Q’s With LP Giobbi: How the Producer Is Breaking Barriers In Gender

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 02: Electronic music artist LP Giobbi performs live at Exchange LA on July 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

While electronic dance music has a thriving community filled with die-hard fans that travel across the country for numerous festivals and shows put on by their favorite artists, the genre has a noticeable lack of gender parity. Only 2% of producers are not cis males, and open doors for female, transgender, and non-binary artists are hard to find.

Leah Chisholm, better known as LP Giobbi, a rising star in dance music, has spent her career determined to make a change. She established FEMME HOUSE, an organization she co-founded with Lauren Spalding in 2019, that serves women, transgender, and non-binary producers.

LP Giobbi is currently in the midst of her “FEMME HOUSE Tour,” which sees her traveling across North America with a gender-expansive lineup. Prior to each show, LP Giobbi offers up workshops to train attendees in Ableton software, one of the main programs utilized by producers to make music. While the workshops are open to attendees of all genders, the goal of FEMME HOUSE is to open doors for other non-cis males. 

The nonprofit hosts free monthly workshops online, and aims to serve as a safe space for women and gender-expansive individuals. Every few months, FEMME HOUSE launches a more in-depth online course. The organization partners with Alicia Keys’ nonprofit, She Is The Music, and hosts guest speakers, guest tutorials and more. 

When the workshops first launched, 3,000 individuals signed up, which LP Giobbi attributes to the power of Alicia Keys.

As she continues on with her “FEMME HOUSE Tour,” LP Giobbi keeps up her work with providing opportunities for female, transgender, and non-binary artists and fans. 

Pollstar: What inspired you to have such a gender-expansive lineup?

LP Giobbi: In the electronic space, I played on quite a few lineups and they sway one way. The power of visual representation is important. The first time I saw a female DJ I thought, “Oh, maybe I could do this too.” So I wanted to stack a whole night full of that experience for the dance floor.

So this tour is 100% non-cis males?

It’s all women and gender expansive folks.  

What about behind the scenes?

Well, my tour manager is a man, actually. I believe in the importance of allyship in this movement. I want as many spots as possible to go to women and gender expansive folks, but men are welcome to our workshops. My tour manager is one of the most amazing allies out there. He will donate his time to the FEMME HOUSE part of the tour. Even though I’ve been like, we wanna pay you, he’s like, “No, this is my donation to your cause.”

And the venues, we don’t have any control over who works there. But they have been great at helping us get the first of three opener local DJs, sending us a list of women or gender-expansive individuals who DJ with them and letting us be part of that process and pick the opening slot. A lot of the staff at the venues are usually male-identified folks, but they have been awesome and supportive of this initiative. I feel a lot of support from the men that we’ve been working with.

Would you like to try to bring even more women on board?
Absolutely. Noelle Scaggs has a really cool nonprofit that makes sure the people behind the scenes are also people of color. And I think that diversity, in general, is really important for every single role. Audio engineers, tour managers, stagehands, venue operators. We like to see as much diversity in those roles as possible.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 04: Musician LP Giobbi performs onstage during the OUTLOUD: Raising Voices Concert Series at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on June 04, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

How did you come up with the idea to host music production workshops ahead of each show?

We were doing in-person workshops in Los Angeles in 2019 when FEMME HOUSE launched. Going into the pandemic was actually a silver lining for us because it forced us to move online, which really expanded our community internationally. So now we have quite the global reach, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise. 

At the time we were doing in-person workshops I always knew I would love to take this on the road and be able to do this while I tour. The platform is big enough and we have enough help and volunteers, we can fundraise enough money to make this happen. Finally, this is the opportunity, and my team worked so hard. For my agents to my management team to put this tour together, it was such a heavy lift on them and the Femme House team.

So, I had this dream. And finding spaces, finding instructors. I’m flying on and off multiple tours right now, actually. So I’m usually flying in right before the workshop. I’m the moderator. We have female Abelton-certified trainers. There are only six, period. There was actually only one until last year, so this is quite an improvement. Ableton is partnering with us and supporting those six women to go out and help us on the road in the city that they’re closest to. Once I had all of that locked in, I reached out to venues and asked if they could at least lower the price of the location, and they were extremely supportive of that. 

Are the instructors traveling with you, or are they all local?

We found in a bunch of locations that there is a certified trainer who lives near there. In some of the cases where we couldn’t find one, we are flying a few of them around to different stops. Then we also have our full-time educator, Mini Bear, who is Lauren Kop. Huge hats off to Lauren Kop, she developed the curriculum and is flying to a handful of places as well. 

What goes on in these workshops?

Everybody has to come with a computer and an Ableton license, which you can get for free download on our website. 

Was the “FEMME HOUSE Tour” intentionally planned where the bulk of it would take place during Women’s History Month?

Oh, that was planned. We’ve been planning this tour for eight months. 

What inspired you to first begin this program?

I took my first production course and it was me and 200-something other dudes. And for me that was inspiring and invigorating, but I know that’s not always the case. I just wanted to create my own community where I could share tracks and give notes, play each other’s music and make dance, put shows on together. It’s been developing in my head since the second I started making dance music. I have an amazing team. Lauren Spalding is my co-founder and Sophia LeBlanc runs everything.

Following the end of this tour, what are your plans to keep promoting gender equality in dance music?

We just dropped a compilation on Insomniac. The FEMME HOUSE compilation featured 10 female and gender-expansive individuals, and it’s been supported by Spotify. Then a handful of those artists are gonna be doing the FEMME HOUSE EDC Art Car Takeover at EDC this year. I can’t announce the rest yet, but we’ll be doing some stage takeovers at a few festivals, then we’ll be back with a FEMME HOUSE tour next year. 

You’ve also mentioned in the past that you find yourself dressing more masculine during shows. Do you think as you continue to get out on stage, you’ll find yourself gaining more confidence to start dressing more feminine?

Unfortunately, I’m still a product of our society and I have internalized sexism that is so real. But I definitely hope to work through that one day. I played a space recently where I wore a backless leotard, and I felt a little bit more feminine. I felt a little bit sexier, and I played music that was a little bit sexier. How I was interacting with the piano felt really different and I was tapping into my feminine side, which is so important. So it was cool to step into that.

I think my masculine energy is sort of overpowering, I have too much of it right now. And the feminine side is just not really respected enough in our society. It’s so productivity-based. And I’m working through that. Like, it’s okay to just exist. You are enough, you don’t need to be productive to have self-worth. So I think all those things are tied together and I hope to come to a place where I can express either side as fluidly as I want.