Four/Four Presents Take Digital Music & Dance Collaborations to Open Air For In-Person Summer Series

Photo Credit: Mark Mann

The past year has added deeper dimension to that old adage about making lemonade. In other words, life has thrown a lot of lemons our way since last March, for better or for worse, and what to do with them is up to you. Such was the case with Rachael Pazdan and Loni Landon of Four/Four Presents, a new NYC-based curator platform that seeks to bridge the gap between the live music and high-art dance communities through linking independent musicians with seasoned dancers to create collaborative performances. What began as a live venture pre-pandemic quickly pivoted to accommodate our new style of living with recorded video performances, and is slowly transitioning to a live performance model that meshes with our new normal.

Their combined experience, long friendship, and well-earned clout in their respective industries intersected to make them the prime candidates to take on such a challenge – in general, live music and dance are both separate, niche communities. Pazdan danced growing up, and though she still considers it a passion, she is best known for her work in NYC’s live music scene. She’s worked as both an in-house talent buyer at venues like LPR and The Bell House and a freelance events presenter in her own right, producing The Hum, a concert series celebrating female and gender-nonconforming artists. Landon is a Juilliard-trained dancer and highly sought-out choreographer, having produced work for The Joyce Theater, the American Dance Institute, and more. Prior to collaborating with Pazdan on Four/Four, she co-founded The Playground, an initiative designed to give emerging choreographers the space to experiment while also allowing professional dancers to participate affordably. In other words, these are two women passionate about entrepreneurship in the arts and celebrating female and otherwise marginalized creators, themes central to Four/Four’s mission.

The name comes from the 4/4 time signature, something utilized by both musicians and dancers, to further emphasize the pair’s shared vision. “We wanted to create a space for dance and music to co-exist in a contemporary, cool way that’s not on like, a Proscenium stage, that’s not at Lincoln Center,” Pazdan explains, add that the end goal here is “making dance way less esoteric and super-accessible in the way music is really accessible. The thing I’ve said a few times is that we want people to watch dance the way they listen to a record.” And while they seek to make dance something less intimidating to outsiders, they also want to introduce dancers to new music, combining these separate audiences into one larger, more supportive arts community. “It’s connected us with so many artists. I’ve learned about so many new musicians and composers and people, and that’s what it is,” Landon adds. “We wanted to connect people and artists, even if it’s online. I think it’s important that we can create new connections and make new art.”

The concept came about nearly four years ago, when Pazdan and Landon collaborated on an LPR-presented performance by Landon’s company at Knockdown Center. They found a space and began plans for the first live Four/Four event in February 2020 – in the final weeks before our lives changed indelibly into what they are now. Once the lockdown hit they realized they needed to adapt in order to bring their vision to life, or to take these unprecedented lemons and make the lemonade, as it were. They ended up with Tethered, a video compilation of recorded dance performances set to curated music, which they presented projected on an outdoor screen at Public Records in Gowanus this summer. “It was kind of serendipitous because Public Records got in touch with Rachael, and they were moving all their content online,” Landon explains. “There were so many amazing artists just sitting around, out of work, including both Rachael and myself, and we were both like ‘Okay! Let’s just do this!’” 

As far as lemons go, the pandemic offered up one unexpected benefit in particular – dancers who would normally be unavailable due to busy touring schedules suddenly found themselves sitting at home, stationary. “So many artists that we were probably never going to be able to get to do stuff were just available, and at home, not doing anything,” Pazdan says. “So we were connecting with artists literally all over the world. We had dancers in Israel, and where else? Spain, Amsterdam, Norway… That was kind of the plus side to the pandemic, that we had access to artists we normally wouldn’t have access to.” And on top of that, they did not have to factor in the exorbitant cost of flying these performers into New York City, a constant albatross hanging around the necks of all independent events producers. 

In other words, their optimism in the face of an otherwise hopeless situation is what ultimately made their project a success. They could have sat watching the news in those first few dire weeks of the pandemic, so soon after they decided to move forward with the project at all, and decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. But they chose to think on their feet, combining the best aspects of high art with a DIY ethos to produce something new and entirely unique. They worked together to assemble choreographers and contributing musicians, gathering the music first and sending it to the dancers with some instructions, then collected all the videos, which Pazdan learned to edit and patch together in light of budgetary limitations. “Being a freelancer I’ve learned how to create my own opportunities. You can’t wait for people,” Landon says. “If you want to create something you just have to do it… It’s not going to be perfect in the beginning but you learn by doing and just putting the energy in, you see that energy come out.”

As the weather warms and vaccination becomes available to all New Yorkers, Pazdan and Landon are already making moves for Four/Four’s sophomore summer. In collaboration with Audiofemme, they are producing a series of outdoor events called Open Air: four live, site-specific performances in New York City from June through September of this year. Utilizing spaces like Greenwood Cemetery and Brooklyn Bridge Park, among others, these events will bring to life – quite literally, as they are live events! – the original shared vision of Pazdan and Landon. They will be free to the public in line with Four/Four’s mission of creating accessible, equitable, and joyful events for everyone. Each performance will begin with a traditional music set, followed by a presentation from the choreographer and dancers, and conclude with the premiere of a new, original collaboration between both.

Ultimately, they want Four/Four to work with music and dance presenters alike, an unprecedented intersection of these communities. As we enter the New Normal of live performance, it would seem there’s no better time to challenge our perceptions of what live entertainment can be. 

Follow Four/Four Presents on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for ongoing updates.

INTERVIEW: The Hum Ends 2018 Series with Breanna Barbara, Katie Von Schleicher, Mickey Vershbow & More

The final show of the 2018 The Hum series will be this Wednesday at Bushwick’s House of Yes, and curator Rachael Pazdan is closing the series out with a bang. Known for its continuously potent female lineup, the closeout not only showcases some of the most promising women in Brooklyn’s music scene, but also includes indie favorites Thao Nguyen of Get Down Stay Down fame and Mirah as the headlining act. Together, they’ll perform songs from their solo catalogs, as well as their beautifully constructed collaborative album from 2001, Thao & Mirah.

As The Hum series comes to a close for the year, AudioFemme took this time to talk to musicians about where they saw the future of female representation in music. Throughout this past month The Hum artists have often mentioned the double-edged sword of highlighting women with a showcase like this. On the one hand, heightened visibility for women in music is still necessary; on the other, a series like The Hum shouldn’t be treated as a novelty, since an all male lineup would never be promoted as such. While The Hum brings a much needed platform for representation, there is a hope among many of the women we’ve talked to that the need for these showcases will be less dire as the music industry becomes more balanced and open in terms of gender, that perhaps finding this balance will usher in a new era of artists presenting something beyond the current binary.

