FeM Synth Lab

FeM Synth Lab is a low-cost recurring monthly night for womxn and non-binary folx to learn how to use hardware for electronic music production, meet others, and make music together. See below for upcoming programming!

FeM Synth Lab 
Thursday, January 24, 7:30-8:30pm
Max 50 participants
$3-RSVP required
Contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!

FeM Synth Lab is a femme-centered co-learning space for audio and community synthesis. 

Accessibility information for this event: WCCW has a 36” wide ramp at our front entrance and a stairway with 8 steps and a rail. There are 2 gender neutral restrooms. One restroom is wheelchair accessible, with a handrail. We provide scent free soaps and encourage guests to attend our events scent free. If you require ASL interpretation, CART, interpretation for a language other than English, supervised childcare, or have any other access needs or questions, please contact info@wccw.us at least two weeks in advance. It is our practice to do everything we can to create a safe and accessible space.

FeM Synth Lab Guest Session: Chucha
Thursday, December 6, 7:30-8:30pm
Max 50 participants
$3-RSVP required
Contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!
All donations go to the guest artist.

Chucha is a Los Angeles based producer who creates a range of sounds, not specifically tied to any genre, allowing experimentation to be the pilot. For Chucha it is a way to deal with reality. In this guest session, Chucha will walk through her production process using her monomachine sfx 60+, and her digitakt sampler.

This event is for femme-identified womxn and non-binary folx, but is open to all who are not cis men. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is overwhelmingly dominated by cis men.

FeM Synth Lab Guest Session: Russell E.L. Butler
Thursday, October 4, 7:30-8:30pm
Presented by FeM Synth Lab
$3-RSVP required (contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!)
All donations go to the guest artist

Russell E.L. Butler is an experimental artist and DJ based in Oakland, California. Originally from Bermuda, Russell has developed a process of improvisation through modular synthesizers that draws from a rich cultural history rooted in their island and the black, queer diaspora.

In this guest session, Russell will talk through their production process, their modular set up and their unique view on music-making.

For the past few years they have been producing a brand of stripped down machine techno that has evolved rapidly with each successive release. Transplantation, evolution, and healing are themes in Russell’s music. They based their 2015 album, “God is Change”, on Octavia Butler’s Parable series of novels, in which these are central tenets of the philosophy that the books explore. Since its release “God is Change” has received major acclaim, with NPR naming it one of their top 10 favorite electronic albums of 2015. In 2016, Russell released “Visions of the Future” on Jacktone Records, which is a collection of improvised modular synthesizer sessions. A month later, Russell’s follow up to “God is Change”, “The First Step”, was released on Black Opal. “The First Step” is dedicated to the “…black, brown, trans, queer, and gay folks of Oakland” and posits that “…sometimes to resist oppression, all we must do is simply exist. That is the first step. Let us strive to walk without fear.” Russell’s newest record, “I’m Dropping Out of Life”, was released on January 30th via CGI Records and received praise from NPR, Fact, Thump, and The Fader, with early play by DJs like Nina Kraviz, Umfang, and Powder.

This event is for femme-identified womxn and non-binary folx, but is open to all who are not cis men. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is overwhelmingly dominated by cis men.

FeM Synth Lab Listening Session
Wednesday, September 26, 7:30-9:30pm
Presented by FeM Synth Lab
Max 10 participants
$3-RSVP required (contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!)

Need some fresh ears for your sonic project? This month, we’re asking that our community members bring something recorded (a finished track, stems, a project file, a bassline, etc.) to play in return for constructive criticism from an audience of peers!

This event is for femme-identified womxn and non-binary folx, but is open to all who are not cis men. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is overwhelmingly dominated by cis men.

Fem Synth Lab: DJing with Ableton Live ft. Maral
Thursday, August 23, 7:30-9.30pm
Max 40 participants
$3-RSVP required ~ all donations go to the guest artist
(contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!)

At this month’s fem synth lab, Maral will show us how she uses the popular program Ableton Live to produce her extremely rich and varied mixes!

