The Hum Series: An Interview with Sadie Dupuis and Gabriela Jimeno
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The Hum is a unique all-female collaborative music series where female musicians collaborate, write, and perform new material live, in the center of the room, for the very first time. The Hum’s mission is to highlight the double standard in the industry that makes it unusual for audiences to experience a night of music composed entirely by women

Over 200 musicians have participated in The Hum to date including Kimbra, Kaki King, members of The Cranberries, Cat Power, MIA and many more. The final show of the May 2017 season is tonight, May 25th at NYC’s (le) poisson rouge with Deradoorian, Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto), The Blow and more. Culture Collide spoke with The Hum collaborators Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz), and Gabriela Jimeno (Ela Minus) to learn more about the series’ impact:

Sadie Dupuis is the guitarist and lead vocalist for the band Speedy Ortiz. She participated in The Hum earlier this May.

How did you come across the opportunity to participate in The Hum?
Sadie: I met Rachael [founder] at Shea Stadium in 2011, one of the very first Speedy Ortiz shows. A few of my friends and collaborators have performed at The Hum in prior years, so when she asked me to be involved this year I made sure to carve out some time off from touring to be there.

Sadie Dupuis / photo Julia Drummond

In what ways has this experience changed your perception of how gender functions in the music world?
Sadie: As a full-time working musician I have a good sense of how women are excluded from certain music scenes, are paid less for their work than all-male groups, and aren’t booked or billed high on good-paying festivals. So it’s been a focus for me this past year to perform and tour and record almost exclusively with women, both as performers and crew. In that sense I don’t think The Hum impacted my perception of gender in the industry any more than my own experience, but I’m always really excited to learn about new awesome musicians I can support.

What was your favorite part about this experience?
Sadie: Covering Miguel, getting RTed by Miguel, getting to learn a few awesome songs by my new favorite band Homme!

Bogotá, Colombia electronic artist, Gabriela Jimeno is the singer and producer behind Ela Minus.

How did this collaboration differ from past ones for you?
Gabriela: I don’t think I’ve ever collaborated with only women, which seems absurd now. Also, true collaboration is really hard to find. It means there has to be an environment of absolute trust on every level. There is no fear to say what you think, to add your own ideas, or to make mistakes. It has to feel completely safe for great things to happen, and this absolutely felt like that. It felt special and powerful.

In what ways has this experience changed your perception of how gender functions in the music world?
Gabriela: I’m not sure it changed my perception of how gender functions in the music world because I think being a woman, working daily in music, doesn’t leave a lot of space for “perception.” You just face a reality every day. I think the only way to balance things out is by working, creating, and making beautiful things. The Hum represents exactly that.

How many incredible shows have you attended where the line up is 100% male? We don’t tend to think about it, because that is not the point. The point is (and will always be) the MUSIC. Having a 100% female lineup for a show, and seeing people leave the venue smiling, talking about the quality of the music (and not about how it was all female), seeing them dance, and then shedding light to the fact that it was all female is so important — and so powerful. It reminded me that we are all stronger together, and that there is really nothing that compares to the power of a group of women working together.

Gabriela Jimeno / photo Julia Drummond

Aside from gender, how else has The Hum changed your perspective on the music community?
Gabriela: The Hum has changed my mind about collaboration. A collaboration that is born from someone else’s mind seemed “forced” to me, like a school project or something (which was very immature of me), but Rachael has a very sharp mind and a talent for matching musicians together. She challenged us to step away from our comfort zone, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

What was your favorite part about this experience?
Gabriela: All of it. Every rehearsal, the girl talk we had during rehearsals, getting to know the amazing human beings (and musicians) that Raquel Berrios (Buscabulla), Gisela Fulla-Silvestre (NOIA), and Drew Citron (Beverly), the show, the people dancing with us at the end…literally, all of it. 

photo by: Shervin Lainez; Julia Drummond