FEMME HOUSE | Celebrating Women, Women Identifying BIPOC & LGBTQIA Artists

The nonprofit releases new compilation to kick off Women’s History Month

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Photographed by Sarah Northrop

To kick off Women's History Month, FEMME HOUSE has released their second compilation, FEMME HOUSE Vol. 2,  in partnership with Insomniac Records. The nonprofit was created to break down barriers of entry in the music industry, for both those on the stage and behind the scenes. Only 2% of producers are female, and the organization has made great strides to see that number change.

Since launching in 2019 by producer/DJ and superstar in the making LP Giobbi and Lauren ‘HerMixALot’ Spaulding, FEMME HOUSE has amplified the voices of marginalized communities, raised over $900k, and educated over 10,000 individuals from over 1,400 cities in 77 countries worldwide through their online academy. Their program has offered free workshops on everything from music production to DJing, specialized online courses on studio techniques, a weekly radio show on SiriusXM highlighting non male DJs, and a bi-yearly scholarship program.

Femme House Vol. 2  features an all female and female-identifying artists, including LP Giobbi herself, Femme House CEO/synth-pop artist Mini Bear, tastemake Mary Droppinz, inclusivity advocate Baby Weight, rising sister house duo Lisbona Sisters, and more.

We spoke to the Femme House team, Co-FounderLauren Spaulding, and CEO Lauren Kop about their vision for the organization and making change in a male dominating industry.

Hi LP & Lauren, can you tell us a bit about your backstory, how the original seed of FEMME HOUSE was planted between LP & hermixalot, and the steps to getting the organization off the ground

HERMIXALOT: We’ve been best friends for over a decade, and we’ve tried a lot of things along the way, most of which we can’t talk about here. But I think what’s always bonded us is our penchant for big dreams and desire to make a positive impact. Our shared passion for changing things, making things equitable, making things reflective of our lived experiences, bringing other people along for the ride–that’s at the heart of FEMME HOUSE. There were SO many steps to getting it off the ground, but really what ultimately did it was a community of supporters who believed in the same things we did, a bunch of industry folks who were willing to help us, and an unwavering belief that we HAD to do something about that 2% statistic.

When you began your careers as DJs/Producers, what were some of the personal challenges you faced as females? What sort of barriers of entry did you encounter, ones that might have been expected in our society or some that came as a surprise?

HERMIXALOT: I’m no DJ or producer, but entering the music industry when I was 17 was a ride. I’m black, I’m masc, I’m queer–first of all, it wasn’t easy to actually give myself permission to be all those things and be them clearly and unapologetically. Also, it wasn’t easy finding my people, and it wasn’t easy being heard or taken seriously. That’s nothing new considering my lived experience, but it hits different in a creative industry that’s built on the contributions of labor and culture that people like me have had exploited over years and years. 

Lauren / mini bear: It took me a really long time to feel confident with my craft because when I started, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me visibly producing themself. One of the first audio engineering classes I took was made up of predominantly men, which made me feel extremely self-conscious and made it difficult to take up space. This was representative of how I would feel for a very long time, until I started seeing more diversity in these spaces and unlearning some things. Being able to see yourself in someone who is crushing it, particularly in areas where you want to thrive, can have a really positive effect on how much faith you put in yourself.  

What are your goals to support the gender-expansive community that FEMME HOUSE is uplifting within dance music? Is this a space that you feel was lacking proper resources in the past and what have you done to change that with FEMME HOUSE?

HERMIXALOT: My goal has always been reclamation. Queer black and brown people created this music. Having had our culture systemically stripped away, I’m personally trying to create space for that reclamation. At FEMME HOUSE, we’re trying to rebalance things. That’s why we start with, and center, education. For us, that education is a multi-use tool. We educate an underrepresented base of folks that have been shut out of their own culture. But we also educate the partners that we work with, and the public that watches what we’re doing by creating opportunities for those folks–this talent exists, these communities exist, they are worthy of these opportunities and resources.

Lauren / mini bear: As an educator, my overarching goal is to create the kind of learning space I wish I had when I was starting out. A space where people who are typically underrepresented feel empowered to learn the tools that will allow them to fully express their creativity. 

