Saffron & Mix Nights Present: Soundpaths

Introducing Soundpaths – a programme launched by Saffron to support 20 Black emerging electronic music producers and DJs in the UK in 2024.

4 min
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Feb 9, 2024
·
By
Grace Phillips

Saffron is a music tech initiative based in Bristol taking an intersectional approach to redressing the gender imbalance in the industry. Soundpaths is the latest iteration of Saffron’s efforts, which consistently enable underrepresented community development.

Participants in the Beatport-funded Soundpaths initiative will receive four bespoke 1-2-1 mentoring sessions, as well as a subscription to the Saffron Members digital club, comprising 3 workshops every month, tutorial videos and access to an online platform for peer connection. Mentoring sessions will be led by Ikonika, Grove, Ehua, Pops Roberts, and Glade Marie. This stellar lineup of producers, DJs, vocalists and all-round creatives cover genres such as techno, rave, amapiano, and R&B.

We spoke with the founder of Saffron, Laura Lewis-Paul, who outlines Saffron’s ultimate goals and shares some practical guidance for enacting long-term, effective change in the industry. Learn more and check out the interview below.

APPLY FOR SAFFRON’S SOUNDPATHS PROGRAMME HERE.

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What issues are you addressing at Saffron?

The reason we exist is because less than 5% of the music tech industry is comprised of women, non-binary or trans people. Less than 1% of these are Black, Asian or ethnically diverse. We are using music tech as a creative vehicle for long-term societal shifts. At our core, we’re about cultivating a sense of belonging. By dismantling barriers and power structures, we’re crafting an accessible and genuinely inclusive space that nurtures community.

What are the main goals and drive for your initiative?

Our Theory of Change demonstrates how we seek to impact –

THE INDIVIDUAL: The combination of strengthening communities and sharing knowledge results in individuals feeling confident and supported enough to be bold artistically and professionally.

THE COMMUNITY: Saffron’s work levels the playing field by challenging stereotypes and supporting underrepresented groups to try new things, take creative risks and tell their own unique story.

THE INDUSTRY: A long-term shift in societal perceptions about gender roles, creating equity in the cultural sector and a more diverse and exciting cultural offering for all.

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If you could share one message with our DJ and producer community, what would it be?

Consider your own privilege, whatever form it may take, and use it as an opportunity to uplift and elevate someone who lacks that privilege. Be mindful of the power dynamics at play and actively work towards fostering a more equitable and inclusive environment. It’s not just about recognizing privilege; it’s about leveraging it for positive change and supporting others on their journey.

SOUNDPATHS APPLICANT CRITERIA:

You must be… An aspiring music producer and/or DJ (ie. you can already DJ and/or produce to some extent, but you don’t necessarily have to be releasing music publicly yet or playing lots of shows)

– You must be… A woman, non-binary person, trans, intersex or gender non-conforming.

– You must be… Black or of Black heritage.*

– You must be… Age 18+. There is no maximum age limit

– You must be… Currently living in the UK

Click here to fill in the online application form by 6pm on 23rd February 2024.

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