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Breaking through the noise with Pink Noise

21 April 2017 | 12:43 pm | Rosie Rae

Earlier this month our lady loves, PINK NOISE celebrated their first birthday milestone, and debuted a stunning mixtape to commemorate the occasion. If you haven't already got your ears around Pink Noise's show on Bondi Beach Radio, you should definitely check out the mixtape series they've started. Pink Noise are strong supporters of diversity, and use their platforms to  showcase and support female artists. The music industry has a long way to go when it comes to equality, so it's great to see strong women supporting each other and creating the space for more females.

Pink Noise's first mixtape features a long list of incredible females; including, ANNIE BASS, MEI SARASWATI and WALLACE. We had a chat to the ladies behind the Pink Noise to find out what inspired their program, and tell us about the value of female driven platforms.

Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you all initially connected?

Marisa: Jen and I connected over a love of cup noodles at Goodgod Small Club where we worked a few years back. A love of food is the most important connection two people can make. Then music. Mari and I studied Sound and Music Design together at uni and I always payed attention to the fact that she was by far the most talented and smartest person in the course. Real recognise real.

Mari: I went to uni with Marisa, studying Sound Design. After graduating I started getting involved with FBi Radio, so when Marisa hit me up to start a radio show I was more than keen! I met the legendary Jen through Pink Noise and the three of us have been inseparable ever since.

Jen: Jennifer Finley, one third of Pink Noise. Likes include: long walks on the beach, the smell of pine, a good book with a tea, corgi puppies, and destroying the patriarchy. Myself and Marisa used to sling beers at a late night music venue together as bartenders, we bonded over rude customers, great dance moves, and a bad sense of humour. She was also the one that brought me and Mari together to make our little cosmo cocktail we call Pink Noise.

How did you come to be involved in community radio?Marisa: I was occasionally DJing on the station for another show and fell in love with it so I got greedy and wanted my own show.

Mari: I started volunteering at FBi Radio just over a year ago and got to get involved with lots of different aspects of how a community station runs, from manning the front desk to programming music. Starting Pink Noise I've also gotten to know the Bondi Beach Radio community. It's so great to see so many people working hard in Sydney to keep community radio running.

Jen: This is my first stint in community radio and honestly the first time I’ve even heard my voice recorded. Marisa is the one that brought me on the show and both Marisa and Mari are the reason I’ve stayed. There's been a good rapport between us and Bondi Beach Radio, they have been nothing but supportive of everything we have done and have given us the freedom to program the show however we like.

Tell us a bit about the initial concept for the show, what sparked the inception of PINK NOISE?

Marisa: Men completely dominate music for no good reason. It was time to shine a light on those previously overlooked. It came as a direct result of DJing on another show and realising how male-centric all the playlists were combined with basically copying (or "translating") the idea from my housemate who started a film festival for women.

Mari: We knew, coming from music/event backgrounds, the wealth of talented artists, producers and DJs that identify as female or non-binary in Sydney as well as around the world. It can be hard sometimes to find supportive platforms in radio and events so we wanted to provide that.

Has your initial idea for the show come into fruition or has it evolved since it started one year ago?

Marisa: I think it has naturally evolved. We definitely started out as a cute little Squirtle doing a lot of deep-sea fishing in the electronic music ocean for tunes by people we had never heard of. Now we are a Wartortle, making our own small waves in Sydney's scene, taking our time to grow into the beautiful Blastoise that we all strive to be.

Mari: While the core of what drives the show has stayed the same, we've definitely evolved much faster than what we anticipated. Thinking back to what we've been able to achieve in one year, the amazing guests we've had on, our debut mixtape and our upcoming first event... it's pretty mind-blowing.

Tell us a bit about why you think it’s so important to host an all female platform?Marisa: When you listen to our show you know already know the tunes are female identifying or non-binary artists. That way you focus on the music. It's not like "hey all- check out this female DJ!" It's like "Hey- check out this DJ."

