As long as there was a DJ booth, electronic music had a boy’s club. Christine McCharen-Tran, co-founder of the feminist collective Discum, is about to break it down by providing a powerful platform for the underprivileged. We talked with him about collective strength, how to share wealth with your fellow artists, and how he built grassroots movements with his co-founders.
Spotify for Artists: Discovman brings together such diverse parts of the music industry under a single platform. Was that goal from the beginning? What is the future of joint venture industry?
Christine McCharen-Tran: Discwoman is a co-founder, booking agency, and platform that centers and supports femme and non-binary DJs and producers across electronic music. Frankie, Emma and I have all come from different walks of nightlife. Organizations, performances, or participation, we were all engaged in discussions outside of music and needed nightlife – more so as a place to explore identity, politics, community, etc. We launched DiscoVumen in September 201 as a platform for visibility and representation. It was initially a solo event, but it snowed: “How can we be partners in this conversation in music?” As we explored ways to disrupt more CIS-White male spaces, we discovered the need for infrastructure to get women paid, so we formalized the booking agency and began representing and managing artists in early 2015. And their work.
How can artists take concerted action to further influence their release and performance?
I want to see where artists come from and how they influence and contribute to their community. How is the work released and / or the performance resonates with their audience? Is it authentic? Is it intentional? Whose work is benefiting? What’s in the work center? Whose celebration is this?
How can artists create support for each other professionally, financially, artistically and otherwise? What does it take to create a grassroots community of artists?
Sharing resources and experiences with each other. Be it a booking contact, an accountant who specializes in learning to work with a creative, trademark lawyer, or promoter. The exchange of knowledge and the creation of sustainable infrastructure for each other by artists and business builders both economically and emotionally was a focal point for us as discwomen. Collectivism cannot be about the ego. I think it’s very important to have open conversations to address personal needs and immediate needs, as well as identity language and values.
How has Discwoman interacted with individual artists and publishing as a whole? Does anything change when toggling between the two?
Every artist has their own approach. It’s always organic for the artist and who their audience is and how they consume it. Has it been announced through a limited vinyl or cassette release or super accessible and social media?
What’s a part of the advice for artists you’re just starting out? What about artists interested in building a community of like-minded artists?
Check and find like-minded manufacturers around you and on the internet.
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