Orthentix as a creative practitioner produces, publishes and performs her unique style of music. Orthentix as an entrepreneur is a freelance studio producer, published writer in the field of musicology, and an educator and mentor. Based in the Northern Rivers NSW Australia, her creative work and at times written material critiques social constructs and generates meaningful dialogue about the realities of womanhood in a patriarchal world. While her entrepreneurship is a representation of females in music technology and production where her aim is to break down gender stereotypes and empower more women to the male dominated fields. She feels just by doing the work she does as a female is a political statement within itself.
The Vision, Ambition and Principles of Orthentix
Upon analysis of Orthentix and her schematics as a creative practitioner and music producer, it doesn’t take long before you’re affected by her musical expressions which are full of substance, emotion, and grit. Releasing her first single ‘Kunoichi Spirit in 2015 which was an empowering song based on the female ninja. This follows with her first album ‘Fractured’ in 2017. Fractured explores the notions of the cracks within the human being, and the broken being more beautiful than the complete. Conceptualized from Kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold. As our dreams and hopes fall from our hands and shatter into a million pieces, how do we find the beauty in the broken? We wind sturdy bandages of golden resin around the cracks in our hearts. In 2019 she released her second album ‘Divine Affliction’, even more dynamic than the first. ‘Divine Affliction’ is a musical expression of the divine feminine and afflictions she faces. She finds strength in her vulnerability and turns her afflictions into a virtue. The music is a journey through the female experience describing her many facets, motherhood, diversity, empathy, and divine sexuality. Orthentix has performed live across Australia at many events and festivals including; Earth Frequency Festival QLD 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2022, Newkind Festival TAS 2018, Nunyara Cultural Festival NSW 2018, Roar Women’s Music Festival NSW 2019, along with many local events in the Northern NSW region.
Orthentix as an entrepreneur has been commissioned to produce audio and music works for many artists including music composition and production for the Box of Birds dance group, audiobook production and engineering for Christa Mac, and audio mixing and composition for Wayne McPhee of The X Collective’s theater production ‘Leaves of Glass’. Her written academia has been published with Taylor Francis, Dancecult, and on her personal blog. She is an educator and mentor with DJ School Australia and co-manages the Sista’s of Spin Friday evening radio show at Bay FM in Byron Bay NSW. Where she and co-manager mentor and train female DJs with the radio broadcasting, music technology, and studio panel operating skills to amplify more females on the airwaves. She is also the JNR studio technician at Bay FM radio. She feels now is the time to show females in another light; our creativity and technical skills are culturally aware and intellectually sound.
Music has been a constant in Orthentix founder Louise M Thompson’s life. From the age of five, she would memorize the weekly top 20 countdowns, learning the trends of the industry and what she liked stylistically in the production. She wanted to be a performer or rock star, though her real interest was in the studio and music production. Her father would feed her interest in music technology and production, bringing home old or broken electronics from his workplace, an electronics and record store. She struck gold when he brought home a dynamic microphone, and she quickly started recording song lyrics that she had composed. By the age of ten, she produced her first song for my neighbor’s little sister’s birthday, presented on a cassette tape. During high school, she started making conceptual mixtapes for friends. She thought her future was set; she was off to Abbey Road Studio to learn from Sir George Martin, due to her father’s influence with The Beatles. Sadly her dreams came crashing down during adolescence when she gained comprehension of the social constructs of being a female and the barriers this bore to becoming a professional music producer, with her guidance counselor insisting that she would make a great studio receptionist…this is a man’s world.
