#WeAreListening is a platform, event series and mentoring programme from the Toolroom Academy. Our aim is a simple one – to encourage and develop new female talent in electronic music. And it’s working. Since launching in 2018, we’ve signed music and artists as a direct result of the project, and we’ve connected a group of people – who might never have otherwise met – resulting in collaborations, residencies and club bookings. We caught up with group member, DJ and producer, CARUANA!
Caruana started DJng in late 2014 when she began playing for a small and intimate party in Southampton. This soon led to bookings at Junk club where she played alongside big names such as Darius Syrossian, Sidney Charles and Skream. Now she boasts club residencies and releases on labels Resonance Records, Killer Vibes and Daylight Robbery with support from Eats Everything via his radio show, CARUANA shows no signs of slowing down…
How long have you been DJing and / or producing now?
I have been DJing for around 5 years this summer and producing for just over 2 years.
Can you remember who or what it was that made you want to be a DJ?
I used to go to a party in Southampton called Muddywellies which some mates hosted. I remember looking up at the stage at one of the DJs and thought ‘I would love to do that’. From that night I knew it was something I really wanted to do, so I asked one of my friends to teach me.
When did you know you wanted this to be your career?
Literally from the start just because I was so motivated with it and it was something I wanted to work hard for and do well in the industry.
What has been your stand out gig to date?
I really enjoyed playing out in Croatia at Labyrinth Open Festival in July 2017 as I had a big group of friends with me and I played on the main stage alongside Lee Foss, Andrea Oliva and Dubfire. It was such a beautiful setting on the beach in Omis, and to have so many of my friends there made it extra special.
Which #WeAreListening event(s) did you first attend?
I attended the first #WeAreListening event which was held at the Toolroom HQ in May 2018 as well as the most recent one held at the Source bar in Maidstone.
How did you feel before the event?
I felt a little nervous before the first one just because it was something new, but more excited to actually be at the Toolroom HQ and meet up with some female DJs!
How did you feel after the event? More confident? Inspired?
I felt inspired to keep working hard especially on my own music.
How would you describe the #WeAreListening days in 3 words?
Powerful, inspirational, motivational.
What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far?
I think to really work on your own brand as an artist.
What’s been your most memorable moment of #WeAreListening for you?
I think just actually being at Toolroom with Mark Knight and everyone. I felt lucky to be there and have A&R feedback, help in the studio and we were given marketing/social media tips. It was lovely to meet other girls in the music industry from all parts of the UK and I gained some really good friends from it.
Have you kept in touch with other girls from the platform?
I have definitely grown closer with some of the girls who I met at #WeAreListening we meet up at gigs when we are on the same line ups and keep in touch through Facebook and Whats App. I also met Maxine again out in Ibiza last year and we both played on her radio show and at a poolside event at Sol House for Fiesta Bullshit which was fun! I also got a booking from Terrie-Anne which I met at the second #WeAreListening which I am really excited about as its at a venue in London which I haven’t played at before called The Cause.
What opportunities has this platform opened up for you?
It’s grown my network of contacts and I have gained some friends. It has given me the opportunity to work with people involved in an international label and I am really grateful for that.
Do you think these women only incentives like #WeAreListening are a positive thing?
Yes I do. I think anything in this world that helps somebody out with a passion or career is a positive thing. We all know that the music industry is male dominated so these type of women only projects are really important to help females with music career and to get them on those lineups!
In your opinion, what more needs to be done to tackle the gender balance in Dance music?
It is definitely getting better over time but I think there is still a long way to go. I guess promoters need to be more actively looking for female DJs for events who will play the right style of music and record labels need to be on the look out for female producers (with the right sound of course). If there was the opportunity for females to submit mixes on more established brands then this would help with bookings and with getting their music heard. I also think if every brand/party out there got a female resident involved in their nights then this would help with the gender balance and also act as a great platform for female DJs. If people in the music industry involved females more often whether they are a label owner, promoter, agent or radio host then this would really switch things up!