started as, ‘Does this make me feel good? Is this positive music on the dance floor? Does this uplift the feminine voice?’”

Thus the inclusive, uplifting and ever-evolving genre of Femme House was born. LP was ready to foster it, and by doing so, bring more women and gender-expansive people into dance music. Starting today (February 25), aspiring creators across the country can get involved in-person.

Through LP Giobbi’s Femme House Takeover Tour, she and her team are bringing classes to 12 cities across the U.S., the first time they’ve done it in-person lessons outside of L.A. The trek kicks off today in Philadelphia and wraps on April 9 in Denver, with classes during the day and club shows featuring an all-female and gender-expansive lineup at night.

“Your support of this tour isn’t just a concert ticket,” LP says, “it’s a way for you to create the change we all want to see.”

Intro to Ableton, one of Femme House’s signature programs, will be taught during the day by female Ableton-certified trainers, along with LP and synth pop artist and Femme House Chief Education Officer Mini Bear. (Participants need to provide their own laptop and headphones. Those without Ableton can access a free 90 day trial,)

In the evening, the festivities move to the club, with shows headlined by LP and supported by rising U.K. DJ/producer BKLAVA (one of Billboard‘s 2022 Dance Artists to Watch) and local artists from each city, with priority given to artists of color. Coco & Breezy will play in Brooklyn, Nala in L.A., with more announced closer to the show dates. Over half of the cities’ workshops have already sold out.

“It’s hard to be what you can’t see. So, having full electronic lineups that are all women-led or gender-expansive-led, that’s also one of the important key missing factors,” says LP. “I played a really wonderful electronic venue in D.C. Afterwards, I was walking through the audience, taking my keyboard out of the club. This girl comes over to me and she’s like, ‘Hey, I just wanted you to know that I’ve been coming to this venue for a decade and I’ve never seen a woman DJ here. Not that I necessarily want to be a female DJ, but just seeing you made me think I can be anything I want to be.’”

Back when LP was a synth player in the band LJ Laboratory in Los Angeles, she experienced a similar feeling herself when she read that Grimes produces her own music. “I went, ‘What else do I not think I can be because of the lack of visual presentation — because I’ve never seen myself in that role, so it didn’t even occur to me?’ And that just made me expand my concept of myself larger. More females and gender-expansive people thinking they can do anything does, I believe, change the world.”

It’s thus no surprise that two key tenants of Femme House are vision are visibility — seeing more diverse faces behind the DJ decks and in the studio — and removing barriers, namely by providing tools to support those who have generally been excluded or overlooked for such roles. (In a press relase for the tour, LP cites a statistic that only about two percent of charting producers are non-male.)

LP and artist management consultant Lauren A. Spalding thus founded the Femme House nonprofit in 2019, focusing on giving women and gender-expansive people educational resources to DJ, produce and step into the technical side of music making.

Femme House launched at MoogFest 2019, with a conversation about the root of inequality in electronic music, and shortly after began offering free in-person classes in Los Angeles on production, DJing, songwriting and more. The pandemic led them to adapt classes and offer them online, allowing them to expand their community worldwide, with over 3,600 people taking their online courses so far.

Femme House also offers a scholarship for BIPOC creators, providing four artists per year with one-on-one mentorship and free gear. In 2021, they also launched the free four-week virtual bootcamp She Is The Producer in partnership with Alicia Keys‘ and Ann Mincielli’s She Is The Music and Emily Lazar’s We Are Moving The Needle, with support from Ableton, who offered free software licenses to every participant. In less than 24 hours, they received over 3,000 sign ups from over 1,400 cities in 77 countries worldwide.

In addition to Spalding and Mini Bear, the small but mighty Femme House team consists of Brand Marketing Manager Sofia LeBlanc, and Tory Pittarelli and Hilary Gleason, consultants from the philanthropic consulting firm Level. A central tenant the team always considers is “How are we lifting as we’re climbing?”

When asked how the feminist lens impacts her decision-making, LP says she sees her collaborations as a platform for women, especially women of color, and gender-expansive people. 2021 single “Say A Little Prayer” features Black non-binary artist Amazonian Rockstar and “Carry Us” (one of Billboard‘s best dance songs of 2021) features Black queer artist Kaleena Zanders. For LP, who had a breakout year in 2021, the primary question is: “How am I opening the door behind me?” Part of the answer is found in suggesting other female and gender-expansive artists when she gets booked and consulting with fests on their lineups.

“If you’re in a position of power, whether that’s the booker or the promoter, the label, the publisher, [it’s important] to be really aware of what your rosters look like,” LP says. “What are you representing? There’s this really weird thing where it’s easy to get booked for a festival if you’ve been booked for a festival [before]. What a silly conundrum. That is because the festival bookers will look at other festival lineups and see who’s on them, which sort of says how big they are. So, if you’re not already being booked, how do you get on there? It’s the role of the gatekeeper to be aware of that.

“Let’s be honest,” she adds, “the headliners are the ones selling tickets, and maybe the second billing on a festival poster… So that means that most festivals have 50 slots available to really diversify.”

LP shares a framework experimental artist Madame Gandhi often talks about: “be the change” feminism versus “activist feminism,” and how both are necessary. LP points out to how DJ Tennis’ beloved Rakastella party at Art Basel in Miami has a 50-50 gender split among its performers — even though Tennis never advertises that — as an example of “be the change” feminism. The Femme House tour is “activist feminism,” as they explicitly advertise their all-female and gender-expansive lineup and offer classes to directly address inequality in music production. LP underscores that male feminists (like DJ Tennis) are crucial, and that she’s always had great experiences working with male producers, as well as labels and brands that are supportive of her and Femme House.

Insomniac, the producer of EDC Las Vegas and many other large-scale global dance events, is one such brand. Next month, a compilation featuring Femme House alumni and new acts is dropping on Insomniac Records, with a second volume to follow. Many of the compilation artists are set to perform at May’s EDC Las Vegas during the Femme House art car takeover. Both projects create the essential element of visibility, notably in front of the massive and largely young Insomniac fanbase, hopefully inspiring more young women and gender expansive people to get behind the decks.

As for her own releases, LP has been busy with a string of hot remixes. One of her most recent was an edit of Ben Kim’s dancefloor rendition of Jefferson Airplane‘s “Somebody to Love,” for Gorgon City‘s REALM imprint. Adding her euphoric piano house touch to the psych-rock classic was an especially fun one for her, as she was raised by Deadheads — so music by Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and other jam bands was her family’s church. For her (and her dad), ravers are the modern hippies: She says, when she took him to his first rave, Snowglobe Festival in South Lake Tahoe, “He [was like], ‘Oh, I get it! If I was born now, I’d be a raver instead of a hippy.’”

She adds, “The PLUR community is the same ethos [as the Deadheads] — we’re all part of something greater than ourselves. The dance floor, unity, love, it’s all there. That’s literally what raised me, so getting to find that with my own generation has been cool.”

Find more info on the FEMME HOUSE TAKEOVER here. All workshops are donation-based, with money collected helping fund additional programming.

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