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Hackney Wick's Xylo Aria launches Music Production for Women movement

PUBLISHED: 10:41 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:09 13 August 2019

Xylo Aria has set-up Music Production for Women. Picture: Leonor Gomes.

Xylo Aria has set-up Music Production for Women. Picture: Leonor Gomes.

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Xylo Aria isn't in the mood to hang around. "It's time we started empowering ourselves and each other," she says. "If we wait for others to provide the stepping stone, we'll be waiting forever."

Aria produced her first record, Pig, in 2017. Picture: Michelle Trifiletti.Aria produced her first record, Pig, in 2017. Picture: Michelle Trifiletti.

These are solid words to live by in general, but more specifically Aria is addressing the gender imbalance which currently grips the world of music production. The Hackney Wick-based musician points out that just five per cent of producers right now are female, and so she's stepping in to do something about it.

Earlier this year, she quit her job to devote her full attention to Music Production for Women (MPW). "It's an online learning platform to encourage more women to get in to music production," she explains.

"It's something I wish I had when I was starting to produce. I realised there was nothing out there like this - we needed a collective that was women only. (When there's) 90 per cent men in the room, it can turn a lot of women off - they don't finish their courses, or feel like it's not for them.

"There's a strong community around MPW, it's there to support each other whenever we need it."

Xylo Aria. Picture: Zoe Baumgartner.Xylo Aria. Picture: Zoe Baumgartner.

Born in India and raised in Australia, Aria's grandmother introduced her to the joys of traditional Indian Carnatic music, and she was creating her own material by the age of 12.

Aria first took the decision to produce her own music in 2017 - her first track, Pig, includes lyrics about taking better care of the environment - and she made her move to establish MPW after the tragic death of a close friend late in 2018.

Setting up MPW was "something I had been thinking about for a while actually. (I thought) I'll get around to it - I was working full-time and then in November last year, one of my close friends passed away really suddenly. One minute she was there and the next she wasn't.

"I feel like that changed a lot of things for me, it really put things in to perspective. If there's something you really want to do, now is the time - there is no point delaying.

"I quit my job and started developing this (MPW). It was a massive lifestyle change, and I don't know how long it's gonna take to take off. But it's so rewarding; I get messages from girls all around the world saying I've been looking for something like this."

MPW offers a taster introduction session for free, which gives a little flavour of the online course and a brief summary of what electronic music production is actually all about.

From there, the full course takes students through the basics of what each section of a Digital Audio Workstation does, through to setting up a track and the stage of mixing. The course has seven modules - Introduction, Drums, Synths, Sampling, Audio Effects, Recording and Mixing - made up of five to 10 short videos, each about seven minutes long. They're in bitesize sessions "so people aren't overwhelmed - I know everyone has things going on," she adds.

Aria has been stationed in east London since 2017 and says she has found her home amongst the creative neighbourhood of Hackney Wick. "There's a suburb in Melbourne that is quite artistic, exactly like Hackney Wick. As soon as I saw the house (I knew) this was the place, with its graffiti, hipster cafes and very chilled vibe."

The 28-year-old hopes to build on her MPW brand with the launch of a podcast - which will discuss different musical topics with a guest expert in that area - and her dream is to eventually "make amazing music which wouldn't have been done if it wasn't for MPW.

"(I want) to reach as many women out there as I can help, if by any chance I can change the dial of five per cent of producers being women, that would be amazing. I'm a small entity and that's a big goal."

For more information on Music Production for Women, click here.

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