AudioFemme spoke this week with singer/songwriters Breanna Barbara and Katie Von Schleicher, and drummer Mickey Vershbow, about what The Hum brings to the Brooklyn music community, and their dreams for the future of women in music.

Breanna Barbara

AudioFemme: How did you first find out about The Hum, and how did you get involved?

Breanna Barbara: Rachel and I have been in touch for some years now. I used to work at Le Poisson Rouge as a server and I think she started booking there shortly after I left. But it felt like a full circle when she reached out about the Hum.
AF: What musical projects are you currently working on?
BB: Right now I am taking my time, soaking up some life and working on new material for my next record, possibly to record this fall/winter.
AF: Who will you be collaborating with for your performance at The Hum?
BB: We’ve got Alix Brown on the bass, Dida Pelled on lead guitar, Lyla Vander on drums and Lida Fox on the keys. They are all badasses.
AF: What has the collaboration process been like?
BB: It’s been really good so far – every one has their own style and it’s been fun playing each other’s songs.
AF: How does a showcase like The Hum affect your musical process?
BB: It’s definitely been expanding the way I write. I think playing with new people and their music makes you a better musician all around.
AF: How do you see the musical community of Brooklyn affected by The Hum?
BB: There is such a strong community of musicians here in Brooklyn and The Hum really shows that. All of the women I am playing with are bosses, front women, hustlers; it’s really inspiring to be in the same room with them and just hang out. And the Hum has brought us together. That’s really cool to think about.
AF: In the future how do you hope to see women in music represented differently? 

BB: All I can hope for – and not just in music but in general – is for any/all shame or insecurities that society/patriarchy has ingrained in any of us will continue to disintegrate. Because to me there is nothing more powerful than a woman being vulnerable and speaking their truth. And I think what the planet needs more than anything right now is more femininity.

Katie Von Schleicher

AudioFemme: How did you first find out about The Hum, and how did you get involved?

Katie Von Schleicher: I knew Rachael from playing at Manhattan Inn quite a bit while I was just starting out. I was asked to do the Hum a couple of years ago, then, and have followed it since because it was a really incredible experience, doing a one-off set with new collaborators who have since become my good friends.

AF: What musical projects are you currently working on?

KVS: I have my project, Katie Von Schleicher, which takes up most of my time at the moment. I’m in a band called Wilder Maker who have an album out this July. I play in a band called Coffee and just played a few dates in the UK in Sam Evian’s band. I’m also working on producing some things for friends of mine.

AF: Who will you be collaborating with for your performance at The Hum?

KVS: I’ll be playing with Julie Byrne, whose music is so beautiful that I feel a bit intimidated. 

AF: How does a showcase like The Hum affect your musical process?

KVS: I don’t feel immediately comfortable doing something off-the-cuff because I don’t have a history of improvisation, so the Hum takes me out of my shell a bit. It’s a gamble and you don’t know what will happen exactly, and that’s a good thing. It’s one night and a 25 minute set, but it informs so much of my thinking afterward. I’ve also played in mostly male-centric bands. In my experience with The Hum, I’ve found we have to get deeper with one another really fast, trying to get on the level of musical and interpersonal understanding without having years of previous chemistry built in. But my collaborators have been such excellent communicators that I’ve found a real bond with them, and realized how important it is to develop a rapport, even if there isn’t much time. When you do something so brief you rely on instinct, and this process has honed my instincts more, made me feel more confident about intuition, which is invaluable.

AF: How do you see the musical community of Brooklyn affected by The Hum?

KVS: Rachael developed this series at a pretty crucial time, and in the past few years I’ve seen the community here become so much more egalitarian in terms of representation. The Hum has been woven into that, and has probably bolstered it a lot. 

AF: In the future how do you hope to see women in music represented differently? 

KVS: I feel confident that everyone should and will be represented more. It’s already happening but we have much further to go, of course. In, say, rock music, men have a lineage intact, and they grow up knowing they can become a part of that, almost as a rite of passage. I want to see anyone who’s underrepresented grow up feeling that sense of belonging and then taking their place in it, too. It’ll take a generation to set that precedent.

Mickey Vershbow

 Audio Femme: How did you end up getting involved in The Hum?
Mickey Vershbow: I first played The Hum three years ago and I was at the time working for Tom Tom Magazine. Tom Tom got asked to play The Hum and do a percussion piece. So I was in a group of four people who put together a 20 minute percussion piece, that was really fun. Rachael Pazdan mentions this also, and I love it. But I actually ended up meeting my girlfriend Katrina at that show. So The Hum definitely occupies a special place for me. I’m really excited to play it again. Especially with Mirah, who has been one of my favorite singers since I was a teenager.
AF: Will you be playing any new songs with Mirah?
MV: Yeah! I know we are doing new stuff. I don’t know that she specifically wrote them for The Hum or not, but we have been working on new stuff that we want to play at The Hum. This is more just a group of people that don’t play together that much, coming together to play songs from Mirah and Thao’s catalog.
AF: What other projects are you working on right now?
MV: I just finished making a record with a band called Animal Planet. That record just came out on Ba Da Bing. My main full-time gig is with a band called Kat Cunning. That’s definitely my main gig right now, because I also tour manage for that band. I also play with this artist in New York named Miles Francis. There’s a parallel between both him and Kat, because they are real entertainers. They have a concept behind how they want to perform their music and for me as a drummer that’s really fun, because you kind of just sit back and know that everything up front is good.
AF: How does having access to an all-female based showcase like The Hum affect the Brooklyn, music community?
MV: I think it has a tremendously powerful impact on all of us who get to be a part of it. You just end up making connections that change your life. I mean obviously I can say that. But aside from whether it’s on the level of meeting your partner, and your future bandmate, or just meeting so many people that next time you need a guitarist you have a woman you can call. I feel like without people like Rachael, or Mindy at Tom Tom, who are out there creating this network for us to all find each other, it’s really hard, because you just randomly go to shows and you’re like oh cool the bass player is killing it and she’s a girl, and I would love to work with her, but that is so random and chance. Whereas to be able to network in an environment where you know you’re gonna meet women, there’s something empowering about just feeling like we all have this way that we can get connected with each other. So I’m really grateful to Rachael for continuing to do it. Also I’m getting to discover so many amazing musicians who I don’t think I would have discovered otherwise. Especially because women just don’t get the coverage in other outlets that men more easily do. I don’t necessarily want to make that statement, but I think it’s obviously kind of a thing that happens. So it feels like The Hum creates a platform for us to get more visibility to each other and to new audiences.
The Hum to me is really one of the best things happening in New York right now. It’s so community oriented. It has such a clear concept that benefits a community of musicians, that can do amazing things together. Especially as someone who very often forgets why I live in NY, when I get to play The Hum, I think, “Oh yeah, this happens here.”

