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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2019 » March » 05


Self care in the music business: reflections from Frankie of Discwoman

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 5 Mar 2019 7:01 pm

We talk a lot about survival tips for the music industry, but rarely does that get into the personal. So the moment is right for Discwoman’s Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson to tackle music’s greatest obstacle: ourselves.

Frankie is the co-founder of Discwoman, with Emma Burgess-Olson (aka techno producer UMFANG) and Christine McCharen-Tran, as well as the booker for Bossa Nova Civic Club. Each of those projects has become influential, as Bossa has become a fulcrum for the new Brooklyn scene and a highlight of post-Bloomberg/Giuliani New York, and Discwoman a template for building a collective and booking business around women and non-binary artists.

Frankie is not a DJ or producer (“thank God,” she tells me), but I think it’s then even more relevant that she’s taken on a new role for Crack Magazine – advice columnist. (She’s taken on the role “Agony Aunt.”)

For instance, in the latest installment, she answers a Berlin (huh) writer who worries about comparisons and self-doubt. (Frankie even concedes she can struggle: “It’s completely irrational and I often feel like I’m falling apart but there’s very little space for me to fall apart as there are so many people dependent on my work so it’s a lot of pressure,” she responds.)

This is the thing we often don’t do in the music world – talk honestly about ourselves. The cost of that lack of honesty can be depression – and worse. So just as Discwoman’s motto, is “amplify each other,” emblazoned in enormous letters across their merch and even website, I think it’s high time music makers and the people working with music makers talk about things like – gulp – self sabotage. That can be devastating for people who seek music as a hobby or as a profession.

Frankie was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule at Bossa to answer some questions about that and building Discwoman.

You spoke to Crack a bit about handling social life and partying – then there’s the matter in this business of handling work and communication. I know these cycles can become really intense. And especially in a city like Berlin or NYC, it seems it can be really easy to get lost. How have you coped with that?

I fail at it all the time. I think that’s important to always say when you give an advice, I’m not just giving advice to the person asking me; I’m also giving advice to myself. I used to drink pretty much every single day; I’d often find myself at bars at closing time and making questionable decisions as a result. For me, everything shifted when I started becoming more interested in my work, i.e., Discwoman, and then there was more responsibility. I only really had one option: to not drink everyday and or go out everyday. It’s literally impossible for me to work if I’m hungover – and, in addition, my anxiety is horrendous. I quit weed recently, and that helped me dramatically. But I have routine relapses every now again, which fuck up my days.

It strikes me you’ve really built an extraordinary business around Discwoman. Has that really been about focusing on this existing roster? Or do you see diversifying important – is it important to have merch, for instance, for awareness or even for revenue?

Merch is important for both awareness and revenue; that’s literally how survive. My favorite part is definitely running our booking agency – I’m just so proud of it, honestly. It’s not perfect, but we built something from scratch that we felt was lacking: an agency that represents women/nonbinary talent. Our big vision is to keep on building the agency and perfect a home for even more talent.

You touch a bit on self doubt. I think from the outside, we’ve gotten to see Discwoman’s rise, its successes. I’m sure we don’t always see some of the challenges. Where we cases where you had to learn or adjust what you were doing?

At the beginning the language we used “female-identified” was not sufficient – and the term “female” is [itself] archaic and problematic. So we adjusted our language to be more inclusive and expansive. Now, we tend to use “women” and “non-binary.” But, again, being open to changing your language is part of the process of being inclusive, so no term is ever set in stone.

We’ve learned as we go. When we started the agency, none of us had any real experience; we just kind of made it up and learned on the job. [We were] taking contract templates and rider templates from the internet. There’s no one to really teach you those things, so we had to teach ourselves.

Photo courtesy Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson.

You’re managing a lot of social media for yourself and Discwoman, right? Do you ever find that can feed this sense of comparing yourself to others, or to some idealized sense of what you want to be? How do you manage that – especially since I would imagine in your role, isn’t it hard to unplug from all this media and communication? How do you hang onto yourself in those situations?

Absolutely; I feel jealous or shit about myself all the time, and social media compounds those feelings. But I rarely act on those feelings, and I try my best not to speak hatefully on my accounts, as honestly, it just gives me more anxiety. Like recently, I tweeted that I felt more non-black folks in the scene should have supported the black history event we did at Bossa, and I just felt really shit after tweeting it. Not because it’s not true, but because it mentally makes me spiral and become paranoid which is unnecessary, because the event was a great success. But sometimes I cant keep my mouth shut, ha!

I’m also definitely projecting a narrative into the world. I use my Twitter and Instagram as a storytelling device. For me, that’s fun and creative. I know people are critical of these mediums for being inauthentic, but that’s honestly not something I care about that much. People love to hate famous women on these apps for projecting a false representation of themselves; I personally find this critique extremely boring and short-sighted, which ends up targeting these women as scapegoats for a much bigger problem. Like the way Jameela Jamil’s popularized feminism really bothers me.