Exploring and transforming the sounds of Iranian music, Los Angeles-based artist Maral has formed a unique vision of club music, one that embraces her heritage and recontextualizes it for a new audience. Featuring rich vocals drenched in bass and distortion, Maral’s sound manages to take the audience to unfamiliar places in the familiar context of the dancefloor.

This event is for femme-identified womxn and non-binary folx, but is open to all who are not cis men. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is overwhelmingly dominated by cis men.

Fem Synth Lab: Sound Design
Thursday, July 26, 7:30-9.30pm
Max 40 participants
$3-RSVP required (contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!)

What is sound design? How can you record samples to make your own unique sounds? LA-based electronic producer and DJ Alexia Riner will help us answer some of these questions, as we learn how to build sonic elements through sound design and sampling.

Since the release of her debut album “Darknet”, Riner has performed both in the US and internationally, produced for artists such as Madame Gandhi, worked on sound installations, and done freelance work for Native Instruments. She is currently finishing up her second solo album, continuing her work with sound installations, producing for various artists, and DJ’ing.

This event is for femme-identified womxn and non-binary folx, but is open to all who are not cis men. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is overwhelmingly dominated by cis men.

** Contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay! All donations go to the guest artist.

FeM Synth Lab Guest Session: Umfang
Sunday, June 24, 2-4pm
$3-RSVP required 
(contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!)

FeM Synth Lab welcomes producer, DJ and Discwoman cofounder Umfang to a guest session! Umfang will talk through her production process, the equipment she uses to make and record her music, and her unique approach to techno.

Umfang was born in the Bronx, grew up in Kansas and has been living in Brooklyn since 2010. She holds a monthly residency, Technofeminism, at New York’s Bossa Nova Civic Club, focusing on emerging talent and an affection for vinyl. She enjoys playing with people’s expectations of how a techno set can be defined. Her amorphous polyrhythmic techno productions have been released by 1080p, videogamemusic and Phinery; Ninja Tune put out her most recent album, Symbolic Use of Light, last year.

Founded by Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson, Umfang (Emma Burgess-Olson) and Christine McCharen-Tran, Discwoman is a New York-based platform, collective, and booking agency that showcases and represents talent in electronic music. Started as a two-day festival in September 2014 at Bossa Nova Civic Club, Discwoman has since produced and curated events in 15+ cities—working with over 250 DJs and producers to-date.

This event is for femme-identified womxn and non-binary folx, but is open to all who are not cis men. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is overwhelmingly dominated by cis men.

$3-RSVP required (contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!) All donations go to the guest artist.

FeM Synth Lab: How to Get Stage-Ready
Thursday, June 21, 7:30-9:30pm
$3-RSVP required 
(contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!) 

Need some help getting yourself and your music ready for a live show? In preparation for FeM Synth Lab’s 1 Year Anniversary Showcase, local alien Kimi Recor (of Draemings & Play Like a Girl LA) will provide some key tips and tricks to get yourself and your sounds stage-ready!

This event is for femme-identified womxn and non-binary folx, but is open to all who are not cis men. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is overwhelmingly dominated by cis men.

FeM Synth Lab: Intro to Ableton Live
Thursday, May 24, 7:30-9:30pm
40 participants maximum
Hosted by Natalie Robehmed, Sophia Elliot, and kora colasuonno
$3-RSVP required 
(contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!)

Ableton Live is a powerful and versatile tool that enables beginners and advanced users alike to dive  into the details of composing or remixing. Through skill sharing and discussion, you will learn the basics of Ableton Live.

This event is for womxn and non-binary folx, *especially* those who are femme-identified. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

Accessibility info for this event:

WCCW has a 36” wide ramp at our front entrance and a stairway with 8 steps and a rail. There are 2 gender neutral restrooms. One restroom is wheelchair accessible, with a handrail. We provide scent free soaps and encourage guests to attend our events scent free. If you require ASL interpretation, CART, interpretation for a language other than English, supervised childcare, or have any other access needs or questions, please contact info@wccw.us at least two weeks in advance. It is our practice to do everything we can to create a safe and accessible space.

Advanced Modular
Thursday, April 26, 7:30-9:30pm
40 participants maximum
Hosted by Natalie Robehmed, Sophia Elliot, and kora colasuonno
$3-RSVP required
(contact us at femsynthlab@gmail.com if you’re unable to pay!)