INTERVIEW: Latasha & Shasta Geaux Pop Bring Hip-Hop to The Hum This Week


The Hum Series’ House of Yes takeover continues this Wednesday, when Brooklyn music lovers will get to see some of the best female-identified performers in the local hip-hop scene, expanding the typically rock and electronic music oriented curation to a whole different genre. This is the second-to-last performance of the series, which has so far seen the likes of Jessica Lea MayfieldBunny Michael, Xhosa, L’Rain, Lou Tides, and many more. This week’s hip-hop oriented bill features Oshun, SassyBlack, Latasha, Lawlyse, and Shasta Geaux Pop.

Headliners Oshun, a hip-hop, soul duo originally hailing from Washington D.C. and now living in New York, spoke with Nylon Magazine about The Hum. The two said that “being a part of The Hum Series is an opportunity for us to show solidarity to creatives across the spectrum. It’s us saying we support art and all the beautiful souls that create it.” Singer-songwriter-producer SassyBlack, echoes that sentiment in the same piece, telling Nylon, “It is important to have showcases, festivals, and events that focus on the greatness of women, female-identifying, and non-binary artists. Our stories are important and need to be heard as often as possible.”

In the last few weeks we have spoken with a number of The Hum artists, who mirror the reflections of Oshun and SassyBlack. The appreciation for this series and its dedication to women in music is a constant statement these musicians have to share. This week, we talked to rapper Latasha and and performance artist and singer Ayesha Jordan, a.k.a. Sasha Geaux Pop, about what they’re looking forward to in this week’s performance.



Latasha defines herself as an artist who “finds resonance in speaking on spiritual, social and cultural experiences in her music, promoting a much needed agenda for those looking to find inner peace, specifically young women of color.” As someone who was part of the first iteration of The Hum, she speaks to the changes it has made, and how the stage as become more welcoming to a wider mix of genres.

AudioFemme: What was your first introduction to The Hum?

Latasha: I actually did The Hum show two or three years ago, when [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][curator] Rachael [Pazdan] first started The Hum. I think I was one of the first artists to actually get on her bill. Rachael and I have been good friends ever since, so I’m here again ready to throw it down for her on the show.

AF: What’s been your experience watching The Hum grow?

L: I’ve been to one other one and I’m really just proud of how Rachael is taking up a lot of different, beautiful artists to be a part of it. When she first started it was really oriented to bands and more electronic, and it wasn’t really a hip-hop scene. I feel like she’s starting to open up to that world, and I’m really excited about that.

AF: Will you be performing any new pieces made for this residency?

L: Yeah. Me and my DJ [Lawlyse] do a cool little freestyle moment every show, where she just starts a beat and I start rapping. So we’ll probably do something like that for this show.

AF: How do you think the hip-hop community benefits from The Hum?

L: I think it’s an amazing experience for hip-hop, just because I personally find out about so many other artists who are in the city that I would have never known about. Especially women artists – in hip-hop of course it’s very male dominated – so we don’t always get to hear about the other amazing women who are out there. Or we do, but we don’t get the chance to work with each other or on the same stages. So this is really a great opportunity for that to happen. I’m also a big fan of Oshun, who is the headliner of this bill. I’m really excited to see what that is going to be like for the audience, to see diverse women taking over the stages, and I think for hip-hop it’s just about time to have all of us be sharing stages.

AF: What kind of effect does a showcase like The Hum have on your music?

L: For me it’s just really inspiring to be surrounded by so many amazing talents. I remember the first time I did The Hum. I performed alongside a few other artists who are in the electronic world, and also in country. It was just really interesting to have me, a rapper, and then someone doing electronic music, and someone doing country music and all in one space. For my ear it was just really important for me to hear how that could work together in a show.

AF: You experiment with some visual elements in your music and shows; can you talk a little about that?

L: I have a performance art piece that I’ve been touring with called “Olive Dream.” It’s pretty much a multi-media performance piece that has documentary with visual installations of the parts of New York City that I grew up in. It includes dance and rap and poetry and monologue, all mixed together to create this world of my understanding. I’ve been doing that and it’s really exciting. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do that for The Hum show, but I’m definitely gonna give you guys a little piece of that for the show.

Shasta Geaux Pop

Shasta Geaux Pop is the alter-ego of performance artist Ayesha Jordan, who created her over-the-top persona as a way to score acting gigs while living in Atlanta, developing the project further in collaboration with director Charlotte Brathwaite after moving to New York. Partly inspired by the drunken antics of early-aughties It Girls like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, Shasta Geaux Pop is known for her energetic satire which pulls inspiration from classic ’80s ’90s hip-hop. This is her first appearance at The Hum.

AudioFemme: Your work is both musical and theatrical. Can you talk a little about the performance aspect of what you do?

Shasta Geaux Pop: It’s an hour long performance event and it’s highly interactive. It’s kind of like going to a basement get down party with music. There are songs about food, about Kegels, and being drunk and famous. It’s just a ruckus hour of laughter. We sneak a couple surprises in there that kind of catch people off guard. So that’s the theater piece.

AF: Are you going to incorporate your theater pieces into the show on Wednesday?

SGP: A couple of little things. I’m gonna throw some sneaky bits in there. I think we are gonna add in a couple teasers so people can get an idea of what we do outside of just music. It’s not just songs; it’s very much audience engagement and trying to activate people in a way that they are not often activated at a show. It’s not like “stand there listen and enjoy;” it’s a little deeper than that.

AF: Having support from other female artists, and having a space created where that’s possible, how does that differentiate from other experiences that you’ve had performing?

SGP: Well for one, it gives me an opportunity to meet and engage with performers I’ve never met or engaged with before. But also the stuff that I have done in the past has been a combination of hosting and performing. I haven’t done a lot of concert-style performances, because most of the people who are familiar with me have seen the theater piece. They’ll ask me to do a snippet of something for an event. So it’s less focused on women – it’s more just about whatever that event is, or specific to that event. I think a lot of the messages I have in a lot of the songs are directly related to women and our experiences, in a lot of ways. So there’s that aspect of it. It’s bringing people together for a specific purpose, and not just a general evening. It’s nice to have something with an intention.

AF: How do you think that these kinds of nights impact the larger music community in New York?

SGP:  It brings together an audience that is just overall more welcoming, because they are coming in with a certain kind of expectation. They know they are coming to see female artists perform, so there’s already an automatic level of support.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

INTERVIEW: The Third Week of The Hum with Bunny Michael, Xhosa

The music industry has been created around the aesthetic, ideals, and myths of a group of gatekeepers who don’t always allow access for the artists whose views are breaking the mold. Hypnocraft Presents is opening a new archetype of gatekeeper, developing a platform for the obscure and marginalized. This week The Hum series, continues at the House of Yes, and will be a tribute to a variety of Brooklyn based musicians who have found a voice in being prophets of self love, positivity and empowerment.

