Meet Mari, Marisa and Jen: presenters and producers of an exciting radio show called Pink Noise
In 2016, three Sydney-based women - Marisa Marsionis, Jen Finnley and Mari Stuart - came together and created Pink Noise, a fortnightly show that airs on Bondi Beach radio, and streams on their Mixcloud website. It's been one year since the first show that plays music produced and performed by women and non-binary artists and DJs, in an effort to counter years of male only line ups in spaces that play electronic music. The first year has been a success, and in celebration, Marisa, Jen and Mari have released the first of what will be many mixtapes. The Pink Noise Mixtape Vol. 1 is available as a free download via Bandcamp, and features twelve artists including Wallace and Mei Saraswati. Also, during Vivid Sydney this year, a special free event will be held at Cake Wines Cellar Door with live performances by BUOY, Jaala, GC O’Connor and more. Marisa, Jen and Mari gave Music Love this interview where they discuss their radio show and mixtape, their favourite Australian women in music, as well as some thoughts on whether or not men and women are biologically wired to hear differently.
What does music mean to you?
Jen: Music is something that connects us with others but at the same time keeps you company when you are alone.
Mari: It's a way of telling and listening to someone's voice and story - whether it's expressed through words or not.
Marisa: Music has driven every choice in my life so it's pretty much my lifeblood. It has controlled every aspect of my life down to performing and writing music in a band; choosing to take a job in a sick music venue so I got paid to watch live music; choice of uni degree, and, choice of humans I spend my free time with
Jen Finnley, Mari Stuart and Marisa Marsionis. Founders of Pink Noise. Images supplied.
What have each of your musical pathways looked like so far?
Jen: I’m far from a musician, DJ or even a sound nerd. But have always been a connoisseur of dancefloors and groovy beats. Honestly that’s as complex as my pathway into music goes. I like cutting shapes, I like a wicked tune and I love hogging an aux cord. I guess that makes me the super relatable one?
Mari: Pretty wild and unexpected. In the past year or so I've graduated with a degree in sound design, started a label (Perfect Hair Records), volunteered with FBi Radio, gotten involved with Women In Music Sydney and of course Pink Noise. I always knew I wanted to do something in music, but I didn't expect to be lucky enough to get all these amazing opportunities.
Marisa: I started out teaching myself piano and guitar when I was very young, learning by ear. I developed a passion for being the centre of attention so I started singing and playing in a a bad writing songs. My inner introvert kicked in after about five years and I stepped away from performing and have since moved behind the scenes to production, engineering, sound design, composition for film, DJing and bookings.
Who are you favourite Australian women in music, whether working behind the scenes or artists and musicians?
Jen: Sampa the Great, Wallace and GL are on my 2016 Spotify's most played artists. But in fear of losing cool points, how good is Kylie Minogue?
Mari: Working behind the scenes, Vanessa Picken of Comes With Fries who continually amazes me with her knowledge, strength and hustle. Also Amelia Jenner (FBi Radio's music director) is a massive inspiration and I feel super lucky to have been able to work with her on FBi's music team.
Marisa: I think Rainbow Chan is one of the most talented musicians and she works incredibly hard, constantly pushing boundaries. She does great work as a visual artist as well as a sound artist and I'm always inspired by what she is doing. Antonia Gauci is also a great engineer and writes her own music in an outfit called GAUCI and as a solo producer as Leftenent. (Check out our interview with Antonia here, and Antonia's interview with Catherine Marks here)
Wallace is a Pink Noise fave, and features on the new Mixtape.
Tell us about Pink Noise
Jen: Is a little safe space on the internet, where we stream tunes, tell you about things that will happening in the coming weeks and just have a bit of a chin wag. The artists and the events that we talk about feature women, are about women, or are run by women and funnily enough we are women too!
Mari: Pink Noise is our way of trying to make a positive change in the electronic music scene, by saying it's no longer good enough to be complacent in the boy's club that it currently is. We aim to champion the people in the scene, locally and internationally, who are making change and great music.
Marisa: Pink Noise started as a radio show but I think we are becoming more than that now. We are branching out to do things more so as a collective to drive and hopefully inspire women in Sydney's music scene. One of our goals is to encourage more women to put themselves out there and not be intimidated by the male dominated scene.
How did this idea come about?
Jen: I consider myself lucky enough to be surrounded by strong, confident competent women in life and within the music industry. Sadly that doesn't seem to be reflected in the ratio of males and females on line ups, in the studio, producing, even the bar at the music venue you buy your ten dollar tinnie at! So when Marisa presented this idea to me I jumped on the boat, it seemed like a really cool idea to be part of a supportive community, where we can expose ourselves and others to a myriad of talented artists that might not be able to be featured on other platforms.
Laura Marling has a theory that men literally hear differently to women, and that if there were more women in engineering and production, we’d experience such different music. Any thoughts on this idea?
Jen: Everyone has natural inclinations to things, everyone is different, there are a lot of different stories, different perspectives. It would just be silly to limit ourselves to the mindset of the cis straight white dude. I think having diversity of not only women but also POC and LGBTQIA people in the building/production of a song it will certainly bring in deviating attitudes and influences into the mainstream music industry, and what we listen to. But first there needs to be a representation of those who don't fit in the “norm” that they can do these things, can do what's not expected of them and that they are not alone. By restraining who we let in our studios and on our stages, we are stopping some possibly great tunes from happening.
Mari: I think it's natural for everyone to have a different story to tell and different music to create depending on their experiences, identity, beliefs and backgrounds. That's why it's so important for music outlets to push for diversity and get different voices heard.
Marisa: I can't say much for the biological side of things. Everyone hears differently as a result of psychoacoustics, the way that sound waves penetrate the shape of your skull and your contextual and cultural upbringing. I think if there were more women in engineering and production we would experience greater diversity everywhere else too which the world so sorely needs.
Where and when can people hear your radio show?
Jen: Stream us online at Bondibeachradio.com every fortnight on Tuesdays at 2pm. What?! Can't get to an internet device at that time? No problem! Whenever you're ready and connected to the wifi bars you can listen to our Mixcloud at anytime.
When is the next mixtape due out?
Mari: Our first mixtape is out now and available as a free download on our Bandcamp page. Shout out to all the talented artists who contributed a track, and to Rosie Whelan for designing the beautiful cover art. Stay tuned for volume two later in the year.
Marisa: We are looking at the colder months of the year for the next one- a dark and moody collection of crispy, fresh tracks.
Marisa: Catch us at Cake Wines Cellar Door on May 26 which is the opening night of Vivid Festival. We have curated an amazing all-female line up including BUOY, Jaala (solo) and GG O'Connor along with a few more surprises to be announced! It's also free entry!