Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson, left, with Discwoman co-founders Emma Burgess-Olson and Christine McCharen-Tran. Courtesy Tyler Jones Photography.
One of San Francisco’s most popular and long running clubs, 1015 Folsom, surrendered to an East Coast takeover hosted by Discwoman in honor of Pride Month. This was truly a tale of two cities. The exclusive lineup featured Bearcat (Philadelphia), who will also be performing at NYC’s Panorama Music festival hosted by Goldenvoice); Shyboi (NYC); DJ Haram (NYC); Umfang (NYC); and many others. including a Bay Area local collective Club Chai (SF/East Bay). The event was rare, jaw dropping, empowering, and deep.
In 2014, going against the grain, Discwoman, took off as a record label solely featuring cis-female, trans, and genderqueer artists. Given how uncommon it is to find a record label that specifically showcase EDM femme artists, their work over the last four years has felt extremely important. The collective itself has curated over 250 artists and continues to perform in cities across the globe. Discwoman truly defines the turn of the male-dominated music industry by giving a voice and creative outlet for underrepresented femme, queer, artists. Behind the magic of it all, we find Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson, co-founder of Discwoman. Just in after a flight from NYC, I had an opportunity to share a quick conversation about Discwoman (past, present, and future), her astrological sign, mental health and awareness, and touch on advice for femme artists in the music industry.
AF: First things first. What’s your astrological sign?
Frankie: I am a Gemini. Why are you laughing? Why do I always get the craziest responses?
AF: Three out of the four interviews we’ve had have been with Geminis. I love them. There’s nothing quite like Discwoman out there. How did Discwoman start, what made you want to start it, and what was the process like?
FDC: We basically started in 2014, in response to seeing a lot of women artists who were producing music and really talented, but weren’t being put on for many events. So, we made our own events. From there, we started to think about what could be a more sustainable way to help women and more non-binary artists in our own community. Well, we were like, they need more representation. We figured that artists probably get taken advantage of in the industry. We felt like we could be negotiators for those people. Basically, that’s what made us want to start that agency.
AF: I think that’s really amazing and very inspirational, as someone who is an aspiring artist who feels like they don’t have a place or voice in an industry mostly ran by men. What advice do you have for aspiring femme DJs and/or music artists, or people who want to get involved in the industry?
FDC: Word. I would say, don’t compete. Try and focus on yourself. People are always going to look like they’re doing cooler shit than you. It’s really just a big distraction and I see that a lot. I know we all experience jealousy and these kinds of feelings. You know what I mean? But I think it would be very good to tailor those feelings and put them into what you want to produce. And make sure you are focusing on what you want to produce and what you want to do, not what everyone else is trying to do. And don’t compare yourself to other people. I often see that very talented artists have setbacks which is themselves. I think if I could encourage one thing, it is to continue to keep putting out because even if one person won’t like it, other people will. It is so subjective. There are even people who are going to be mad about it. There are people who even put shit out there and good stuff out there. People who are making loads of money and nothing.
AF: What are your plans for this summer?
FDC: We have a bunch of stuff going on in Europe actually. A bunch of artists are actually touring in Berlin, Amsterdam, London. We’re trying to go to Asia. It really depends on funding. It’s always about the money.
AF: Last question, how do you find peace of mind?
FDC: Wow, that’s a really important question actually. I feel like people don’t ask enough questions about other people’s mental health. Especially in the industry. It can be really damaging to people, pretty isolating. I’ve definitely had my moments. I used to suffer from really bad anxiety. Boxing has really helped me a lot. I started boxing last August. I do it three times a week. It’s like meditation – punching a bag. It’s been really, really helpful. I strongly suggest exercise. Not even for superficial reasons. I think it’s just a good tool to being mentally healthy. It really changes your mental well-being. What often happens to me, is that I become very isolated and close myself from the world. Then, I go outside experience the world and wallow, then you connect, then I’m like fine.
You can follow Discwoman on Facebook and check out the lastest Discwoman mix (by Bearcat) below.