Lauren Spalding, AKA Hermixalot, is a music maven extraordinaire. She is an Executive Director of FEMME HOUSE Records, a nonprofit on a mission to amplify equal opportunities for women, gender-expansive individuals, and underrepresented or marginalized groups in the music industry.
Lauren’s musical journey started right after high school when she dove headfirst into the music world. She began as a PR intern at the legendary Capitol Records, and since then, she’s done it all – from behind-the-scenes magic to taking center stage as an artist herself.
Lauren sat down to chat with HIHF leading into Elements festival, where FEMME HOUSE took on a massive takeover on the Water Stage. We dove into what makes FEMME HOUSE extraordinary as an organization and who would perform. We also looked back at Lauren’s journey and the unitive mission of FEMME HOUSE. Check out the full interview below!
HIHF: Hey, Lauren, Welcome to HIHF! We are so thrilled to have this opportunity to speak with you about the FEMME HOUSE Takeover at Elements Festival. What are you most excited about when it comes to the takeover?
Lauren: We’re excited to be part of Elements Festival because it gives us the opportunity to change the demographics of the representation at the festival and showcase new talent. We’re passionate about providing opportunities and are thrilled to be able to do so at this festival.
HIHF: Could you tell us about the FEMME HOUSE mission – how have you seen changes since you began undertaking your goal of creating opportunities for women, gender-expansive, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ creatives?
Lauren: Our mission is to provide education and teach people skills at every event we attend. I remember hosting our first event with twelve women huddled around a laptop teaching just the basics about properly setting up a project for the first time. We’re committed to activating our mission throughout our presence and are grateful for our partners who share our passion for education. It’s rewarding to give back to the community and pass along professional skills at any opportunity we have!
HIHF: FEMME HOUSE also organizes workshops, could you tell us more about those?
Lauren: The workshops run the gamut! Everything feels so much bigger at this point. We started a few years ago just to provide Ableton classes. The first workshop was a dozen women at Ableton Studios in Pasadena crowded around a laptop learning how to load a new session into Ableton. What we really want is to teach folks that you wouldn’t necessarily Identify as a “producer.” We were really inspired by a stat we saw when Emily Lazar was nominated in the non-classical producer category, it said only 3% of producers are women. We responded directly to that statistic and made it our goal to teach women how to produce.
HIHF: Let’s chat about the highly anticipated FEMME HOUSE Elements stage takeover, what can you tell us about these fantastic artists and their journey to this stage? When did they first get involved?
Lauren: Riva + Bianca are former contest winners who won back in 2022 to open at Hula. We’re thrilled to bring them along and showcase their talent. Our contest winner for Elements, Majesty of Divinity, submitted a mix that was so much fun and well-curated – it felt like a great tone-setter for everyone else and really embodied the spirit of Elements. As for the contest, evaluating the over 100 submissions which we received was a tedious and challenging process, but we had the whole team listening to them and sharing their thoughts because they were all so good. We’ve been doing these contests for a little over a year now and we’ve seen growth among people who submit more than once. One of the reasons we do these contests is to help change the representation on lineups which tend to have ticket sellers on the top lines; the rest is gravy. Sometimes it’s an agent’s game – if you’ve played somewhere before or have met someone you may be more likely to attain a spot on another lineup. One of the greatest benefits that come from the contests is resume building for artists who win, we really love building an artist’s resume and providing an opportunity to display experience on stage.
HIHF: How has your experience in the music industry shaped your outlook and your goals at FEMME HOUSE?
Lauren: I’m thirty-eight I’m black and queer and I’ve been working in music since I was seventeen. I was interning at Capital Records when I got my first job through a program for brown students. At FEMME HOUSE, I think it’s all about giving people a shot. A big cop out i hear is “the talent just isn’t there,” but that’s not true! We want to work with partners who are interested in leveling out playing fields, and are willing to see beyond the surface level. We aim to provide access to everyone who wants it, and help provide opportunities to everyone who deserves it.
HIHF: We really appreciate the importance of the FEMME HOUSE mission and the importance of creating enriching and diverse environments for all people to come together and celebrate music. Could you share some ways members of the music community can support their friends and neighbors who are a part of the gender-expansive, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ communities?
Lauren: Being an ally is the best thing you can do. Allies should practice mindfulness, and stay aware of space and privilege; helping those who don’t have it rather than using or taking from them. Ultimately it’s all about safety and keeping people safe! Sometimes what it takes is utilizing your resources as an ally to ensure the safety of others. At FEMME HOUSE, we love our community. Our community has built up so much for others and I credit my team with so much. They approach everything from a place of support and safety. We center those values at the heart of everything we do.
Our takeover at HULA last year went from noon to 2 AM and I was so thrilled to see so many people come early and stay rockin’ till the very end. When I had the opportunity to go out in the crowd it was so enlightening. We had all the outliers, those who may have been struggling to find their space or themselves represented. We aimed to create a safe space for everyone who felt weird, and I was so happy our community came together to do just that.
Thanks so much to Lauren for spending some time with the HIHF team. We are so excited to have an opportunity to share the FEMME HOUSE mission with the HIHF community and we are so thankful for the work they do. Hermixalot’s story is one of great triumph and her strength is best exemplified in her empowerment and understanding of others – a beacon of light for all. Big things coming for FEMME HOUSE and Hermixalot!
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