Guest Lecture – Katia Isakoff 2015

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Blog post by level 3 Audio Production student Charlotte Mellor.

Katia Isakoff is a singer, songwriter, music producer (Add N To (X) for Mute Records), mixer (John Foxx) and sound designer who came to talk to us mainly about her new and upcoming project ‘Women Produce Music’. Although WPM is Katia’s latest project, she’s also worked on a huge scale of other things such as the co-founding of the West London studio UNIT20 with producer Steve D’Agostino in the mid-90s, lending vocals to composer and musician Barry Adamson, and doing various guitar performances which have featured in a Stephen Spielberg TV series. She also co-authored a conference paper with Richard Burgess (Women in Music Production: Education, Representation and Practice) delivered at the ARP conference.

Katia began the lecture by introducing women produce music as this was her main topic of conversation. Women Produce Music, although possibly misleading by name, isn’t a feminist works only project. Katia stated quite early on in her lecture that a high percentage of producers involved with the project are men, and over 50% of the WPM Twitter followers are in fact male too. Katia continued to explain how WPM involves academia as well as the industry, and the project aims to provide the support for music producers.

To establish WPM Katia talked about how they presented findings gathered from a ‘women as music producers’ research project, to various organisations around the UK. She also talked about the importance of building a social media presence before the launch of WPM to initially spark and establish interest from female and male music producers, and anyone else interested in music – the main platforms being Twitter and Facebook.

Katia spoke a bit about the state of the media and its cultural attitudes to female music producers in the music industry, and how the media tend to raise questions such as “so what’s it like to be a woman in such a male dominated industry?”. She also talked about how the media tended to focus on asking women’s opinions on the inequality of the industry, rather than focus on their talents – the main reasons why they’re at these panels etc in the first place. So she made it clear in the lecture that she’s happy to get controversial about those issues when raised.

On a personal level I found this lecture to be very inspiring due to the fact that Katia’s achieved so much in so many different parts of the industry. She comes across as a very strong and determined female, which is something I personally love to see and hear about, given that a lot of the industry is very male dominated. Also, the fact that she’s been involved in such a vast variety of projects over her career gives me confidence that possibilities within the industry don’t feel so limited.

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About David McSherry

Senior Lecturer in Audio Production