Modular synthesis can open up your music-making to a range of new sonic possibilities that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, or at least wouldn’t be immediately apparent just by using most standalone hardware synths or plug-ins. Following our introductory modular synth session, this workshop will get into more advanced techniques for modular synth users.  

Joining FeM Synth Lab this month is Naomi Mitchell, who makes synths as omiindustriies and releases music as Poor Impulse Width Modulation.

This event is for womxn and non-binary folx, *especially* those who are femme-identified. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

One-on-one Modular Troubleshooting
with Naomi Mitchell, who makes modular synths as omiindustriies
Thursday, March 29, 20 minute slots between 4:30-6:30pm
Free with RSVP

Having trouble getting one module talking to another? Not sure how to use a module or a specific feature of a module? Need a little help just plugging stuff in?

Bring your gear early on March 29th – sign up for a free 20 minute one-on-one with Naomi Mitchell, who makes synths as omiindustriies and music as poor impulse width modulation!

One-on-one Modular Troubleshooting takes place right before Fem Synth Lab: Intro to Modular Synths on March 29th. If you’d like to stick around for this regularly scheduled Fem Synth programming, purchase a ticket below! 

Intro To Modular Synths
Thursday, March 29, 7:30-9:30pm
$3– email femsynthlab@gmail.com if you are unable to pay!

Modular synthesis can open up your music to a range of new sonic possibilities that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, or at least wouldn’t be immediately apparent just by using most standalone hardware synths or plug-ins. How does patching together these often wildly different modules generate audio, and how can you control it?

Through skill-sharing and discussion, you will learn the basics of what modular synthesizers are, how they work and some ways to make music with them.

Joining FeM Synth Lab this month is Tierra Williams, an experimental musician who performs in the Los Angeles duo Moment Trigger. Tierra currently uses modular and semi-modular synthesizers, in addition to midi controllers, drum machines, rhythm and synthesizer apps, and software such as Ableton Live. She is also the co-creator of DIY label Fatt Grabbers, as well as the monthly experimental music series Stranger.

This event is for womxn and non-binary folx, *especially* those who are femme-identified. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

**All proceeds go to the guest artist**

Tierra Williams is an experimental musician who performs in the Los Angeles duo Moment Trigger with partner Chris Lazard. Formed in 2005, Moment Trigger produces and performs experimental electronic music such as techno, industrial and textural noise. Tierra currently uses modular and semi-modular synthesizers, in addition to midi controllers, drum machines, rhythm and synthesizer apps, and software such as Ableton Live. She is also the co-creator of DIY label Fatt Grabbers, as well as the monthly experimental music series Stranger.

Adding Effects
Thursday, February 22, 7:30-9:30pm

Effects, such as reverb and delay, can both subtly enhance and/or completely overhaul your sounds. In this session, we’ll explore these common and powerful effects, how they work in pedal form for hardware set-ups, and how these effects can be applied, digitally, via plug-ins

Through discussion, skill-sharing and hands-on experimentation with equipment we will provide, you will learn the basics of how to hook up and use effects pedals for gear like synthesizers, drum machines, and mixers, as well as how to apply effects in DAWs such as Ableton Live. We’ll also go over an example of a mixer with built in effects and how you might use that in your music-making or DJing.  

This event is for women (trans & cis) and non-binary folx, *especially* those who are femme-identified. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

We hope to create an inclusive space for exploring music production. Absolutely no experience is necessary!

How-To: Humanize Your Synths
Thursday, January 25, 7:30-9:30pm

Do your synth lines sound a little too rigid and computerized? We’ll show you a number of simple but powerful techniques to help make your computer music sound a little more organic!

Through discussion, skill-sharing and hands-on experimentation with equipment we will provide, you will learn the basics of humanization and related music production skills.

This event is for women (trans & cis) and non-binary folx, *especially* those who are femme-identified. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

We hope to create an inclusive space for exploring music production. Absolutely no experience is necessary!

