On December 2, 2016, a fire broke out at a warehouse in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. The name of the warehouse would become infamous before the night was over: The Ghost Ship. A total of thirty-six people died, many of them attending a dance party for the label 100% Silk. Among them was Chelsea Dolan, the 33 year old producer booked to play at the show and better known – and becoming increasingly well-known – as Cherushii.
Cherushii is one of the artists profiled on Warrior Loves, a new vinyl compilation – released this week – throwing the warmest and brightest spotlight on female House & Techno producers. 5 Magazine talked to Jenifa Mayanja – co-founder of
Sound Warrior with Dakini 9 – about this new release, which is being dedicated to Cherushii’s memory.
Hey Jenifa, it’s been a couple of years since we last did a story. Can you remind people about the philosophy behind the label? What is “Sound Warrior”?
Sound Warrior was a result of many years of conversations between myself and Lola (aka Dakini 9) about the persistent notion that there aren’t enough women making music or even interested in it. After one too many frustrating articles we decided that just venting with each other and other colleagues was not enough. We had to do something that moved the conversation into a positive and indisputable position.
Women obviously make music, lots of them! Just because you never heard of them, its ridiculous to assume they do not exist. So Sound Warrior Records is the platform from which we hope to showcase a wide range of women’s productions.
It must have been pretty lonely doing this for a long time, though there are several female-centered projects now. Do you feel things have improved for women in electronic music from 5 years ago?
Well fortunately I haven’t personally been lonely for peers both women or men. But to speak specifically about female peers, I have been rooted in the scene for so long and I have met so many incredible women over the years, which is another reason why it’s mystifying that the level of discussion around sexism is still at ground level. However, things are starting to improve. There is more awareness and in some cases a begrudging acceptance from men (particularly in positions of influence) that this is not all in our heads! Sexism is real and major reason why women keep being written out in the bigger scheme of things such as retrospectives of House Music, women at the forefront of the House/Techno scene, and so on.
Of course now, ironically, it has become trendy and a good marketing tool to say you are for equality while cherrypicking how you practice that. The reality is that equal representation of women in the scene is still pitiful and mostly superficial. That is not say that women are not getting booked, making music, running labels and so on, because clearly they are.
The rise of female collectives demonstrates that there are many women invested in the scene and working hard to push their own careers instead of waiting for recognition. They are however not being put into the mix accordingly as their male counterparts with similar musical backgrounds/experience.
Who is behind Sound Warrior now? Yourself and Lola are credited on the record.
Sound Warrior is still me and Lola’s baby and will always be our label. She did a lot of A&R for the SW 005 Warrior Loves release, including introducing Cherushii’s music to me. For day-to-day operations though, I am primarily handling the majority of the business and A&R. Lola has taken a step back from the daily running of things to focus on her other passion, yoga.
Cherushii has two songs on here. Can you tell me about them?
I have told this story a few times about Cherushii. I was blown away by her slick production and was so excited that she agreed with our Sound Warrior mission and agreed to release both tracks for Sound Warrior. I have nothing in particular to say about each track other than I loved them both immediately and thought it wasn’t a question of if but when her career would take off! It is really satisfying to be a part of a journey of an artist that you believe in and you can’t wait for other people to love their work as much as you do.
Can you tell me about her as a person, to the extent that you knew her?
Chelsea was so down for the cause of equality and generally helping others. Every time I sent an email to the Sound Warrior artists asking for help with promotions or something I just didn’t have time to do, she responded enthusiastically. She was generous in spirit and energy.
How about some other people on the project? I only am familiar with a couple of people on here.
Well there is a mix of well known artists, veteran but underrated producers and newcomers.
Aurora Halal: live performer/DJ and co-founder of Sustain Release graces us with a release. Touring relentlessly for the last year, her star only continues to move full steam ahead.
Daniela La Luz is a live act, producer and co-owner of the record label Parallel Berlin. Her track “Did You Ever” was recently featured on Moodyman’s DJ mix for “DJ-Kicks” on K7. This is her second appearance with Sound Warrior.
Cherushii was a producer, live performer, DJ and remixer for over a decade. She was gear-savvy, a multi-instrumentalist and it showed in her lush, slick productions.
North Carolina/South Carolina native Lady Fingers is no stranger to the scene having spent over 15 years in music studios and clubs though and definitely the kind of artist that deserves to have a showcase for her Chicago-style sample based House.
Corina MacDonald (artist name: CMD) hails from Montreal, Canada and her holds her radio show “Modular Systems” on Montreal’s CKUT. Her latest release will be on Jacktone Records and recently was featured in FACT mag for her DJ mix in support of her release.
Lilith is an LA-based Techno producer who been producing electronic music for about eight years, which has been described as a fusion of deep & dubby Techno. This is the kind of artist Sound Warrior loves to shine a spotlight on and when you hear her productions you know why she continues to be a part of the Sound Warrior family.
Up & comer Avalele is mostly a visual artist mixing photography & street art with music production skills and is on a beginning of her journey as an artist.
And of course everybody knows me right? 😉 Well okay – I will give you a hint: besides Sound Warrior, I run Bumako recordings and EDJ Records.
It’s Time: originally published in 5 Magazine Issue 147 featuring Kevin Yost, Jenifa Mayanja and Sound Warrior, Gavin Hardkiss, why music got cheap and gear got expensive (and it’s mostly your fault) and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full Access to Real House Music for only $2 per month!