Femmeuary Finale! Art, Prose, Music, Poetry, Crayola Guitars and Sisterly Love

Originally posted 4th March 2015 on Lemon People

Each year Femmeuary provides some of the most intimate work I have read online. This year’s piece by Yoni – the best pseud ever, IMHO – has surpassed this intimacy. There are always many stories to relate to in Femmeuary, for all genders, but this particular non fiction piece stood out by not shouting out, but speaking directly to its readers. ‘The Men In My Life’ will break your heart a little – not in pity, but in empathy – as it address each inner voice, that just wants to stop.stop.stop. – while talking to you with the intelligent logical mind of a strong, driven and hyper aware girl/woman/feminist superhero (without any ‘correct feminist’ superiority). Just read it already. (buying options for zine below;))

Georgia Flowers has provided beautiful illustrations for many pieces included in Femmeuary, and each has fitted its subject perfectly, while retaining Georgia’s inimitable style. She read out Brodi’s incredible piece ‘Let Her Cry’ – a touching, oft hilarious look into the damsel in distress disorder our society creates. With such a large crowd – people were listening in from the corridoor like polite church mice – there was always the possibility the acts would be drowned out. Instead, it was quiet as a pin drop through Brodi’s, Yoni’s
Maia Thomas showed her animation ‘Don’t Diet, Riot!’, which was similar to Yoni’s piece in its direct dialogue with the audience. Don’t Diet, Riot relates personal feelings of inadequacy to the wider political, cultural and social landscape, showing the conflict between believes, like not wanting to conform to elistism, and day-to-day challenges to that, such as still wanting to go to a ‘good’ university so you will be considered intelligent.

Cate Ferris blew the audience along on her carousel, with a mis of tape recorders, loops, synths, vocabulary tricks and something that make you want to be her best friend. Contortula is a new favourite word, with a Latin base in a thing that has broken from, and is beautiful. In Cate’s words ‘all of us’. She proved this, as we all swooned under the power of her crayola guitar and Joni through Kate vocals.

A friend of mine left, believing that after Cate, there could be no more enjoyment. He turned out to be wrong. Next were the Pink Lizards – a 00’s Janis Joplin flying on a Jefferson Airplane and screaming us into a moshing mass of hysteria (and yes there were men there, so screw gendered hysteria).

Femmeuary will be back with more. So watch these spaces:

Alice Ash

Brodi Snook 

Chloe Hardwood

Sarah Dearing

Georgia Flowers 

and Lemon People as Steph Wilson contributed widely and I (Alice, hi) was kindly asked to be a contributing editor this year

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An interview with Therapy

‘If a track is ready to go now, we go now. ‘

‘The release is a part of the therapy as is the creation. The creation isn’t enough. We have to expose something of ourselves.‘

I’m talking to Sean CG, the head of new label ‘Therapy’. Therapy is not just one of a huge growth in independent labels. Therapy’s philosophy particularly interests me, as a story lover and a nerd, as it’s based in the dialogue of their output. They present this dialogue as it occurs. It’s personal, the artist’s relations are intimate, and it bares all through the immediacy of the Internet.

‘It’s not a new idea but it’s very liberating, away from the context of the traditional industry’

Working with Soundcloud, almost exclusively at the moment, they bring to mind a technological serial, akin to the metered out publication of books since Victorian times, such as ‘Middlemarch’. Our obsession with narrative hasn’t waned – This American Life’s ‘Serial’ has been extremely popular, and famous instagrams, pintrests, tumblr’s and blogs work around their own continuous narratives. These grow with their creators, as Therapy has begun to do  – releasing this narrative while it continues to develop.

‘ A large part of the ethos behind this label is narrative dialogue. The relationship between the artist and the audience and the artist and the label.’

This was the case in previous years, when a record could be pressed and released in less than a month due to a mass of independent producers. As giant labels have grown, and middlemen have multiplied, this direct conversation between artist and audience has lessened as the gap between has widened. Therapy are one of a handful of labels addressing this – either through their own vinyl production, or, for Therapy, and many independent artists, Soundcloud allows work to be released immediately.

‘There’s a kind of disparity between the work being produced and created and it’s release, or delivery to the public, to the extent of tracks held for years…It can damage the dialogue.‘

The dialogue itself? Therapy currently represents Participant, Ezra, S O F T L Y, and Dunlop, but as it grows more artists are sure to join the ranks. Their work grows in collaboration and reveals a new undercurrent for each artist as they experiment freely under the wing of ‘Therapy’. It’s fitting that their first – euphoric, a tad uncanny – release was NOT ENOUGH Feat. Tyson – collaboration between EZRA and Dunlop.

‘We talk, and we release work over time. No one ever releases something just once with the label’

It’s well known that creative output is therapeutic. For Sean ‘the music making process extends into the internet, and into sharing…a part of the therapy that we associate with the internal, being at home…the internet is the geographical artists space’

With artists playing in London, Amsterdam and New York, Therapy’s tight knit community crosses geographic boundaries. Having a cup of tea with some of Therapy’s artists is always an exploratory experience, and an educational one. I’ve been played ghetto house, soothing pop, psychadelia, soundtracks and German choral music – with a focus the perfectly crafted, whether obscure or hugely popular. Respect for a good beat, clean production, pioneering sound experiments and creamy vocals run through their work so far. This amounts to three releases – Therapy are in no rush to grow too quickly. There’s an element of suspense. Their intimacy comes through the output, and Sean’s word ‘exposed’ suits the feeling.

Will Therapy move past our screens into live events?
‘We’re very interested in having events – public spaces – where we get to premier the work, and the artists have a good time. Honestly, these things are more likely to take place unofficially organized by people peripheral to the label. Friends in France, Berlin, London, talking about hosting events…It’s got to take place from within.’

Labels like Therapy are taking control of their input, beyond mainstream avenues. This is partly thanks to new groups like Creative Commons. Creative Commons creates licenses for creative projects, such as SoundCloud, bandcamp and the Free Music Archive, which allow for a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law. These labels engage directly with their audience, and while millions aren’t made when so many releases are free, the narrative between listener and creator is stronger.

Follow Therapy’s story here: https://soundcloud.com/thelabeltherapy