#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 already working.

Since launching in 2018, we’ve signed music and artists directly through this 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 a few of the group members to hear their stories.


MAXINNE

Maxinne

Which event did you first attend?

I first submitted one of my demos after I saw the International Women’s Day campaign Toolroom was running to encourage women to submit music to the label back in 2017 and I was fortunate enough to get some really good A&R feedback. Following this, I attended the launch of the We Are Listening event back in May 2018.

How did you feel before the event?

Before the event I felt very excited and was looking forward to meeting more women in the industry.

How did you feel after the event?

After the event I felt super motivated from everything I’d learnt and the people I had met. I felt really ready to put everything into action! I came away with loads of knowledge especially from the branding and marketing workshop, and I learnt some valuable production skills from Ben Remember.

How would you describe the #WeAreListening days in 3 words?

Inspiring, unique and supportive.

What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far?

The most valuable part has been being able to meet more of the Toolroom records team and get advice. The events give everyone a chance to speak to them more in depth and get feedback. Toolroom are very welcoming and approachable to anybody which is amazing!

What’s been your most memorable moment of #WeAreListening for you?

This was the photoshoot with the girls, it was such a fun day and since the start of WeAreListening I’ve built some really good friendships so it was a special day to spend together.

What opportunities has this platform opened up for you?

Since the platform working with Toolroom has opened up so many opportunities. In the last year, I’ve landed my second release on Toolroom, an exclusive signing to the Ibiza compilation, at the end of last year I then signed with the booking agency Radius Artists who manage my gigs which has been great! Most recently, I’ve just been signed to Toolroom management alongside an amazing group of artists. Plus lots more things coming up very soon!

What does this platform mean to you?

This platform means a lot to me. Supporting and listening to each other in the music industry goes a long way and WeAreListening is such a positive movement that encourages this. Victoria who runs the events has done fantastic work building this for the ladies and opening up so many opportunities for us all. It’s a platform which I can only see continuing to grow with such a strong team and group of people that’s involved in it.


CARLY CARMEN

Which event did you first attend?

The very first event, been to every one.

How did you feel before the event?

Nervous to meet everyone and didn’t know what to expect but excited to be at Toolroom and see a few familiar faces.

How did you feel after the event?

I was really inspired to put the knowledge I had learnt to use. I really wanted to go and make some tracks and get some feedback from Toolroom. I was really excited for another #WeAreListening event as I made loads of new friends and gained a great network of support from fellow ladies in the industry. We are all in the same boat so it’s nice to have people you can talk to and understand the battles we sometimes face! We are all in it together; it’s not a competition with each other. We all have our own personal journeys and goals.

How would you describe the #WeAreListening days in 3 words?

Inspiring. Fun. Invaluable.

What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far?

Production tips on vocals with Jon from Leftwing : Kody.

What’s been your most memorable moment of #WeAreListening for you?

When the Dominos arrived! Joking… Probably the chance to chat with all the girls after the sessions, have a mix and get to know each other at the very first event.

What opportunities has this platform opened up for you?

I think the biggest opportunity that opened up from this is actually knowing the Toolroom squad on a personal level and knowing they’re always to help and give advice. I mean… that’s pretty special!

What does this platform mean to you?

This platform is by far the best thing I have been involved in musically. To be involved in something like this and to be part of a team of up and coming female DJ’s and producers who are at all different levels in their journeys and who can support each other. Priceless!


PIPES

Which event did you first attend?

I attended the very first WeAreListening back last year.

How did you feel before the event?

To be honest, I thought I would have been nervous, but I was actually so excited that a big label like Toolroom was actually giving a regular DJ like myself the time of day!

How did you feel after the event?

I definitely felt more inspired and confident after the event. After speaking with the Toolroom team and getting to know the other girls it gave me a sense of self-validation that what I’m doing is right and I just need to keep pushing. Most of us were pretty much in the same boat and to hear off a big label that we were on the right path was just what I needed.

How would you describe the #WeAreListening days in 3 words?

Fun, informative, supportive!

What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far?

I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned is how to present myself as an artist. I’ve learned how to fit in to the music industry in regards to attitude, etiquette, musical style and generally how to market myself.

What’s been your most memorable moment of #WeAreListening for you?

It’s difficult to say as there’s been so many great moments! But probably the best for me was getting a production master class from Jon Kong from Leftwing:Kody. (and always drinking lots of prosecco at our meetings!)

What opportunities has this platform opened up for you?

This platform has allowed me to make new connections with promoters and artists. Its given me the confidence to approach more people in the industry, and from this I’ve got myself some gigs in places I’ve always wanted to play!

I’ve also made some friendships for life in regards to the #WeAreListening girls, they’re all great! A few of us have been playing gigs together since last year, even meeting up in places like Ibiza and Amsterdam.

Plus there’s some collaborations on the cards! So in all this platform has opened quite a few doors for me!

What does this platform mean to you?

This platform means a lot to me. I feel like I’ve got so much support from people who are right in the thick of it in the industry. It a great comfort to know that I can speak to the Toolroom team at all times with any issues I may be having, or even just for some friendly banter on Instagram! It really does feel like I’m part of a family who really want me to do well and succeed. I think that is so important especially with women in music, as sometimes we get a lot of stick and need that little pick me up every now and again, which is exactly what Toolroom do for me.


JO POOLE

Which event did you first attend?

October 2018 at Toolroom Records HQ

How did you feel before the event?

I was really excited but also incredibly nervous about having my first finished track played to the Toolroom A&R team!

