Writing by Anya Trybala // Photographs by Claire Hardman
“Visibility is the key to dismantling stereotypes; like the idea that there aren’t many women interested in electronic music. This, in turn, inspires more young women and girls to get involved.” Kaltès
My earliest memory I can recall was sitting in the living room watching a record spin and voices coming out from the tall brown things sitting upright beside the player. I thought there was a whole world stuck inside those speakers, singing out to me. Apparently I would sit and watch the speakers for ages, entranced. Dad was a big fan of the likes of Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre; progressive producers of electronic music that I absorbed like a big sponge.
That very memory actually sparked my song People in Speakers, which features on my Ninoosh EP Town of Two Hundred – and the first release on my label, Synth Babe Records, a collection of songs that are raw and emotional, with a woozy, electronic backdrop. I felt cathartic releasing it and empowered I could do it on my own label.
Music has always been the one thing that made sense to me – I struggled with other things, like extreme mood swings and anxiety (which turned out to be Bipolar II Disorder) a frustration and fear of math, awkward social skills as I navigated childhood to adolescence and getting bullied for being a bit chubby. But music has always been my saviour; my therapy.
I started Synth Babe Records in late 2015 after feeling inspired by ladies in music like Jessica Hopper, Jen Cloher, Amanda Palmer and Fever Ray. It’s a growing collective of female electronic music producers from different corners of the world – because they exist everywhere as I’ve discovered.
The core value of Synth Babe Records is to create visibility – I’m sure if I’d seen more female DJs and artists in my early years taking the stage, I wouldn’t have been such a late bloomer in the whole production game. I was always the one with an interesting voice or ability to write lyrics, but that was it. I was intimidated to just dive in.
Labels and music artists have had a notoriously rocky past – understandable due to the exploitative nature of the music industry. Stories of prolific artists like Leonard Cohen going bankrupt and needing to continue to tour well into the retirement years because of shoddy management makes my skin crawl – not to mention the countless female pop artists who have been exploited in the history of pop music. I want to shift this – so putting girls to the front and profit second.
Synth Babe Records is a collective aimed at championing women who make music with synths and electronic means. The electronic music industry is incredibly male dominated, so we aim to promote the pioneers and give a platform for emerging electronic artists. Artists who currently feature on the label include Ninoosh, The Fleurs, Tarsier and more as the label grows.
Support Synth Babe Records and become a patron for as little as a packet of chewing gum a month. If you would like to learn production, there is also the opportunity to become an honorary synth babe and have one-on-one online lessons with Ninoosh. Visit their Patreon.