FeM Synth Lab with Bergsonist
Wednesday November 1, 7-8pm
All donations go to the artist

In our first guest session, Brooklyn-based producer Bergsonist will talk through her production process, what software she uses to record her music, and give a demonstration of her live, hardware-based, setup.

Brooklyn-based, Moroccan-born Selwa Abd uses the fictional character Bergsonist (derived from Gilles Deleuze’s Bergsonism) as her musical guise. Abd is an artist and musician based in New York using multiple mediums to investigate social resonance through divergent conceptual aesthetics (minimalism, techno, music concrete, to name a few). Her practice utilizes her trained design sensibility to filter the objects of intuitive exploration, guided by an impulse to detach subjective meaning from found sonic fragments. Notions of identity, memory, social politics and the ambiguous long-term reliability/stability of our digital networks drive this process.

She has released on Börft Records, Clan Destine and Styles Upon Styles, among other labels.

https://soundcloud.com/bergsonist

This event is for women (trans & cis) and non-binary folx, *especially* those who are femme-identified. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

SOLD OUT: Intro to Sampling
Thursday October 26, 7:30-9:30pm
Sampling can open up your compositional process to a whole world of new sounds – undisguised samples can reference work, chopped and screwed samples can spice up a dull beat, and samples can even be used as building blocks for synthesis!

Through discussion, skill-sharing and hands-on experimentation with equipment we will provide, you will learn the basics of sampling and how you can leverage it in your music.

This event is for women (trans & cis) and non-binary folx, *especially* those who are femme-identified. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

We hope to create an inclusive space for exploring sampling. Absolutely no experience is necessary!

June 29: Synthesizers

What are synthesizers? How do they work? What can synths sound like? How can we use them to make electronic music?

Despite women’s roles in pioneering these machines, they remain largely invisible in the cis-male-dominated field of synth-based electronic music. But women like Elysia Crampton, FKA Twigs, Antenes and Aurora Halal continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with synths. And there are so many more femmes to be heard.

This is a hands-on introduction to using synthesizers to make music. Through discussion, skill-sharing, and experimentation with equipment we provide, you will learn what synthesizers are, how they can make sounds, and how to use those sounds in your own music-making.

This event prioritizes femme-identified women and non-binary persons. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

We hope to create an inclusive space for exploring what’s possible with synths. Absolutely no experience is necessary!

July 27: Drum Machines
What are drum machines? How do they work? What can drum machines sound like? How can we deploy them to make electronic music?

This is a hands-on introduction to using drum machines to make music. Through discussion, skill-sharing, and experimentation with equipment we provide, you will learn what drum machines are, how they can make sounds, and how to use those sounds in your own music-making.

 This event prioritizes femme-identified women and non-binary persons. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

We hope to create an inclusive space for exploring what’s possible with drum machines. Absolutely no experience is necessary!

Aug 17: Intro to DAWs

Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) – like Ableton Live or Logic Pro – are computer programs that allow us to record and tweak the sounds of synthesizers and drum machines, as well as to control software instruments. These powerful tools can translate your hardware-bound sounds to the digital realm, and even expand your music-making beyond the boundaries of physical devices. They help you not only polish, but have complete, fine-grained control, over the music you want to produce.

This is a hands-on introduction to using DAWs to make and record music. Through discussion, skill-sharing and experimentation with equipment we will provide, you will learn how two popular DAWs (Ableton Live and Logic Pro) are used to record instruments and control software instruments, and how you can employ these programs to fine tune your sound.

This event is for all (trans & cis) women and non-binary folx, especially those who are femme-identified. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

We hope to create an inclusive space for exploring an introduction to DAWs. Absolutely no experience is necessary!

Sept 21: Intro to Composition

Composing a track can be a daunting process, but there are several formulae that can help keep it simple! We’ll go over a little about how that can work for a basic synth- and drum-based techno track.

Through discussion, skill-sharing and hands-on experimentation with equipment we will provide, you will learn the basics of structuring tracks!

This event is for women (trans & cis) and non-binary folx, *especially* those who are femme-identified. We ask that our cis male allies and friends respectfully do not attend, as we recognize that electronic music is very much dominated by cis men.

We hope to create an inclusive space for exploring track structuring. Absolutely no experience is necessary!