It's been fun and inspiring watching Claudia Saenz aka Tear Drop take Chulita Vinyl Club to where it is right now. From the first time they spun at Hi-Tones to just a few weekends ago opening from Bidi Bidi Banda, Chulita Vinyl Club hit a lot of milestones and caught the interest of many women. Claudia has recruited Chulitas from all over the country (even internationally) who all have the same ambition: to spin the music that they enjoy in an environment they create all the while enriching and encouraging empowerment for women.
This Friday, Feb. 5 Chulita Vinyl Club hit their one year mark and will be celebrating their accomplishment's at The Bang Bang Bar, another platform that celebrates 'girl power' founded by Girl in a Coma and FEA members Jenn Alva and Phanie Diaz.
In this day and age its shocking and not shocking that women face a backlash from the music they perform/play from men. It's as if a women who can carry on a conversation about music and to know what they're talking about is such a foreign concept. Flavorwire's Jes Skolnik published an article late last year titled "Why Don’t We Ever Talk About Women Sharing Music With Each Other?" where she explains that even streaming services have a marketing strategy that pertains more to women's significant others and the aesthetics of music rather than the music itself that they believe women would be more interested in. She states:
"At the core of these prejudices are the assumption that women just aren’t interested in music, that they aren’t discerning in their taste, that they’re more interested in how the performers look than how they sound. This sort of ignorance about the way women interact with music is still deeply entrenched in the conversation about music discovery that swirls around streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora. Part of the appeal of these services is their various recommendation algorithms, like Apple Music’s “For You” feature, which has been advertised as an “instant boyfriend mixtape service” – even though the ad with this tagline, directed by Ava DuVernay and featuring Taraji P. Henson, Mary J. Blige, and Kerry Washington, is actually about women sharing music with one another, women who are independently interested in music rather than relying on a boyfriend to spark their exploration. It seems to me like that invisible boyfriend was pretty useless to begin with."
It's women like Claudia, that have taken this horrible connotation by the bull horns and are creating leg-way for all women everywhere who enjoy and know music. Sobre Sound caught up with Claudia about her experiences in the past year:
Sobre Sound: After starting CVC and taking it on the road, what have you learned this past year?
Claudia Saenz: It’s important to know how vital it is to create spaces for women in the public sphere, especially women of color. I learned that stereotype threat exists and when a space is dominated by men, we think, “If girls like me aren’t represented in this scene then it must not be and I don’t belong here.” Chulita Vinyl Club hopes to continue creating a space for women that allows growth and encourages empowerment. We’ve simply created a space for vinyl loving girls to share and appreciate music.
There are so many larger scale industries dominated by men from politics, technology, engineering to music that it permeates throughout the small-scale outfits.
Women empowerment is important, and even on a small scale move, a vinyl club, it can help us as women move forward. CVC encourages women to be independent, to create and recognize it’s difficult being a woman, and we need each other for support.
Sobre: Is CVC where you want it to be? Has it exceeded your expectations?
Claudia: The amount of support for Chulita Vinyl Club granted us the ability to create a network of women with a passion for music. The initial goal was to get a couple of girls together every now and then and play a couple of records for people to sway and dance to. Through Chulita Vinyl Club, I wanted to inspire girls and get them to trust their passion in music and records; it then grew and molded into a collective and movement.
The real vision and real success of CVC can be seen in the space that it creates for women that want to create yet they either don’t know how to start, don’t have a space that allows them to do so or want to be a part of something that they never thought they were allowed to be in. CVC can even be seen as a workshop for girls that want to create and learn the basics of DJng. I’ve even seen some of the girls graduate onto creating their own DJ nights and some are even a part of other DJ collectives in their cities.
Sobre: What does this culture mean to you, personally?
Claudia: Music on vinyl is essentially an active experience. Putting on a record to play is an experience that gives you the satisfaction of really appreciating and experiencing what the artist’s intention was when they made that record.
At home, you can just sit and be wrapped by the music, listen to it, feel it. It’s a definite intimacy you feel when you put on a record to listen.
Those thin grooves that through vibration is picked up by a stylus – just the process alone, engulfs you in.
The search for records by spending an entire afternoon searching for records – crate digging- is satisfying. You create a deep, fond feeling for your records. They become sacred to you.
Getting to share that experience at a venue for a crowd of people to enjoy is the beauty of DJing because you are essentially generously sharing these tracks. Our collections are dear and personal to us we spend a lot of time, effort, and money, to collect. When we DJ, it’s very singular to each one of us because we took the time to select the records we are playing in front of you. We hope that it hits you in the heart whether they love it because it’s a good beat to dance to or they’ve never heard that song before and want to know more.
Sobre: How has CVC grown? What would you like to see for Chulita Vinyl Club's 2-year anniversary?
Claudia: CVC is still at a no music genre policy in that anything goes as the purpose of this club still remains to bring together the community of vinyl loving girls. There is still no experience needed to join the club, it is still all vinyl and we’re still accepting members. Girls interested can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and at facebook.com/chulitavinylclub
Sobre: What do you ladies have in store for the next couple of months?
Claudia: We’re planning on a couple of events in the next couple of months throughout Texas DJng vinyl as we continue to do what we do.
Throughout the year, we’ve collaborated with women artists and designers such as Theresa Moher, Ingrid Mejia & Regina Roman that have contributed to our flyer art and logos and they’ve also set up and sold art at our events, so we’re looking to feature many more women artists and designers in the upcoming year.
Also planning on creating multiple chapters of CVC throughout the nation by creating that space for women to DJ. We should be active in California in the next couple of months.