Aug 5, 2021
6 min read
There are few in dance music who combine their musical past and present as effectively as LP Giobbi. The classically trained jazz pianist injects her multi-platform DJ sets with syncopated notes hinting at the roots of house music every time she lays a rhythmic keyboard improv over a looped 4/4 beat. She’s exuberant and charismatic as she twists and glides from piano to CDJs and back, never for a moment allowing the music to stop flowing through every inch of her body. She's harnessed an authentic activist mindset that reminds us of the mere act of getting out there on the dance floor, listening to a diva sing over a 4/4 beat with an acid-squelching baseline, that's fucking activism, man.
“The only time I feel completely present as a human—and that sounds so cheesy, but it's true—is when I'm on stage playing music. “ She explains this as she tries to rationalize the constant struggle of the modern musician. Doing hundreds of things that aren't making music and still finding time for music.
“I'm not thinking about what I have to do on my to-do list. I'm just thinking about getting to connect with the people that I can see in the audience and see their joy. This is where I'm actually living my life.”
Giobbi was always indelibly connected to the stage. Her first big break as a performer came when Peter Franco, Daft Punk's studio engineer, discovered her playing jazz in San Francisco. To have those moments ripped away was devastating. On the eve of joining her best friends Sofi Tukker on their European tour in March of 2020, her manager told her that the next 52 weeks of shows are canceled and it was time to start streaming. She reluctantly took the show to Twitch.
“I remember thinking standing on the other side of this tiny web camera is going to be pretty soul sucking, but I don't know what else to do.”
She realigned with the joy of performance as the community affectionately referred to as the Freak Fam coalesced around her and Sofi Tukker, who spent nearly every day of the pandemic on Twitch. She soon realized how liberating it was to be free of one-hour set times.
“It also allowed me to get a little bit weirder, like sort of see myself more as like a one-person jam band.” It's an important point to note for a woman raised by two Dead Heads.
The world of dance music united across borders as fans from around the world hopped from stream to stream on Twitch. Giobbi was a huge part of that. “I've never felt more connected in a year where I thought I was not going to be connected at all.”
With the increased visibility, Giobbi uncovered a larger platform for her 501(c)(3) Femme House, an artist collective and educational platform that is giving more visibility to women in music. She launched She Is The Producer in partnership with Alicia Keys’ She Is the Music, and GRAMMY-winning studio engineer Emily Lazar’s We Are Moving the Needle. With the support of music software giant Ableton, Giobbi’s organization gave 3,000 women around the world access to music production software and classes to get started.
It was an emotional moment to scroll through the massive Zoom chat for the first class and see greetings from Mexico, Canada, Australia, and Brazil. It’s remarkable to think how many lives were changed she says.
“I oftentimes think, ‘Okay, having more female producers. Is that going to change the world?’ And maybe that in of itself isn't, but what it does is it makes you see yourself in a role you didn't think you could be in before. It changes your general concept of yourself.”
With a year of reconning with the social failings of our system, I ask Giobbi if the needle is moving in the right direction. She feels headway is being made, but when she is still the only female DJ across two days of DJing major music festivals, there’s still much improvement to make.
“I understand that as a promoter, you need to book acts that will sell tickets. This is your livelihood, I totally respect that and get that. That being said, only the headliners are actually selling the tickets. That means that there's usually an entire lineup of you know, 40 other acts, below the headliners that people are excited to see but maybe they're not gonna' actually sell the ticket. So, just be aware and make sure that that area is diverse… the bookers and the agents just need to be finally more conscious on how diverse that bottom half looks.”
She does her part by sending notes to promoters on who they should book when she signs a contract to play. She makes sure that talent buyers have contact info for diverse talent in each area.
“Whenever I get booked, we send out a spreadsheet. I'm gonna make your job as easy as possible. Here's a list of artists. Here's their contacts. Here's their social numbers. Here's their Spotify numbers. Here's all the information that you would need to know before you book them, here it is, please reach out if you can.”
Shortly before our call, she's told that she hit the career milestone of having 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify. Just a year ago she hovered around 10,000, so she's understandably elated at the news. She has more festival bookings than she can shake a fist at, including what she reveals is a special set at Bonnaroo. However, her selfless spirit shows when she discusses how her success relates to her ultimate goal.
She explains how she plans to demand more inclusion and equity in music. “The reason that I keep grinding in the studio and trying to build this platform is not for money. It is because I'm hoping that the more power and leverage that my team and I build, that I can then do that. I'm not there yet. But I do think that, you know, as this builds, that's what I'm going to use my power for 1,000%.”