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Smart Bar Talent Buyer Talks DAPHNE, A New Women In Music Series

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 3, 2015 7:10PM

Photo of Marea Stamper courtesy and with permission from Aldo Paredes

Smart Bar, in a nod to Greek mythology, electronic music's first female pioneer Daphne Oram and all women that have contributed to the genre since, launches DAPHNE: A Women's Movement In Dance Music this month, bringing national, international, up and coming and seasoned talent to the Wrigleyville nightclub.

"If women are just breaking through now, then what were Superjane doing here ten years ago?"
Curated by Metro/Smart Bar's talent buyer Marea Stamper—also a heralded dance music artist who performs as The Black Madonna—DAPHNE's highlights are obvious: a reunion by Chicago female supergroup Superjane (DJ Colette, DJ Heather and Lady D); a workshop featuring a live hardware demonstration from Erika; a lecture from Stamper and Samone on the history of women's participation in electronic music and a discussion of leadership styles and being a working mom in dance music by Sassmouth; and The Black Madonna herself will even be a guest on the tables at this month's Hugo Ball.

If you dig deeper into the talent, you'll find plenty of other treats worth noting. This will mark the Chicago debut for both Aurora Halal and Rebekah. Local producer Honey Dijon will also spin her first set as a Smart Bar resident in the midst of DAPHNE.

In light of this monumentally awesome move by Smart Bar, Chicagoist spoke with Stamper about why DAPHNE was needed and what the response to the movement has been.

2015_03_daphne.jpg On the origins of DAPHNE:

MAREA STAMPER: It goes back to the notion that there just aren't enough [female electronic artists] to book. There's kind of a constant discussion when festival season rolls around. You have these enormous lineups and women are less than ten percent of the bill. There's always this response that, "There just weren't enough qualified candidates."

Don't get me wrong, I'm the buyer for a club. There are less women working in dance music, period. There is less to select from. The way around that is to identify that emerging talent early. Something that we have seen over and over again in studies is that men are hired for their potential and women are hired for their track record in technical fields. That can be a really difficult thing, especially in a technical field—which, electronic music is a technical field. You have a lot of women that are just getting started and they're no different than their male peers. There are many new, young, fresh male producers that are in the same point in their learning that comparable women are. I think that maybe we view them different.

So, one of my hopes for this is that we get away from the idea of this being an ingenue culture. What we know is that there are plenty of women to select from that are highly qualified. We want to make sure that we’re speaking back to the myths that women are just now entering the marketplace.

If women are just breaking through now, then what were Superjane doing here ten years ago?

On the response to DAPHNE so far:

MAREA STAMPER: My hope is that we will expand if we go forward. The interest that we've had in this has been extraordinary. When we announced, I had girls write me from other countries, asking me to sleep on my floor and some of them are doing it. We had people that begged to come and play on a Sunday for the price of a plane ticket, just to be able to be a part of it...It made me feel like now that the cat's out of the bag and we know that it's a thing that women want to contribute to, next year it can be more.

On the importance of movements and events like DAPHNE:

MAREA STAMPER: The original idea for this all came from Joe Shanahan daughter being my intern. I was also giving her DJ lessons and thinking about how much she and other young ladies like her would benefit from having a community of elders that they could reach out. It just didn't exist. Now all of the women that are participating are talking about it. I'm really proud of it because some of them are young and some of them are in their 40s and some of them are gay and some of them are straight and some of them are women of color and some of them are transgender women. You have a lot of different kinds of women and that will hopefully resonate with people who maybe have not seen someone who looks like them making electronic music.

A full list of events and artists follows:

Wednesday, March 4: Scary Lady Sarah, Boy Alberto, Eeeks Laroo
Friday, March 6: Honey Dijon, Garrett David, Mixwell B2B Karl Almaria
Saturday, March 7: Steffi, Samone, Michael Serafini
Thursday, March 12: Avalon Emerson, Lindsay Bailey
Friday, March 13: DAPHNE workshop featuring Erika, The Black Madonna, Sassmouth, Samone (8 p.m.)
Friday, March 13: Erika (Live), BMG, Sassmouth, Jarvi, Observer (10 p.m.)
Saturday, March 14: Aurora Halal, Ital, Hakim Murphy
Sunday, March 15: Queen! featuring Michael Serafini, Garrett David with special guest Cherushii
Friday, March 20: Rebekah, Annie Hall, DJ Shiva
Saturday, March 21: Hugo Ball with Justin Long, Nathan Drew Larsen and special guest The Black Madonna
Sunday, March 22: Queen! featuring Derrick Carter, Michael Serafini, Gerrett David with special guests Teri Bristol and Psychobitch
Friday, March 27: Superjane
Sunday, March 29: Queen! featuring Michael Serafini, Garrett David and special guest Lauren Flax

For more information on all events, visit Smart Bar's website and have a happy Women's History Month!