Mari: For me it's all about inspiring young kids out there who want to get their music out there, start producing or DJing, put on cool events, who might feel like the industry isn't for them. We want to show that anyone can create cool music and there are events and organisations out there that will support and champion what you do.

Jen: Growing up we are conditioned on what we shouldn't do. We shouldn't wear skirts too short, we should walk at night, we shouldn't wear too much make up. So at a certain point we need to start telling ourselves we can do it, and we should do it. By having an all female platform where we control the conversations on positive femme things we are not only supporting female musicians who may be overshadowed but hopefully breaking that attitude of ‘shouldn’t’ by representation. It's important to build a community where people feel accepted, and we do that by being women that support women.

What’s response been like to an all female platform?

Marisa: So far it's been great! The support has been unreal. We are here to promote and give exposure to the artists and DJs in Sydney that we want to see more of so it's nice to know people are paying attention. It's pretty cool when people say they've heard of the show.

Mari: The response has been so positive, and I'm always pleasantly surprised to see how keen our guests are to come on the show.

In what ways would you like to see this concept applied to other areas of the industry?

Marisa: I want to see more diversity in all areas of the industry- live sound engineers, studio engineers, lighting designers, stage managers, tour managers and soundtrack composers. My biggest pet hate in this industry is when people say "where is the sound guy?" or "does anyone know a sound guy?" I think "Sound Engineer" is a hot af gender neutral term and hey it makes you look smarter when you say it cos it has more syllables.

Mari: Lineups are a big one. We've started to see a shift away from the all-male electronic music festival lineup, but I'm looking forward to the day where female artists and DJs are no longer tokenised and diversity is prioritised by all festival bookers.

Jen: I was reading a triple j hack article that said, statistically when going through high school, girls and boys are represented equally in music classes and in the HSC, but then there's a significant drop going into the workforce. At some point these girls think that music isn't a thing they shouldn't do, whether they feel like they can’t approach the technical part or they simply lack of confidence. Giving young girls to more exposure to female artists or different aspects of the industry I feel like is a good start in encouraging new talent. Music programs and TAFE courses specifically targeting high school girls can break a stigma and build the confidence you need in a male dominated industry. It shouldn't be the case of competent girls being overshadowed by over confident boys,

Are you ladies musicians or DJs? What are your thoughts about the current climate for women in music?

Marisa: I started out playing in a band. It's amazing when you rock up to a venue and people working there assume you don't know how your own gear works. I also DJ a bit now. Men basically dismiss you as being a part of musical conversations because they think you know nothing and when you do talk about gear or vinyl collecting a lot of the time men are surprised and make tokenistic comments about your knowledge and authenticity.

Mari: Things are definitely changing for the better, but I think there are still some pretty pervasive assumptions around women in music, conscious or not. Like, female electronic act? Must have a male producer. Girl in a band? Must be the vocalist.

How would you like to see this change?

Marisa: I want to see it stop. I want the language to change and for people stop assuming that I'm just at the gig cos I'm some dudes girlfriend.

Mari: More visibility around the women who are defying the stereotypes. More female producers with male vocalists, I say.

Tell us a bit about the guests you have had on air

Marisa: All our guests have been so amazing. It's really empowering to see people like Mowgli May and Kimchi Princi absolutely slay and achieve their goals. They're the kinds of people who give no fucks and brush the haters- I loooooove those kinds of people.

Mari: The talent and hustle from each and every guest we've had on Pink Noise, including flower boy, Annie Bass, GIRLIRL and many more, inspires me daily.

What have been some of the highlights over the last 12 months?Marisa: The Ladies Network and Purple Sneakers giving us props and the mixtape coming into fruition.

Mari: Working alongside these two amazing and inspirational ladies over the past year has been a massive highlight.

What’s next for Pink Noise?

Our event as part of Vivid is going to be amazing so make sure you keep free!

Be sure to keep your ears out for Pink Noise's highly anticipated second mixtape, and Vivid show announcement...

Words by Rosie Rae