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Éclat Crew – Building confidence in female, trans and non-binary electronic music producers

Ivy Rossiter – Photo: Daniel Iglesias

Four years ago, Ivy Rossiter arranged the first Eclat Crew meetup: a music making event for female, trans and non-binary people. Today Éclat Crew have been encouraging hundreds of people. At the meetings, the participants learn everything from the basics of electronic music-making, to building self-confidence as producers.

New Zealander Ivy Rossiter began her music career as an indie guitarist and singer and toured around Europe. When she came to Berlin, the electronic music scene caught her attention which made her retrain from traditional guitar to the world of digital soundscapes.

For Ivy herself, the transition to electronic music seemed natural, but already when she began her new musical journey, she noticed that something was missing.

"When I first started I was going to different music making meet-ups around Berlin, but I was very often the only non cis-male person there. Everyone there was very friendly, and having real people to ask for help made my learning much faster and easier. But there was only very few female, trans or non-binary people there.”

She tried to invite her female friends who were also interested in starting to create electronic music, but was always met by the same answer. They didn’t feel confident enough.

For Ivy, the friends' answer became the start of what would later become Éclat Crew and she took matters into her own hands.

“When one of the meet-ups I was attending stopped running, I really missed the social environment and practice. I also wanted to start something for my own community - for those people who, for whatever reason, weren’t showing up at the events I’d been going to. I hoped that creating a designated safe space would encourage music-makers from underrepresented genders to feel more confident and comfortable about walking into a music-making space.”

In September 2018, the first meet-up took place at The Workshop, Kreuzberg where the Founder, Mary Fischer, let the music makers use the space for free.

“We kept the same format as the events I’d been attending - a time-limited, sample-based music making workshop - except that it was only for female, trans and non-binary people. At the first meet-up we had five people attending, we did it again two weeks later and it kept growing. Now we get anywhere between 10 and 20 music makers regularly coming every 2 weeks.”

And that was the start of Éclat Crew, who is now one of the well known music making collectives for female, trans, and non-binary producers in Berlin.

“Everyone who attends our workshops are considered to be part of the Éclat community. Some come very regularly, and we have a core of around 20 members. Across the course of a year we’ll have maybe 100 different music makers attend at least once. Because our workshops are very regular, happening every two weeks, people can decide themselves how often they want to attend our meet-ups, and most do come back.”

Today Éclat Crew is a safe space for mutual support where the participants can gather, evolve and support each other in learning everything from basics in any DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to advanced music production. The meet-ups are always following the same procedure, which has been given great response from the participants over the years.

“The meet-ups always follow the same structure. After some quick introductions, I introduce the night’s music-making challenge. Everyone starts with the same set of samples or sounds to work with, and everyone has two hours to make a new, 2-minute-long piece of music from those sounds or samples. After the making time, we meet again and have a ‘celebratory listening session’, where we share what we’ve made and how we made it.”

The listening session isn’t characterized by critical listening, rather the opposite.

“I like to call it ‘celebratory listening’ rather than critical listening. It’s all about celebrating the fact that we’ve all had the courage to join the group, to sit down at our computers or hardware for two hours, and to make and share something new. No matter how new the person is to making music, or how nervous they might be about sharing their track, everyone always has something positive to say about what they’re hearing, and that’s such a huge confidence boost. I want everyone to leave feeling encouraged to keep making things, to keep sharing them, and to start putting their music out into the world.”

Do you want to join the Éclat Crew? Get to know the collective better through www.eclatcrew.com

Ivy’s five tips on how to start with Ableton Live.

  • Find a non-trash YouTube channel to follow and watch their tutorials. My favorite intro to Ableton is called "Don't Panic! Ableton Live Explained in 37 minutes or less" by a fellow called LoopOp.

  • Set yourself a time limit each time you sit down. Try playing with the software for an hour, or maybe two. But STOP while you're having fun! Don't keep going til you're frustrated, cause then you'll never want to open the software again!

  • Learn how to export your tracks right from the start, even if they're only 15 or 30 seconds long. Save every single one in a playlist on your computer, even if you hate them. As you add more tracks to the playlist, you'll keep track of how much music you're making, and how much progress you've made.

  • There's no such thing as 'cheating' when you're making music. Like a loop? Use it! Like someone else's track? Try copying it! Remember, Rihanna's 'Umbrella' was made with a straight-up Garageband drum loop.

  • Find a production buddy and send each other the things you make. Better yet, come to Éclat and find a whole community of production buddies!


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