AudioFemme had the opportunity to speak with Bunny Michael and Xhosa about the inspirations, journeys, and struggles of staying true to the expression of self love, positivity and the never ending exploration of conscious expansion.

Bunny Michael


AudioFemme: What started first, the memes or the music?

Bunny Michael: *Laughs* The music. I’ve been actually performing and making music for almost 10 years now.

AF: How did you first start getting into it?

BM: I had never made music or anything before, and I was hanging out with musicians, and we started free styling. I think this was back in 2004. I started free styling about a bunny rabbit. Then the next day my friend was like let’s put out a record. We toured a bunch, and we were part of that Myspace wave. So we were able to do all these things based on this Myspace hype and it was really fun. Then we broke up and I basically have been doing other projects and learning how to produce music and make music on my own. So my first solo thing was under Bunny Michael.

AF: When did you start doing the spiritual memes that you are becoming more known for now?

BM: It’s funny how it kind of ended up happening through that. I had been, like everyone else, dealing with childhood trauma or dealing with pain stuff, just trying to learn how to heal myself and feel good about myself. So I had been already exploring different ways, through yoga and meditation, and I was reading a lot of spiritual books. I kind of had a spiritual awakening after the Bunny Rabbit project ended, because I was at a really low point at that time. I was doing music with somebody, who I was in a romantic relationship with and it was really abusive actually, to be honest, and I had to heal myself after that. So I got really into spirituality and have just been on that path ever since. Then a few years ago I had a meditation and I could see one version of myself, hugging the other version of myself, and it was the healing vision.

I had already been making photographs and art with two of me. I had actually already had an art photography show in Bushwick even before the memes. It was all digital photos of two of me. But I didn’t start making the memes until like two years ago. Then I decided to only do the memes on my instagram.

AF: How do you get people informed about all these different kinds of pieces that you are creating?

BM: The music has always been about consciousness exploration, and higher stages of consciouness, that has always been the message behind the rapping. In the past year I’ve been really trying to merge the two worlds together. During my live show I have parts where I talk to my higher self on the phone and he answers back. I’m really trying to build a world that is beyond memes, and incorporating it into the music more and more and being known for the message. Because to me that is the most important part of the entire, whatever I’m doing. It isn’t really the form, it’s the message behind it. I’m still finding creative ways to merge the music and the higher message together.

AF: It is so powerful when an artist can transcend aesthetic and medium to focus on the message.

BM: Yeah that’s how I know I will always have something to do. The purpose is beyond me, beyond my agenda, or my success. The purpose is the inner journey, and I’m always gonna be on it. It’s kinda of like I set myself up for this thing, that I can’t really get out of at this point.

AF: Will you be collaborating with someone else for The Hum, or will you be performing solo?

BM: It is going to be my music, but two of my really good friends are going to be backing me up, on drums and guitar. I have been friends with them for a long time, and we have never played music together. One of them is named Zoie Omega and also L.K. Napolitano, and they are really excited to be playing. It’s been really fun to practice with them and we’re really excited, now we want to start a new punk girl band.

AF: What is the significance for you of having a space like The Hum, a more female oriented musical space?

BM: For me, I think about gender as a reconditioning process, and we are all at different points in our growth right now. It’s exciting that there’s obviously more awareness and people are becoming more vocal about how brain washed we are to believe in this binary situation. We are all at different points, so right now it is very necessary to have these events that are exclusively this way to bring more attention to the necessity of those things. So it’s a very important step in the growth and achievement of that.

I normally play with the guy that I work with on production, he normally plays on stage with me. And so I was like “I can’t have you this time”. So it was good for me too, because it got me to reach out to other people.

AF: This lineup of The Hum is specifically focused around artists who are not just musicians, they are all icons for an idea.

BM: I think that is sort of just how we are growing to be as artists, because you can’t really separate yourself from the work now in so many ways. It’s more about the artist and their journey, that’s becoming so much a part of why people are interested in things. It’s the story behind it, and I think that’s really great. Because it’s also enabling a lot of access to people who wouldn’t normally have it. So it’s a really exciting to be courageously putting your work out there and doing it for the right reasons.




AF: How does having a space like The Hum help you maintain an essence of femininity and vulnerability in your music?

X: I like that this series helps celebrate that idea and focuses on that specifically. I was really excited to hear the lineup for the show is Bunny Michael, and I already knew I was playing with Sateen, but I just think that between the three of these acts, it’s going to be a very positive empowering show. I was just excited to see everyone who is a part of it to be honest. I feel like the music that is being pushed to the fore front in this series should get more love, so I’m glad that The Hum is doing it.

AF: What impact do you think The Hum has on the community of artists that are trying to bring these positive messages to life?

X: I feel like in the music industry can get a little discouraging as a whole for artists that aren’t feeding into this massuline narrative. In many ways artists that don’t do that get overlooked or disregarded, and there is twice the amount of pressure to be strong, but also look good. You have to prove yourself and prove what you’re doing is actually technically good. I feel like The Hum series kind of weeds through all that, and just showcases that these people are actually talented musicians and need a platform to share that. That doesn’t really happen in this industry as a whole. Because a lot of the gatekeepers don’t really see the value.

AF: The aspect of the gate keepers is definitely a huge issue, and who those gatekeepers are and what kind of influence they have on what we see and consume artistically.

X: A lot of time they’ll look at a woman artist and automatically assume that what we are saying is less important, that what we are playing is less difficult, that the work we are putting into it is not as much. In a lot of cases we have to work twice as hard to prove something.

For audience goers I think it’s important to see themselves reflected in the people that are there on stage and showcased. The industry was kind of set by minimizing females rolls in the industry. When I think a lot of music listeners are looking to get empowered by people who look like them, or represent the values that they have.

AF: Is there anything that you’ll be performing at The Hum that you’re really looking forward to?

X: I’m excited for all my songs equally, but I’m going to be performing some unreleased stuff that I’ve been starting to perform more lately that I’m really excited about. It’s all stuff off my upcoming mix tape, LVL 9. Usually I produce all my music but with this mix tape the concept is that I’m collaborating with the artists around me more so. Showcasing the people that inspire me directly and inspire my sound, and it’s got more of a hip hop influence.

I’m excited about performing that because I feel like it will kind of contribute to the hype of the night. There are some songs off of it that I think are really important, like “Vision” that’s a call to action. Cause it’s important throughout this self help positivity thing that we are all preaching that we put a sense of responsibility behind that, and an edge and an aggression too. It’s not all “I’m happy now and then the world is better. If I just love myself hard enough then all my problems will go away”. It’s a balance of both and being fierce in that, and taking responsibility in that too, to spread that message, and influence people positively.