How did you feel after the event?

It was one of the most inspiring events l have ever been to; it’s not every day you get Jon from Leftwing:Kody to walk you through how he made one of their biggest tracks, have Monki talk to you about her career and give great advice on how to succeed in the music industry and receive great hints and tips from Data Transmission on social media, and then have the A&R team at Toolroom listen and feedback on your track (definitely a moment l will never forget!). I felt really welcome in a room full of so much talent.

How would you describe the #WeAreListening days in 3 words?

Inspirational. Educational. Fun

What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far?

The correct way to approach labels when submitting demos.

What’s been your most memorable moment of #WeAreListening for you?

The A&R team listening to my first finished track. Mine was the last to be played out of the group… possibly the longest couple of hours of my life!

What opportunities has this platform opened up for you?

Hugely valuable advice from one of the biggest record labels in the industry and the opportunity to attend other events. I have been able to share my tracks with the A&R team and received some good feedback. It has been a great opportunity to meet more like-minded people all striving towards the same goal.

What does this platform mean to you?

A very fun and positive community/family striving to ensure women don’t go unnoticed in the dance music industry. We’re all supporting each other and pushing each other along. It doesn’t ever feel like a competition, we’re in this together.


SOPHIA ESSEL

Which event did you first attend?

The first event was in May 2018 at HQ!

How did you feel before the event?

I felt super excited, nervous but keen to meet like minded individuals.

How did you feel after the event?

I felt ready. Ready to create and become the best part of me.

How would you describe the #WeAreListening days in 3 words?

Inspiring, creative, positive.

What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far?

To not give up and also to be creative when it comes to who you are.

What’s been your most memorable moment of #WeAreListening for you?

The photoshoot – absolutely loved that day I felt apart of something amazing.

What opportunities has this platform opened up for you?

The opportunity to meet new people and work alongside the most talented individuals.

What does this platform mean to you?

That’s a great question. It means recognition for hard work and others in my position who are making music every day for hours on end. It gives us a way to be heard and appreciated. Toolroom have got it all right with #WeAreListening and I’d just like to say thank you.


EMS

Which event did you first attend?

I attended the first event in May last year!

How did you feel before the event?

I felt really excited to meet a group of like minded girls and to learn from Toolroom about the industry and about being a DJ and producer.

How did you feel after the event?

I left feeling really, really inspired and more motivated as I had seen a range of careers amongst the girls spanning from my level (just getting into the industry) to Alisha and Maxine playing clubs regularly. I also felt more informed and that I had learnt a lot about marketing and an insight into some of the processes like signing tracks and producing as well which I am learning at the moment.

How would you describe the #WeAreListening days in 3 words?

Exciting, Inspirational. Inclusive. (for all abilities)

What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far?

That I don’t need to compare myself to everyone else because it’s not a race we are all on our own journeys.

What’s been your most memorable moment of #WeAreListening for you?

Probably the photoshoot, for me it just felt so amazing to be part of something so special and has made me really excited for the future. Also being invited to the ‘This Is Toolroom 2019” album launch party as one of the we are listening girls and being part of the family.

What opportunities has this platform opened up for you?

I have made a really good friend who has given me a spot on the line up at one of her events in Liverpool, my first club and being on a line up is a dream come true for me so big up Vicki Scott for being so supportive.

What does this platform mean to you?

This platforms means so much. From the connections made within the group which will not doubt lead to exciting collaborations, to the inspiration that it gives to me being associated with and part of a group of girls who are smashing it with gigs and tours. To being part of the Toolroom family on a personal level. Having a label rooting for me and willing to give advice and guidance and support is not something I’ve seen elsewhere in the industry and it’s really special. So thank you. I feel very lucky.


TRISH COMPLETE

Which event did you first attend?

Friday 4th May 2018. The First one, I can never forget that day!

How did you feel before the event?

I was so happy to receive an e-mail back from Toolroom confirming my place for the event, I felt really lucky. I literally had butterflies in my stomach. I’ve been DJing for 7 years now and I cannot say how many Toolroom tracks are sitting on my USBs and my computer. I’ve been following Mark Knight for a long time and been a big fan of him ever since I started DJing in 2012. To be honest, that ‘Suzee’ track got me into Tech House music. It’s my dream to make another track, which is close to that.

How did you feel after the event?

It’s a very inspiring place to be in and to be surrounded by good, positive people who share the same interests and values.  I met many other women who were doing the same thing as me and I felt at home. I felt comfortable. Very soon that ‘stranger’ feeling had gone. The live A&R feedback helped me in crafting my sound for the next submission. The marketing sessions also helped me a lot. Now I am inspiring other women in the industry.

How would you describe the #WeAreListening days in 3 words?

Craft, hustle, grind!

What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far?

One of the most valuable things I have taken away from the workshops is how to market and promote myself on social media. Since this session, my social channels have grown so much. Things have changed for me, in terms of how I look myself as an artist, as a motivator to others, as women in the music industry and as an inspiring friend to many.

What’s been your most memorable moment of #WeAreListening for you?

This is hard… But my most memorable moment has to be when my track was played to everyone, including the Toolroom A&R team! I was so nervous.

What opportunities has this platform opened up for you?

I had the opportunity to meet Jon from Leftwing : Kody and I got to hear Monki talk about her career. I also got a chance to network with other Toolroom producers. As I am still studying and crafting sounds at the moments, things are a bit slow for me. But networking opportunities have opened.

What does this platform mean to you?

This platform means everything to me to kick-start my career with the right people and right place.


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