We spoke about creating equity between women and men in the music industry, starting an all-female DJ school in Tunisia and her belief that music is a basic human need.
Tia Korpe is a freelance DJ, mother, creative powerhouse and the founder of the organization, Future Female Sounds, which aims to lift up women with the catalyst of music. While she grew up around mixing all different kinds of grooves as the daughter of a radio DJ in Denmark, she never expected that this would blossom into her own creative output. Future Female Sounds is now creating these learning experiences for women internationally as well, as they are currently setting up a school in Tunisia this month.
We spoke with Tia about striving for equity between women and men in the music industry, the process of starting this all-female DJ program in Tunisia and her belief that music is a right and a basic human need.
So, first things fist, how did you begin this organization, from the initial idea to what it has become today?
I founded Future Female Sounds in December 2017, after years of longing to become a (full time) social entrepreneur, but not quite daring to take the leap… I had just finished off a consultancy for Roskilde Festival in 2016, where I was in charge of the Equality Campaign, focusing on getting a more balanced line-up at the festival and highlighting more female artists. FFS (Future Female Sounds) had already started taking shape before that, but in late 2016 I decided to go for it. Two months later I found out I was pregnant, lol! So actually I worked though my entire pregnancy and have continued to do so since.
Why DJing? Has it always been one of your passions?
I have been into DJ culture, especially turntablism and Hip Hop culture since the early 2000s, but didn’t start DJing myself until 2009 when friends showed me how to play vinyl. I then started working more behind the scenes, helping to push out DJ KCL, the first woman to win the Danish DMC (A global DJ competition), and then picked up mixing myself shortly after that.
What is special to you about being a DJ and sharing that experience with others?
I grew up with my dad being a radio DJ, so it’s always just been a part of daily life – to discover new music, to arrange it, to be nerdy about it and to “broadcast” it. The reason I felt DJing was right for me is because I love watching people’s emotions unfold. Music is such an important part of life… it’s a human right to be surrounded by music, and as basic of a need as water. So being a DJ, or rather a sound curator, to me is meaningful because you’re also curating someone’s mood.
How do you feel about the music industry in regards to women these days? Specifically with DJs?
The reason I started FFS was because I, myself, was missing a platform and network of female DJs. There are some networks in Europe and the US that focus on women DJs, but not really a community. I didn’t just want to be an online platform, but rather I wanted contribute to incubating new talent, as well as setting up mentorship between established women DJs and upcoming womxn DJs.
I think the music industry is slowly shifting, and more female DJs are definitely getting booked, which is awesomesauce. But, I also want to point out, that it is from a Western perspective. If we look at female artists and DJs outside Europe/North Americas there is so much work to do. And that’s what I’m hoping to do with Future Female Sounds.
Who are some female DJs that we should be aware of right now?
There are so many awesome DJs out there right now! The culture is really thriving. Obviously I have to recommend all the female DJs that our booking agency deals with, but some of the ladies I really enjoy at the moment include Josey Rebelle, DJ Diamond Kuts, Lakuti, Peggy Gou, Honey Dijon and Sama, a rising Palestinian female DJ.
How did you develop the idea to begin the program this year in Tunisia? How exciting is that??
Yaaaas! So excited! The goal with our main activities has always been to run DJ workshops in countries where there is talent emerging, but where equipment and training isn’t available. I previously worked in the MENA region for four years with music workshops. My network is still extensive in the region, so when we were deciding where to start out, it just so happened that I got a mail from this incredible woman, Olfa, who runs a co-creative work space in Tunis, and she was wondering if we could work together, as they had done a small DJ course for women but needed help to create a program. Six months later, here we are!
So, you’re bringing DJ skills to women who, I think it’s safe to say would not have had a similar opportunity otherwise. What is it like during these workshops? I bet it’s a fun energy!
Honestly it’s so much fun and rewarding on many levels. It always takes a little time to break out of shells, and the technical information can be quite overwhelming in the beginning, but once the girls feel more comfortable and safe, we see how their development is literally catapulting! Thing is, so many of our female DJ students have been thinking about DJing for years, creating playlists at home in secret, but never knew how to get started or didn’t dare to ask. So quite often it only takes them a few times before they have the hang of it!
What’s the most rewarding thing about working with Future Female Sounds?
Seeing new talent emerge, watching women become empowered by our community, and then seeing them shoot off into the world and do great.
What do you hope to leave these women with, when the program ends?
Knowledge, increased self-esteem, and a feeling that there’s a whole tribe behind them.
How do you see the organization growing? Do you have any goals to reach for in the near future?
Actually at the moment, our programs are constantly expanding. I have so many goals, but I suppose the nearest now is establishing a DJ Academy in Tunisia. We want these workshops to transform into permanent spaces, because access to equipment/practice seems to be the biggest issue for upcoming DJs. I’m fundraising for that, and a few other global programs. The ultimate goal for Future Female Sounds is to run several DJ Academies globally for girls, as well as our booking agency going global!
What’s next for you personally?
Phew, well – to actually be able to pay myself a salary from FFS for starters. To balance my “mompreneur” life a bit more, so I’m able to continue to grow FFS but also make sure my baby girl is growing lovingly.