AF: It’s important to discuss that, because yea you can love yourself, but shit’s still gonna be hard.

X: That’s basically something I’ve had to come to terms with personally. A lot of the time my optimism is to fault. I express that a lot in my music, because it is an outlet, and it helps me get through certain things personally. I had to learn that just looking at the bright side all the time doesn’t necessarily make the situation better. Just because I know it could be doesn’t mean I don’t have to work to make certain decisions to make sure that is the case.

INTERVIEW: The Hum Continues This Week with L’Rain, Lou Tides & More

When Rachael Pazdan, curator of The Hum, first told me about the series years ago, she explained to me that despite it featuring all female lineups, she didn’t want that to be the only defining aspect of the showcase. Over the years The Hum has been spotlighted by media outlets, from The New York Times to Nylon to The Village Voice. Each one has focused heavily on the central aspect of The Hum as a female based residency. However, there are other unique aspects of The Hum that deserve to be highlighted.

While the artists for these events understand the importance of having an all-female space to perform in, there is a piece of the puzzle that gets overlooked when this becomes the only focus of the evening. The Hum is not merely a stage allotted for female artists – it is, down to its curation, a work of art. In each well crafted evening, Pazdan has complexly united a group of artists mined from her expansive work with the indie music scene. This is no hodgepodge of random artists, nor is it a night to go see your favorite musicians to hear their album tunes. The Hum is a stage for exploration and experimentation.

The feeling created on stage at The Hum is the closest audience members will get to experiencing the practice space of the musicians that inspire them. There is a vulnerability to this kind of space that pulls the imagination out of these performers and asks them to show the audience their unpolished selves.

In turn, the audience experiences a one-night-only evening of music which may only exist for the few minutes the musicians take the stage. A potent magic cumulates in the spontaneity and serendipity when a room full of people silently agree to participate in the unknown.

This Wednesday The Hum returns to The House of Yes with another incredible lineup of musicians. Lou Tides and L’Rain spent some time talking to Audiofemme about their previous experiences with The Hum, and what they are looking forward to this time around.


AudioFemme: This is your second time playing for The Hum. What was your first experience like?

L’Rain: It’s a little scary. It’s daunting to have all this time that you have to fill with new material with people that you haven’t played with before. But it’s the sort of thing that you want to do because of the people that are doing it. Building in an opportunity to work on new material is really important, and if you don’t have someone kick you in the butt it’s hard to do sometimes.

AF: Did you bring some of those experiences with you into the music that you created after The Hum?

LR: I will be. I wasn’t expecting to at all. I was kind of like, “Okay, these are some songs that we are gonna play once and that’s it,” but I’ve been thinking a lot about them lately. I’m hoping that I can find a way to build them into the next record that I make.

AF: You and Glasser will be collaborating at The Hum – I’m curious how you are bridging the difference between your slower and melodic style to Glasser’s more pop infused style for your performance?

LR: I feel like in the sessions that we’ve been having, we’ve been just improvising a little bit and seeing what comes out of it and it’s been sort of meditative in a way. Which I guess is half expected and half unexpected. We both are really into, I don’t want to say ambient music, but we both have an interest in Alice Coltrane, and textural electronic music, and I feel like that comes out in a lot of this. It could change in the next couple days, but at least right now, we both are playing synths and we’re singing and she’ll probably have some stuff in Ableton. Which I think is a totally new set up for both of us.

AF: How does having access to a showcase like The Hum impact your music individually, and your Brooklyn community of musicians?

LR: In my day job I program music and I often find that a lot of the other people I know who are booking music are usually not women. It’s been really nice to befriend someone [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][like Rachael Pazdan] who thinks about the composition of bills from an aesthetic standpoint with care, and also thinks about the people who are making that music. One isn’t more important than the other but she really thinks about them in tandem. There are so many people that are really careless with how they think through women and female-identifying musicians on bills. They’re like, “Oh, here are some women and they have nothing to do with one another,” and that has sort of become the norm in a lot of ways. That’s really lazy and infuriating so I think it’s important to have a series like The Hum. And the structure of it too, I feel like I have an opportunity to develop deeper relationships with musicians that I ordinarily wouldn’t. So it builds a community not in a superficial way, but in a real way.

AF: What is it about The Hum that creates that community and camaraderie?

LR: Each week is basically a series of mini commissions, so I think that structure, when you are working with someone that intently or that intimately on something, you just form a different kind of relationship with someone. Rather than just being on a bill with someone and there’s nothing that binds you to that person or connects you to that person. I think the focus on the process is an important one, and one that isn’t necessarily considered as much.

AF: Do you see the potential for something like this becoming more common?

LR: Yea. I think there’s been a little bit of a shift in the way people think about live music. I’ve seen more artists in general being interested in curating bills, and people generally trying to make special live experiences which is really great. I think there’s a lot of potential for more of that for sure. I think that people are hungry for creating special live experiences that you can’t find in other places and that audiences also are kind of seeking that out.

Lou Tides

AudioFemme: How did you get involved with The Hum?

Lou Tides: I did the first iteration of The Hum, which was at the Manhattan Inn. I think Rachael just told me about what she was doing, and I thought it was an interesting project, and so I decided to do it. That night I got to play with two people I had been wanting to play with for a while – Zoe Brecher, who plays drums, and Jen Goma, who has become one of my main collaborators musically, and just one of my best friends.

AF: And that was the first time you met Jen Goma?

LT: No, we had met previously at a friend’s house, and I really liked her vibe, so I asked her to do The Hum with me and had a great experience working with her, and Zoe as well. But Jen and I in particular continued a pretty special friendship and collaborative relationship ever since then.

AF: For this iteration of The Hum, you’ll be collaborating with Miho, correct?

LT: Yes. I don’t know if you know her music but she’s really amazing. We are going to do a more improvisational set. That’s something that will be new for me. Miho does a lot of improv. I’ve done a fair amount, but it’s not necessarily the thing that I do often, so it’s a challenge and it’ll be fun. I also adore Miho and her music, she’s a really amazing musician. I look up to her a lot so that’s exciting to have the opportunity.

AF: What is that process like when you are doing a collaborative improvisation?

LT: We are sharing a little bit of music beforehand, and then it’s gonna be pretty much flying by the seat of your pants. I find with improv that sometimes less preparation can be better, because then you have to be super present, and be in the moment. I’m also extreme so I’m sort of like either/or. I’m either gonna be super prepared and rehearse a ton, or you just go into it kind of having no game plan. I also have never worked with Miho, so it’ll be really interesting to get into a room in front of people and do live experimentation. Which is nerve racking, but is also so exciting at the same time.

AF: How has collaborating with Jen Goma and other female musicians impacted your work?

