Bubblewrappe Discusses Overcoming Adversity and Efforts to Bring Diversity to EDM.
Looking back over your first interview, there’s certainly a lot of ground to cover. Let’s start off by talking about the moment you got serious about DJing. What went into making that decision and what kept you motivated to keep pushing your career forward?
Before that point, I was very unhappy with where I was in life. I felt like I had spent a long time trying to ignore my calling. Throughout all of that, music has been the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted to do. When I was 34, I made the decision to seriously get sober and I gave myself a deadline to accomplish my goals. I told myself that if I didn’t make any progress with my passion project by the age of 40, I would return to school or work on moving up the ladder at my day job. When I made that goal, it really lit a fire under my ass to get up and get going because I no longer could afford to waste time and put off my dreams. I spent the next six years working as hard as I could on my art and skills and then, a few months before my 40th birthday, I made the decision to start my own label. When the big forty rolled around, I was standing there thinking, “Wow, I’m really doing this!”
That experience helped me realize that my biggest and most important goal was to unite people through music. I wanted to create a label for women to release their music on and realize that they aren’t alone in this male-dominated industry.
Another reason for starting my label was because of some shady stuff that happened when I was releasing my music with another person. At the time, everyone around me was telling me that the guy I was collaborating with wanted to sleep with me. It happens more often than you think to the point where I have to tells guys up front that it’s going to be purely business if we work together on something. It’s just ridiculous that I still have to tell people that. Luckily, I now work with a crew of woke-ass people that all respects each other. I also think that having my own label makes men respect me a bit more. These days, when I go out with friends and I’m being introduced to someone new, they’ll usually do a double take when they learn that I run a legitimate, well distributed record label.
Could you talk about some specific instances where you were discriminated against because you're a woman?
There’s so many. The most common one is showing up all dressed up for a show only to have the stage security tell me that it’s an talent-only area. As much as I want to blow up in their face, I just tell them nicely that I’m actually playing that night. If I told them off in a rude way, I’d get labeled a bitch which is never a good image to have. I actually don't dress up as much anymore when I play because it changes the dynamic.
How has the label changed how people treat you?
Before the label, I already had a good reputation for being professional and being easy to work with, but now people are hitting me up, asking to be involved. When I was mulling over whether I should move forward with the label, a lot of people I talked to were really supportive and wanted to get involved. Now, I have six artists on my roster. My mission is to create a safe place in the industry for women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community to release good House music. Once you have a mission that’s positive and for the good of the scene, a lot of people will gravitate towards that.
What else do you do besides music?
I’m a full time DJ but I recently cut my hours at this bikini bar so that I could focus on the label. I also do some consulting from time to time for other people in the industry.
Could you please share some of your thoughts and experiences with drug addiction and the music scene?
Absolutely. It’s a cycle that starts by taking whatever substance once a month at a party. After a while then it becomes twice a month, weekly, daily, and by that time you have created a neural pathway that your brain recognizes that the party comes with the substance. When that connection is made, it’s hard to break because you’ll start to crave and need the substance without the party. When you get to this stage, you’re really fucked. All the stuff you had going in your life will go south real quick. For me, it got to the point where I had to be constantly babysat and looked after. People around me attributed it to strong pills when in reality I was in the tight grip of drug addiction. There’s a lot of misinformation about drugs. Like, no one was as health conscious as they are today. Back in 1999-2001, I was a dealer and we personally tested all our shipments, but it was still just a free for all. I think I took MDMA every day for a year almost and it just made me so sick. Taking something like that eventually stops your brain from making serotonin and puts you in a really dark place.
I want to state also that I don't begrudge others for using anything. A lot of my friends in the scene partake in those sort of activities so I offer to drive all them home to make sure they’re safe. Being sober in Electronic music is like being vegan: it’s a personal choice. I won’t force my decision and lifestyle on others and I hope they’ll treat me the same way.
What are your goals regarding to the label and DJing?
I want to tour the world with my friends! I have decided to forgo the typical motherhood route so that I can travel and play music. I want to help create a new standard for women in the industry. I want PLUR to actually be a real thing. As a community, I think we’re really leading the way with these progressive movements but there’s still a long way to go. The little things we do now will determine how the future plays out. I want my shows to be a place of love and inclusivity. That’s why our first EP was named "Inclusive Beats." Inclusivity turns the art into magic and makes everyone feel at ease to let all the amazing things flow through all of us.
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