Guest Lecture – Katia Isakoff 2015

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 18.25.10

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.

Guest Lecture – Katia Isakoff


Katia Isakoff is a composer, record producer (Add N to (X)), mix engineer, studio owner, academic and member of JAMES, and she recently came to Lincoln to talk to students about her experiences in the music industry.

Katia put to use her wealth of experience and advised students about studio etiquette and how to get the best performance from an artist, and the importance of understanding the basics of music business in order to deal with contractual and financial matters. She also discussed the issues of how she navigates the often male-oriented world of music production and the music industry in general.

The link between academic theory and music production practice is something that concerns this course greatly and it was very interesting to hear how Katia brings these two areas together with her work at JAMES and the Art Of Record Production conferences and publications.

Beyond Bollywood

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 13.44.47
Journalist Sarfraz Manzoor visits India to meet a new generation of musicians and singers performing Indie, Reggae, Ska and Rap, and examines whether this western influenced scene can seriously rival the trademark sounds of Bollywood and Bangra.

Although Bollywood music is still the mass market choice on Indian stereos the alternative scene continues to grow and find its voice. Recently there’s been a notable rise in the number of rock music festivals, dance nights and music events attracting aspiring young Indians.

To discover the impact this alternative music scene is having on India, Sarfraz Manzoor journeys to the Hauz Khas Village in Delhi, often cited as the catalyst for introducing a wave of new bands and fresh musical genres into the market.

Hauz Khas is home to the offices of the Indian version of The New Musical Express and Manzoor speaks with its Editor Sam Lal and learns how the Village and the internet has been pivotal in the advancement and popularity of artists such as the Ska Vengers and Rapper Prozpekt who produce socially relevant music.

Exploring India’s first alternative radio station, Radio 79, Manzoor meets with Raghav Dang who broadcasts Pressure Drop and is a founder member of the band The Reggae Rajas. Meeting female artists Talia Bentson and Ritika Singh he also discovers why women are very happy to pursue a singing career in the East.

As India’s alternative music scene continues to develop Manzoor will explore the challenges ahead and learn whether these new songs provide a greater sense of identity for young people.

Audio Production Is For Girls!

Picture – three of the seven young women studying Audio Production; Alex, Lilly and Galani.

BA (Hons) Audio Production is in its third year, meaning we now have students at all three levels. Of these, we have a small but growing number of young women: three at level two (of twenty seven students) and four at level one (of thirty one students). However, we still have relatively few female applicants. I talked to Jasia, Galani and Alex to find out why, in a field that has traditionally attracted many more males than females, they were compelled to buck the trend and study Audio Production.

Galani: “I knew I wanted to be in a sound-related job from being in secondary school, when I first picked up guitar lessons. I had this youthful perception of being a “rockstar” musician. However, as I got older, my interest grew into the technical aspects of production. I started to research more into sound engineering and knew from then on that this is what I wanted to do for my career. When I came to university, I was pleased that the course opened up new areas such as film, television and radio too, and I fell in love with sound for visual media!”

Alex: “I think girls get put off of doing audio because of the theoretical and technological side of sound and the practices that come with it – they assume it’s a subject for boys. But for me that is the interesting part, learning the ins and outs of everything. Sound as a whole interests me and is something I want to keep learning about and make into my career.”

Jasia: “From an early age I have listened to radio and there is still a lack of women presenters which has driven me to my ambition of becoming a radio presenter. Audio Production is a great course to widen knowledge and gain experience for future jobs in the industry.”

As the women here verify, there are many aspects to audio production and the reasons for choosing to study on the course are as wide-ranging. Audio Production has its technical aspects, of course. However, there is no reason for it to suffer from the same challenges of gender stereotyping as subjects like engineering, chemistry and computer science despite the very unhelpful images of bikini-clad models holding synthesizers that still appear in today’s music technology magazines.

The challenge then is ours: to find ways to communicate to female applicants that this is not a ‘boys with toys’ course but a rich and creative learning environment involving the many aspects of audio production. I hope this blog post goes some way towards that.

Link – Julie Allinson from the University of York describes her gender stereotype work at University of Lincoln’s DevXS