LT: Well, I suppose something that was big about the collaborative process of The Hum, for me, was that, I’ve been in a lot of bands which are naturally collaborative, but also sometimes there tends to be one person who is the leader. Jen and I went into that situation as equal songwriters, so it’s been really interesting working with her. Really, really stepping back and exchanging ideas 50/50, rather than there being more of a songwriter/band dynamic. It’s enjoyable to create something as a whole, and not with so much ownership. And I think women can be pretty open with that too. I mean men can too, but there’s something about women – sometimes they’re a little bit less possessive of their ideas, so that’s been a really good practice for me to let go, and not be possessive, because it creates so much more beauty.

I also find it really enjoyable to listen to afterwards, because then I don’t hear as much of myself in it. So I become, therefore, less controlling. Collaboration has just become a much more interesting thing to me. And a lot of that has to do with The Hum, because I didn’t always collaborate as a songwriter before that.

AF: You’ve been switching your musical identity – can you speak a little on that process?

LT: I’ve been playing in bands for 10 years now – well, longer, but really actively and furiously, my two other projects added up to about 10 years. I think maybe it’s just time to try different avenues for myself. I’m interested in exploring a different way of doing things. It’s been an incredible amount of hard work and very difficult and very taxing, just as far as reshaping myself. Because I don’t have anything released I haven’t had some catharsis of the letting go of the process because I’m still in it, and it can be kind of exhausting. It’s a little abstract, I don’t know how much I can fully dig in without getting really out, I suppose it’s been about being less attached to form, and less attached to the idea of what something should be, and really just following where something wants to go. I’m trying to find new pathways. It’s both exciting, and scary, and exhausting at the same time.

AF: How does having access to a showcase like The Hum affect the Brooklyn music community?

LT: I think it’s great in the sense that – again back to the idea of ownership, and lack of ownership – part of collaboration is community and creating community. I think that especially in a time where it’s very difficult to make money and a living at music, that all the more emphasis on community is important. An event like The Hum is wonderful in that sense because it brings people together for those reasons. I hope that it encourages other programming that is more about a night and celebrating people doing something as a collaborative mass. People are going to the event to see the event, rather than paying all this money to see this person that is celebrated and in tons of print and magazines or whatever, because people think that’s what they should see, or because that’s the great person of the moment. It’s about celebrating community, and we don’t see much of that these days, so it’s definitely refreshing.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

INTERVIEW: The Hum Kicks Off With Jessica Lea Mayfield & Rachel Housle

Brooklyn will be humming every Wednesday this May with the music of female-identifying artists and their fresh collaborations. Rachael Pazdan, the mesmerizing mind behind Hypnocraft, began curating wildly popular Brooklyn-based pop-up events at venues like Greenpoint’s now-shuttered Manhattan Inn. Arguably her most beloved brainchild, The Hum brings together a varied mix of sounds made by women, and May 2 kicks off its latest residency at the House of Yes in Bushwick.

Now in its third year, The Hum is returning with another run of talented performers, some returning to the residency and others who will become members of this musical family for the first time. Since its inception, The Hum has developed a powerful platform for women to share their talents, voices and artistry, while showcasing Brooklyn’s multi-faceted music scene.

Follow AudioFemme weekly throughout May as we meet up with a variety of artists who will be joining the ranks of Hum performers. This week we shared question and answer sessions with both headliner Jessica Lea Mayfield and Brooklyn-based drummer and second-time Hum collaborator Rachel Housle. Both women discuss the distinct difference between working with women vs. men in an industry that is still very divided by gender.

Jessica Lea Mayfield

Audiofemme: What will you bring to this week’s Hum?

Jessica Lea Mayfield: Two of the things I wanted to do may be happening, but I’m still not sure, so I don’t want to talk about it, in case it doesn’t happen. Whether those things happen or not, I will have Emily Maxwell from Daddy Issues on drums, and Audrey Whiteside on bass, and harmony vocals. Those are some of my favorite bands, one of my favorite lineups, and two of my favorite females to play with. So that alone is gonna be really energetic and fun.

AF: Do you work with them regularly?

JLM: Yea, I used them for a tour a couple months back and it was awesome. Audrey lives in New York and she plays with a ton of people, so she’s always touring. I was really fortunate that she was able to do this, because I really didn’t think she would be. She’s almost always booked.

AF: Have you been involved with The Hum before?

JLM: No. I’m excited to have been asked to be a part of it.

AF: Do you usually get to work with other female artists?

JLM: Over the past year I’ve tried to more. I used to end up working with a lot of men, and I kind of realized I wanted to make an effort to hire females that I respect and female friends and even younger females who I can help give experience to. That has honestly improved my life by like 2,000 percent – having female energy in my workspace. It’s insane how drama-free touring becomes when you get the right personalities together, male or female. Definitely when you have the right type of sensitivities and like mindedness, because you know everyone is trapped in a rolling box together, then they’re backstage, then they’re onstage, then they’re at the hotel. You’re always around each other, so you have to absolutely love the people that you are working with.

AF: Have you been a part of any other female dominated showcases like this?

JLM: I’ve done stuff with She Shreds; I love that magazine.

AF: What kind of impact do you think having those kinds of showcases, and ones like The Hum, has on the music industry at large?

JLM: I have mixed feelings. People will say to me “Oh, I saw your female drummer,” and they’ll name like three female drummers, and go “Well there aren’t that many.” And it’s like no, literally half of all drummers are female. But those aren’t the ones that you see everywhere and hear people talk about, so it’s good when things like this put them out there. But at the same time I think all female musicians strive for a time when things are no longer gendered. We have to fight to just say we exist first, before we even get to that point to where the gender lines don’t exist. Men shouldn’t be the normal thing and women are something different. It’s a weird gender segregation in music that is getting better but its still problematic.

AF: Do you feel inspired in a different or unique way when you are working with other women?

JLM: I think for me, I’ve noticed that playing music with other women that I’m close with, I feel I can be a little more comfortable. You kind of let down your guard, because there is that societal gendered thing in music where when you’re playing with men, whether they realize is or not, they treat you a little differently. So when you’re playing with women there’s none of that weirdness – we’re all the same.  

Rachel Housle

AF: How did you get involved with The Hum?

Rachel Housle: I performed at The Hum in 2016 for the first time. Rachael Pazdan approached me and it was kind of like a musical blind date with me and a few other people. I had a really great experience then, and I got asked back by one of the musicians that I originally performed with at the first one that I did. She sort of hopped on board with the two ladies from Fruit & Flowers, so Rachel Angel had asked me to drum with them. Getting together with them had a total communal feeling pretty instantly. I’d worked with Rachel [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Angel] before and she is currently playing with Fruit & Flowers, so it’s just a total connection.

AF: What is the approach that you took in creating your performance for The Hum?

