2% Rising: Meet Dutchie

Audio Media International is delighted to present the next instalment in an ongoing series of engineer and producer interviews as part of our partnership with 2% Rising. Here, we catch up with Bristol-based DJ, producer, tutor and songwriter Dutchie…

Launched by artist and producer Rookes and mastering engineer and AMI columnist Katie Tavini, 2% Rising was founded in response to the widely reported statistic that female producers only make up two per cent of the industry. The hub, which is currently over 380 members strong (and still growing), is intended to serve as a safe space for women and gender minority producers to converse, share opportunities, ask questions and network. Sound designer Suze Cooper recently joined Rookes and Tavini as one of the group’s core staff members.

The partnership between AMI and 2% Rising will see us posting monthly spotlights on some of the most exciting new talent emerging from the network, while providing regular updates on its latest developments and activities.

Here, Dutchie tells us how she began her career in music, the challenges facing the industry and how the music business is changing…

Can you tell us where you’re based and what you do in the pro music and audio industry?
I am based in Bristol and write, produce and DJ music under the name Dutchie as well as working as a freelance sound engineer, technician for dBs Music and production technician at Minirigs. I also teach a sound engineering course for wxman run by Saffron Records and sing backing vocals in a band called The Co-Operators.

How did you come to work in music and audio production?
I was encouraged to play instruments from a young age and was playing sax in a volunteer navy band at around 13 years old. I learnt to use Logic a few years later, moved out to go to music production college in Plymouth, and started working as a broadcast engineer at a local radio station, which was my first foray into engineering work.

Once I moved to Bristol to do my degree in 2015, I started meeting people in the live sound industry and managed to build up a steady stream of freelance engineering work. It was also during this time that I started releasing my own music and playing DJ sets as Dutchie: I played my first ever public DJ set at an open deck vinyl night called Revinyl Sessions and went on to become a core member of that crew, and my debut release ‘Easy EP’ came out on a bristol based label called Hold Tight Records a few years later.

What’s been the job you’ve most enjoyed in your career so far?
Working as the patch engineer for Sister Sledge was awesome, they were super friendly and put on an amazing show. Working on the Hidden Woods at Boomtown was also a highlight, loads of my favourite bands were booked each year so I got really into seeing how they set up their live shows. I’ve also really enjoyed the travelling that stemmed from my DJ sets and singing in a band for the first time ever.

Of which achievement do you feel proudest?
I feel very proud of my engineering teaching work even though I am relatively new to it. Watching a group of women go from bewildered with 100 questions, to confidently setting up a full band on stage with little to no help from me is just amazing to see!

What’s been the most difficult or challenging aspect of your job?
Dealing with sexist comments and patronising remarks is pretty difficult, people looking through you asking ‘where is the engineer’. But also working the festival circuit is challenging as it’s physically and mentally exhausting.. This year one of the biggest challenges has been creative block and trying to adapt as an artist to an environment which has completely changed! For months I couldn’t even think about making music: every time I tried I would just get frustrated, but I gave myself a break for a while and have managed to break through that stage.

What do you want to focus on in the future?
My creative output took a back seat for a while as I was so focussed on working, so I’m going to work on developing my own music. I’ve been ‘making beats’ for years but lately I have been really enjoying doing more vocal writing and recording, so I’m going to aim to complete some substantial live projects over the coming year. I’ve also started a masters in sound production to help me focus on and think about my work from new perspectives.

How do you feel the pro music and audio industry has changed (or not) since you started to now? 
I have noticed an increasing feminine presence in production and engineering courses, more female producers releasing music and there has been a huge surge in women getting into DJing which has been really nice to see. I’m still the only woman on the sound tech team at most events, festivals, and jobs, but hopefully this will slowly change.

Have you ever been star-struck by anyone you’ve worked with?
Iseo and Dodosound. I listened to so much of their music that when they turned up to play on my stage, I hardly knew what to say and just got really flustered. Also when I met Aphrodite, his ‘Bad Ass’ record was one of the first I ever owned and I learnt to beatmatch with it, all I could do was basically thank him…

Which artists and producers are you listening to right now? 
Joy Crookes, Duchess, Joe Yorke (all very inspiring to me vocally), Sault, Khruangbin and a load of more electronic stuff from Egoless, Somah, Alphabets Heaven, Sully, Riffs, Kreed

What do you feel that being a member of 2% Rising has given you? 
It has opened my eyes to how many other awesome women are working in technical and creative music jobs! I’ve never really been able to geek out about music tech with other ladies so it’s really nice to be part of a community that is so enthusiastic about their work, and so willing to share ideas, tips and techniques with each other.