MySphera interview with Lisa Connolly - founder of The Bechdel Sound Test!

Updated: Mar 8




We're always thrilled to meet individuals that strive to push the music industry forward. That's why we were so thrilled when we met Lisa Connolly, founder of The Bechdel Sound Test, South London’s ultimate female fronted music weekender is back to celebrate International Women’s Day.


Empowered by all the feminist energy, I checked my Spotify playlists and saw some incredible female artists that just weren’t getting the recognition they deserved. @Lisa Connolly

Now in its third year, The Bechdel Sound Test, has curated a line up of the very best in up and coming female musical talent alongside DJs spinning tracks from musical royalty in venues across South London.


Together with Lisa we discussed about womxn empowerment in/through music, what motivated her to start her own events, music discovery and she even got some nice takes to all you music makers out there :)


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello! I’m Lisa, 30 something film grad and digital

marketer from a little village in Sussex. I’ve been a Londoner for 10 years now, and my main passions are music, film, charity & DIY culture.



How/why did you start The Bechdel Sound Test?


I started the project in height of #metoo in Jan 2018.

There was an all Female Big Brother, and it was also the beginning of the 100th year marking women getting the vote in the UK.


Empowered by all the feminist energy, I checked my Spotify playlists and saw some incredible female artists that just weren’t getting the recognition they deserved.


I thought it would be fun to put on a party at a local second hand vinyl and book store - The Book & Record Bar and celebrate all these female artists.


As a film grad & feminist, I saw an opportunity to applying the The Bechdel Test as a way of raising awareness of the gender divide in music.


In order to past the test, the film must contain a scene where 2 women are talking about something else other than a man. People had written articles applying it to music but no one had properly ran with it.


The only rule for The Bechdel Sound Test is the music has to be female fronted, and all genres are allowed. This means you could hear anything from Spice Girls to the Raincoats on our nights.


This makes it super fun, as in reality most people have a diverse music taste and don’t want to hear just one genre 24/7



In which ways do you help women in the music ecosystem?


Our goal is to raise awareness of the gender imbalance in the music industry and provide a platform for up and coming womxn artists.


As we’re currently quite small scale, our events are based in London for now, but I have plans to extend to further UK events.


Who knows I could take this around the world if there is a demand for it! I’ve also been reaching out to more established artists for interviews to help provide guidance for women to make it in the music industry. Our content is mainly focused on social Media but a website will be launching very soon


How do you see women evolving in the music industry in 2020?


Hopefully we will continue to see more recognition for women, and particularly in music production.


I was so happy to see Hildur Guonadottir win the Oscar for best Original Score for Joker. Her acceptance speech was particularly moving, showing how award shows can be used to inspire women to enter the music industry.


"To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up, we to hear your voices."

Who are 5 artists that are aligned with your agenda?


I couldn’t do that, as all female artists are aligned with our agenda!


But my particular faves at the mo are Sleater Kinney, Grimes, Self Esteem, Cardi B & The Orielles.



Can you share a few other companies/labels/crews that empower women in the music industry?


Loud Women, Get in Her Ears, WXMB 2, Keychange & Primavera Festival for continuing to put really excellent gender balanced music line ups.


Vick Bain is also a hero of mine, via her PHD work in analyzing the gender gap in music, everyone should check out her research “Counting the music” - she is the expert in this field!


What is the first thing you notice when you first listen to a track?


Relatable lyrics and catchy hooks.



Which songs/albums/artists do you have on repeat at the moment?

Oh wow, erm...New Grimes album

Is rather excellent but I also love all the ladies on the Italians Do it Better Label - Glass Candy, Desire & Orion. I basically love anything synth based.



How/Where do you discover music?


Mostly via Spotify recommendations & Social Media for hearing about new releases



Can you share a few tips for an independent musician taking his first steps in the music industry?


As I’m not a musician myself, I’m not really in a good place to comment on that - I can however give advice from a promoter perspective. The one thing I’d say is marketing is so important. If you’re not prepared to put yourself out there, you won’t grow as an artist. Your brand or persona is so important, as this is what draws people into listening to you. Perfect your elevator pitch of influences and styles to win over new listeners in such a crowded market.



Be sure to catch the next events of The Bechdel Sound Test!

For tickets >> http://bit.ly/bechdelweekender


Friday 6th March - Launch Party @ Book & Record Bar

8pm - 1am

Rosie Riot & Bechdel DJs

£5 Advanced (Tickets OTD too)

Tickets: bit.ly/launchpartybechdel

BRB Address: 20 Norwood High St, Norwood, London SE27 9NR


Saturday 7th March - Live Gig @ Windmill Brixton

CHROMA, Currls, Foundlings, Rookes, Faultress

£5 Advanced (Tickets OTD too)

7pm till late

Tickets: Dice bit.ly/bechdeldice or Eventbrite bit.ly/bechdeldice

Windmill Address: 22 Blenheim Gardens, Brixton, London SW2 5BZ


Sunday 8th March - International Women’s Day Party @ Upstairs at the Ritzy

Live Music, DJs, Stalls

12-6pm

FREE ENTRY (DONATIONS TO REFUGE & SAMARITANS)

More info: http://bit.ly/iwdpartybechdel

Address - Upstairs at Ritzy Picturehouse, Brixton, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, London, SW2 1JG


Follow The Bechdel Soundtest on socials:

Instagram: @thebechdelsoundtest

Twittter: @thebechdelsound

FB: The Bechdel Sound Test