Can you share with us 1-2 of your favorite moments from FEMME HOUSE events in the past that have been moments that you felt proud of what the organization has accomplished and how it impacted a participant’s life?

HERMIXALOT: My personal favorite moment was Hulaween in 2022. We took over the Spirit Stage all day. Usually with a stage takeover, you expect folks to trickle in and out, maybe pass by, with things not hitting fever pitch until later in the evening. Our shit was jumpin’ from noon to 2AM. We’d run a contest to give away an opening slot on our stage, and the winners, Riva + Bianca out of Philly, got to play to a full crowd and win new fans. Riva is now a fellow with our Theresa Velasquez Memorial Scholarship program for LGBTQIA+ creators, and Bianca came on board earlier this year as our Community Manager. I think it’s so demonstrative of how FEMME HOUSE makes friends for life. This isn’t a community people pick and choose from, it’s one people live and breathe, and it’s what makes the organization so special. That’s true impact right? Impact that happens outside of us, and instead inside of the respective communities of the folks that come along for the ride with us.

Lauren / mini bear: This is not a particular event, but I occasionally will receive an email or DM from someone who has taken a workshop or course expressing appreciation for what they’ve gained from the resources we offer. This always fills me up with so much gratitude because I get to see in real time the positive impact the programming has had. 

Only 2% of top charting producers in dance music are female, and many lineups are still male-dominated. Can you share with us how FEMME HOUSE initiatives are actively working to change this in the future?

HERMIXALOT: We try to keep representation and opportunity at the forefront of what we do. How can we create opportunities for our community to not only show what they’re capable of, but also show it to the most people at once. Gatekeeping is such an unfortunate part of our industry, and we want to be gatekeepers too. But, we want to be the sorts of gatekeepers that leave gates open and invite everyone to come in. Our focus has always been creating our own ecosystem, so that we can be the decision makers for the folks that learn from us. Take a bunch of classes, get really good, come back to us and ask for help. That’s why we take on partnerships like this compilation with Insomniac, and why we book as many stages as we can. The thing about opportunity is that it only takes one. One look, one co-sign, one opening slot, one track on a label release? That’s evidence. That’s evidence for yourself, that’s evidence for other gatekeepers, that’s evidence that you can play a big stage, that you can produce, that you can do anything. 

FEMME HOUSE has reached some incredible milestones educating over 10,000 students and raising over $990k. Can you share other women who have paved the way for you, and how they have personally impacted and inspired you to make a difference?

HERMIXALOT: LP inspires me like no other. The artist that she is inspires enough, but the space that she’s mindful to create around her for other artists who might not have the spotlight she has is transformative. Another inspiration is Emily Lazar. Her GRAMMY nomination (she ended up being the first woman to win the category) was the catalyst for us starting FEMME HOUSE. We learned about that 2% statistic then. We ended up teaming up with her organization We Are Moving the Needle along with She Is The Music on our yearly She Is The Producer production bootcamp and she’s been an incredible ally and mentor, as has Michelle Arkuski who runs She Is The Music. I think every woman in the industry, working to create space for themselves and each other is a source of inspiration. There’s so much work to do, so many values to share, and so many shared fights.

Lauren / mini bear: LP and Lo (other Lauren haha) inspire me endlessly with what they’ve accomplished the past few years. It’s been so incredible to see everything that has been grown from an idea, and to see what kind of impact it’s had so far. I also am consistently inspired by friends who I’ve seen evolve from baby artists into artists who are killing it right now. 

As inspirational women in music and the kick-off to Women’s History Month, what’s something you wish you could tell your younger self and you’d like to share with marginalized communities as they look to find a path towards a career in music?

HERMIXALOT: Take up space! And when they act weird about it, create your own space! Your power is palpable, and that can make folks afraid. Let them be afraid, but don’t let them make you afraid. 

Lauren / mini bear: Be confident in who you are and lean into carving out your own path. The world is going to make you feel like you have to be a certain way or like you need to draw within the lines, but you are meant to shine as you are and to create your own pathways. 

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Femme House, Music