[Ed.: For more on that last comment, in case you’re curious about context, here’s one take from The Atlantic – there are others with similar sentiments.]

If you want to check out Frankie’s advice:

Dear Frankie: Tips on self-sabotage and finessing the life-club balance (latest episode, or check out the debut) [Crack Magazine]

Fader in 2017: We Need Discwoman

Let’s get some music here. Just as a sampling of who Discwoman have on their roster (apologies for my own Berlin bias)…

I’ve gotten to know Munich-born mobilegirl based on her great work for Staycore and unique take on production and DJing, including a dynamic high-powered set she played at the bottom of a well (really) when we were all part of Nusasonic Fesival in Indonesia:

Warsaw-to-Berlin artist VTSS has been doing some great mixes between industrial and acid, so I was already jamming out to this Newtype podcast this week:

Akua can mix techno that’s fast, weird, fast and weird… sold. More, please. Oh yeah, and this mix for Discwoman has a tracklist to go with it, as well as an interview. (Because tracklists are good.)

Actually, you know what, let’s throw in another Akua mix.

For another collective that comes from a background that’s more leftfield (and that’s based in Poland rather than New York, which makes for a different landscape), we’ve also talked to Oramics:

In Poland, a collective for women and queer artists becomes an agency

The post Self care in the music business: reflections from Frankie of Discwoman appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

FTC Obtains Record $5.7 Million Fine for Children’s Privacy Protection Act Violation

Delivered... Aaron Burstein | Scene | Tue 5 Mar 2019 3:48 pm

When is your website or app covered by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and the FTC’s COPPA Rule?  Although there are gray areas under COPPA, one clear way to fall under this law is to know that you’re collecting information from children under the age of 13 online.  That’s part of what landed Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, in trouble with the FTC – including a record-setting COPPA fine of $5.7 million.  COPPA isn’t limited to the kinds of video social network apps that Musical.ly provides; broadcasters’ websites and apps may end up falling under COPPA.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Musical.ly knew that it was collecting information from children under 13 (COPPA doesn’t apply to anyone else) for several reasons.  For instance, press articles described the popularity of Musical.ly among under-13 users, the company received hundreds of complaints from parents trying to close their kids’ accounts, and the company itself provided guidance to parents regarding their children’s usage of the app. 

When operators of websites, apps, and other online services know that they’re collecting information from children – or if their services are “directed to” children – they need to satisfy COPPA’s requirements.  Among these requirements are providing notice to parents, obtaining their verifiable consent to collect information, and deleting information at the request of parents.  The FTC alleged that Musical.ly failed to meet these requirements.

In addition to agreeing to pay a multi-million dollar fine, Musical.ly is being ordered to make a choice:  either destroy all personal information associated with user accounts; or allow users (regardless of age) to transfer their videos to their own devices, and allow users 13 or older to maintain their registration.

These are serious consequences, but Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter issued a statement suggesting that the FTC could have gone further: “When any company appears to have a made a business decision to violate or disregard the law, the Commission should identify and investigate those individuals who made or ratified that decision and evaluate whether to charge them.”  As the FTC continues to be scrutinized for its privacy enforcement track record, you can expect calls for harsher penalties to continue.

Stars pay tribute to Keith Flint: ‘A powerhouse of energy and attitude’

Delivered... Interviews by Laura Snapes | Scene | Tue 5 Mar 2019 7:00 am

From Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno to the Chemical Brothers and Azealia Banks, musicians remember the Prodigy frontman

I discovered the Prodigy through Experience, back in 1992. There used to be a rave record store in Leicester called 5HQ – quite a frightening place, a bit like in Human Traffic. We used to hang around in there. I think they were playing Charly: I bought it, took it home and played it on my decks for days. It just didn’t really sound like anything else. There was a tribal quality to the beat. Somehow it was aggressive like punk – it had an edge that other things around the time didn’t. But it also had a pop sensibility. It really felt commercial even though it wasn’t. We were rave kids with the baggies and the T-shirts, but Keith was next level. He was always well dressed, a real one-off – you could see where everything came from but he had his twist on it. They’re the ones that last.

I think the first time we met him was at V festival. It’s always quite nerve-racking when you meet someone you really admire. You think people are gonna be more mad, more like the person they were on stage, but he was gentle, sweet, encouraging. That was the beautiful thing – he was really interested in the music we were making. When we made the second record, he came down to the session and he was so supportive. We could see it was nice for him, maybe, to see through the eyes of someone going through it again. He’d been there and done it, and he saw these young kids doing the same thing. I’d always go and see them live, so I’d see him backstage, fleetingly, but it always felt like he had our backs, which was amazing, considering that it was him that made us wanna do it ourselves. I’m heartbroken, really. It stops you in your tracks.

If it were not for your fear I could not learn to be fearless ... You gave me options when I felt there were none

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