RH: We each brought in a song that we had written previously. So it was actually cool to hear it played in this group of musicians. It just kind of adds a different life to it. We are also working on writing a song together.

AF: What is that process like for you, to come together with a group of musicians you haven’t worked with a lot and build a brand new piece together?

RH: I feel like at first there’s that moment where you have to break that threshold a bit, kind of break the ice. I feel like personally this time we gelled really well, the conversation was instantly happening, and the music sort of mirrors that level of interaction. So we just kind of dug in and started playing songs that we had sent each other voice memos or recordings of and then after that we got a sense of each others’ playing and musical personalities. There would be these little interludes where we would be playing through these ideas and we didn’t even realize we were doing it.

AF: What do you feel like The Hum adds to the music community of Brooklyn?

RH: I think something like The Hum adds so much. As somebody who plays in different bands, there are a lot of times where I show up to a gig and I am the only person who is not a man, or specifically not a white man, at the entire gig. I feel like there gets to be this very insular environment of dudes calling other dudes to play in bands. And when you can really showcase this entire network of people, not only do you have this one great guitarist who happens to be female on a gig that you know of, but then that person gets connected to all of these other people, and it becomes this network of musicians.

AF: How is the writing process different for you when you get to work with other female musicians?

RH: There is a different flow to it. I think they are more willing to work within the framework that you bring, as opposed to trying to change things right off the bat, or trying to educate you about something, when you’re trying to work through and idea. Which is not to say that all men do this, but I find that men in the room tend to be very used to taking a leading role. So when a woman comes in with her own composition it’s kind of blurry sometimes who is actually leading that moment. I think that it’s more of an equal footing, and a more collaborative process [when working with women].

AF: Is there a different essence that comes out of your music because of that more open collaborative feeling?

RH: I think there is. I think that energy gets transferred into how that song is played, and I think there’s just a whole different set of ideas that you can then follow through. There’s more of an openness to take it somewhere different and special. Now that I know this network of really great, female musicians, I feel more inclined to hire a woman for something that I’m doing. Now that I have all these people that I know, it makes it much more approachable to say, “Oh I really want to bring this person in.”

AF: How has being a part of The Hum influenced your own music?

RH: One of the greatest things is I developed a really cool musical connection with Rachel Angel and we’ve been performing together ever since. So the musical blind date worked out really well. It’s such a great showcase to be able to meet all these women in the same show as you, and make it accessible for future collaborations. It really brings each person to the forefront and highlights their individual contribution, whereas you might feel like you get lost in the background, especially on the drums. I think each individual person is very appreciated and recognized after the show.


INTERVIEW: Rachael Pazdan/Hypnocraft of The Hum & LPR Presents

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the hum
photo by Emeri Fetzer

We have become so used to the unheard female voice in the music industry. There is an irrefutable gender gap between the number of male musicians who succeed and the number of female ones…I don’t need to tell you about who’s in the lead. But if you think that making it as a non-male musician is hard, imagine the world of curation, booking, and promotion. It’s a tough industry to traverse, but tastemaker Rachael Pazdan of Hypnocraft Presents, LPR Presents, and The Hum, is quite frankly kicking its ass.

Pazdan wears many hats, utilizing her background in dance and the non-profit arts sector to inform her positions as music director for Le Poisson Rouge and talent buyer for Manhattan Inn. Twice a year, Pazdan lets her love of music and interdisciplinary collaboration run wild with The Hum, a month-long weekly series that features super-group-like pairings of all female musicians jamming at Manhattan Inn.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Rachael to discuss the rift between dance and indie rock audiences, the importance of collaboration, and the problem with saying “female musician.”

Audiofemme: The Hum is approaching! What are some collaborations you’re most excited about?

Rachael Pazdan: I’m really excited to see Yuka Honda [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Cibo Matto] with Arone Dyer [Buke And Gase]. Both of them want to do stuff that’s out of the box. Yuka’s been doing this Exotech project, which is a super out of the box improvisational show. And Arone’s been doing these all-women drone choirs

With actual drones?!

No, using women’s voices. It’s a choir of women singing different notes and they have ear buds in and they’re triggered to know what note to sing next. I think that they’re really gonna love working together and find a lot of commonalities.

I’m really excited about Boshra AlSaadi from TEEN-she’s an amazing bass player-with Felicia Douglass from Ava Luna, Lindsay Powell from Fielded and Nasimiyuu from Baeb Rxxth. I get really excited about bigger, ambitious quartet projects.

Kendra Morris with Allison Miller and Domenica Fossati. Domenica is in Underground System which is an awesome Afrobeat band, she sings and plays flute, Kendra Morris is this pop-soul singer, and Allison Miller has a project called Boom Tic Boom and she’s a jazz drummer…that will be really funky and fun.

I don’t half-ass this. I go after artists that I am personally really excited about. I freak out about this project…bringing all of these different women together that I’ve always wanted to book.

What were some exciting moments you’ve witnessed in the past? Musical or other?

 I feel like [The Hum] builds a real sense of community between women, and there are lots of women who have done it and said to me, “I’ve never played with other women before,” which is kind of crazy.

That gives me chills. That’s ridiculous.

Becca Kauffman from Ava Luna told me that now whenever she’s working on new projects she’s going to think of women first. Jen Goma [A Sunny Day in Glasgow] and Teenie from TEEN – that was the first time they’d ever played together and they’re best friends now, they’re constantly collaborating. I think one of the most exciting things for me is this effect that happens after the series and the network of everyone who’s involved growing.

You’re like a matchmaker!

Kind of like dream band matchmaking…

You are often nurturing cross-disciplinary collaborations with other projects as well what do find that collaboration brings out in artists?

Sometimes it really doesn’t work. My original vision for The Hum was to do more poly-genre collaborations and it’s really challenging…artists can be less excited about that. Sometimes I’ll do it-I’m putting Kendra together with Domenica. But even though that is crossing genres, there is so much that makes sense between those two worlds, and it works. It’s really hard for artists because it’s really limited preparation. I haven’t been able to support artists where I’m paying for their rehearsal time, and I feel like if I want to think of some really tricky collaborations I want to be able to commission them.

Looking at some of your previous work like 3:1 and Liquid and Still – you seem to get excited by the idea of creating art out of traditionally uncomfortable situations, and breaking the fourth wall…

Totally. It’s something I naturally do. That’s such a great observation because as a curator I’m really interested in collaboration and challenging artists’ comfort zone. I’m always looking to give artists special opportunities that are outside the normal presenting zone. Now my job is to just be booking straight shows all the time. But any opportunity I get I’m putting together some kind of weird show. For Liquid and Still, my job is to bring music and dance audiences together so that people who go to concerts feel more comfortable watching dance, and people who see mostly dance are more comfortable going to a concert the next time.

It’s crazy that they’re totally separate audiences.

It is the conundrum I am thinking about all the time – my background’s in dance and I love dance, but it was too hard for me to work in dance as somebody who wasn’t the dancer. I feel like dance is slowly dying because their audience is so insular and people get so intimidated by dance, which is strange to me because dance seems to me to be the most accessible art form…it’s just moving your body and everybody understands movement.

I want to start doing concerts where in between sets there would be a ten-minute dance piece on the floor in front of the stage. And I think that might be the solution…literally putting them in front of a new audience.

I think people look at dance as a stem from the modern dance and ballet world but it has so many different facets.

Yeah, like having to sit down and be quiet for an hour and try to really understand something that’s heavy and pick it apart, and I don’t think dance has to be like that. The reason music is so accessible is that you can go to a show late, you can be drinking, you can be talking during the show, it’s totally social. To make dance more social is maybe the way that it is going to survive.

Classical music has this older, subscription-based audience that would go to Lincoln Center and buy a whole year’s worth of subscriptions to shows and people just aren’t doing that anymore. Our generation is used to being able to customize all of their experiences and do whatever they want all the time, and to commit to a year’s worth of shows is something people aren’t doing anymore.

One person who is bridging that gap is Nils Frahm.

Yeah, love Nils Frahm. He plays LPR all the time.

He’s completely unpretentious and is like, “oh! I’m going to play something with a toilet brush!” Or, “oh! If someone texts during my set, it’s going to be in the recording!” And maybe that’s the approach dance needs to take.

Yeah, breaking down those walls and making dance more social and accessible to an audience that doesn’t want to go to a ballet.

How did the name “The Hum” come about?

“The Hum” was named by Hannah Epperson, who was in the first and the third series. I was originally going to name it something that had “femme” in the name, and through conversations with almost every artist who was in that first series…I decided that I didn’t want to have The Hum be something that screamed “Women!” in the title or marketing, because the more I work in the music industry, the more I want to get rid of the fucking double standard of having to say a musician is a woman. It bugs the shit out of me! Even to see “female-fronted,” it bugs me! The word “woman” adds nothing what the music actually sounds like.

There’s no “Man Band” classification.

Yeah, you would never say, “male-fronted” or “male-backed.” If you’re a musician you’re a musician. If you’re a carpenter you’re a carpenter. It doesn’t matter. I got really pissed off about this and posted something on Facebook the other day and my friend Cooper had a really good response. He said, “It’s leftover from a sexist industry. We don’t need to imply that “white male” is the norm and everything else is “other” and needs a further classification.” Also, I think that sometimes when people are using “women” it’s like a marketing ploy of sex appeal in some way.

“Boobs-Fronted Band.”

Exactly! But there is another side to it, which is using “woman” or “female” can be really empowering sometimes. My good friend Mindy who runs Tom Tom Magazine, her tagline for the magazine is “A Magazine About Female Drummers” and that’s really empowering. I think that it’s a balance of using the word “female” as an empowering description and also just deciding to drop it. I see extreme value in both perspectives.

Manhattan Inn has traditionally housed a lot of jazz music, which is so male-dominated, and LPR has had a fair share of electronic, which is similarly a boy’s club…have you run into any issues because of those two genres?

Jazz has been a really sexist genre.

To be fair, I noticed in one interview you said, “Don’t get me started on jazz,” and I thought, “I’m going to get her started on jazz.”

 It’s starting to happen. Allison Miller is a fucking awesome drummer and she’s really done her own thing. I just feel like it’s really hard for women to rise in that musical genre, maybe because unless they’re the sexy girl singing Ella Fitzgerald…it’s hard for female musicians who are playing bass or drums to get ahead in any genre.

Electronic music…I don’t know. I really wanted Discwoman to get involved…they’re a collective of DJs that are women…I will get them involved one day. I feel like every electronic musician-

Is male.

Yeah, I think that’s the question. These musicians exist, right? Or are there actually way less electronic artists that are women? Or way less jazz musicians that are women? I don’t think it’s that, I think they just have a hard time breaking through and making shit happen.

I was reading about Vis-à-vis and the importance of the Brooklyn DIY scene was mentioned-but in the past few years we’ve had so many closures: Glasslands, 285 Kent, Death By Audio, Secret Project Robot…

You know what’s funny is that every venue that Vis-à-vis took place in-

Is gone. Are you hopeful for the Brooklyn DIY scene?

 The cops really don’t want it around. Very few landlords want it around. Many of these places close because of lack of codes. Manhattan Inn feels very DIY to me. I’m like running out and buying Christmas lights from the dollar store because none of the lights work in the back, you know? I love DIY venues. I think it will always exist. It’s going to migrate neighborhoods…five years ago there were probably 12 venues in Williamsburg and now there’s like, four.

I think it will always be a thing in New York because the music scene is too big here. There are too many kids trying to make it in music here, and that sense of community is such a New Yorker sense of community, it will always be here. It’s just going to move around.

That’s why I like LPR. It’s a very independent music venue. We run our own ticketing, we have amazing relationships with these artists and nurture what they’re doing. It’s sad when a Cameo or Zebulon goes away, because those spaces were really well-run, and the sound was good and it was an amazing place to meet people and hang out and see great music, and those places closed, not for coding but just because the neighborhood got too expensive.

What are some holes in the NYC/Brooklyn scene and music industry, and how do you hope to help fill them?

 The idea for The Hum came from a hole I saw a lack of representation of women playing music. I think there’s a void in venues that facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration. What I’m trying to do in dance and music, trying to bring in a bigger audience for dance, I don’t feel like I have space to do that. In most music venues there’s no space for dancers to actually perform in.

You have to have a flat floor, preferably sprung. You have to have enough space, and it’s hard to find places like that, so I’d really lose my mind if I ever found a place like that. It would be a place that every night of the week there would either be a show, or some kind of performance art/comedy thing, or collaborations, dance performances…

Would you consider opening one?

I would love to have a venue. I would love to be a part of something like that, definitely.

What would your dream collaboration for The Hum be?  

Karen O, Annie Clarke, Lianne La Havas. Those are my HEROES. I think it’d be cool to put a seasoned older artist with somebody who’s hot right now who’s clearly a derivative of that older artist-

Like Kate Bush.

Yeah, like Kate Bush with Karen O (gestures that her head would explode). Cyndi Lauper with Kimbra. PJ Harvey and Annie Clarke. But that’s how I want to grow The Hum. I’d like to do a mini-festival where the footprint of what I’ve been doing remains: four weeks of new collaborations at Manhattan Inn, shows around town, and then getting enough money to commission one amazing night of big artists collaborating, where I have money to pay for their rehearsal. That would be the vision.


Get your tickets for The Hum here and check out the entire lineup on the offical Hypnocraft website.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]