Music production and technology have been perpetually considered male domains, deeply rooted in gender stereotyping with females under-represented in these fields. Evidence of this can be identified with the vast majority of the gatekeeper roles in the music industry, a predominantly male dominion, deciding who gets the job, who gets the award and who makes the money. This shows confirmation of the male privilege and dominance within the political dynamic of the music industry. Ange McCormack in Triple J’s Hack By The Numbers 2018 reports, “If you’re working as a songwriter, an artist manager, an indie label manager or on the board of a peak music body, you’re more likely to be a man than a woman”. The representation of females in this space has created a lack of access to music production for females. This has led to a situation where there is a massive under-representation of females producing and creating music, and the few that are there perpetuate tokenization. The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in 2022 found that 2.8% of music producers are females, 22.3% of music artists are females, and 12.8% of songwriters are females. These industry-specific components have forged the circumstances for the gender inequalities within the music industry, leading to a masculine dominated voice in music production as an omnipresent feature. Music’s lack of diversity marginalizes over half of the Global population, let alone indigenous and other minorities, painting our culture as predominantly white and male based on the musical artifacts. These deficiencies gave founder Thompson motivation to address these outdated patriarchal assumptions. She became empowered as a female to produce her music and gain the skills necessary to work in studios. She aims to be a representation of her gender in this space so other females see a reflection of themselves within the culture, and believes change can be impacted through representations and reconstruction of music production and technology discourse with a feminine vernacular based on inclusivity.
As a musician Thompson played 70’s rock licks on guitar before starting music lessons with a church organist. Once at primary school, she played flute in the orchestra and studied music theory. By high school with rebellion the focus, she played electric guitar, mainly Punk and Grunge and was influenced by the genres Hip-Hop, Rap, and Trip-Hop. As a young adult after having her first daughter, she played percussive world music focusing on African marimbas and drumming. The amalgamation and integration of her musical journey, echo’s throughout her tracks. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Audio Production (SAE Institute) in 2015, and in the same year went back to study a Diploma of Electronic Music Production (SAE Institute). She has recently graduated in 2022 with a Master’s degree in Creative Industries (SAE Institute) with graduate project, Divine Affliction: The Intersection of Gender on Music Production receiving the award of high distinction and gave birth to her second daughter during her studies. Divine Affliction consisted of an album, blog, written academia, and a first person film titled Divine Affliction: The Film which has gained multiple film laurels. Orthentix founder Louise M Thompson has also had the opportunity in 2019 to participate in a music production workshop with Prince’s engineer of 20 years Susan Rogers, and in 2022 was a participant in the Australian Independent Record Label Association’s Women in Music mentorship where she gained further professional development to become a leader in the industry.
Business Challenges vs Opportunities
Word on the street is Artificial Intelligence (AI) leads to challenges in business for artists leading to copyright and IP violations. With data used in training datasets for publicly available models using artworks from artists without their consent and without giving them recognition. This may cause people to devalue the work of actual artists. Though artificial intelligence should be used as a tool by artists not to replace artists. AI can be an opportunity for artists to reduce the amount of time creators spend experimenting or on mind numbing time consuming tasks. AI may also help with creative or writing blocks leading to ideation and brainstorming, again saving the artist time. It’s all about perspective and Orthentix is intrigued by the future of AI and sees it as a business opportunity.
Her Advice On Business
Very few people make money from just producing music. Kurt Vonnegut said, “The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.” Thompson has found a way to make a living from her art while making life more bearable with multiple streams of income. As a creative, many don’t like to be bogged down in the regular 9-5. Though you still need to make a living to pay the bills along with time to be creative and maintain passion with your work. Having multiple income streams has given Thompson the ability to accomplish this. By being her own boss as an entrepreneur and creative practitioner she has the luxury of working to her own schedule. She stays passionate with her work by doing a range of different creative work from music production, DJing, radio presenting, education/mentoring, writing, and sometimes live sound engineering.
To succeed, time management and financial literacy are essential skills. It ain’t all about writing music and DJing. To help with time management, outsource other creatives to do the chores that you either don’t have the skills for or don’t enjoy. Find your posse! Having a creative network of people that you regularly collaborate with builds awareness to your business with cross pollination of possible fans. Your posse are also people that are in your corner, got your back, and lift you up through the lows. And finally, if you are on the rise, empower and bring other women to the top with you.
If you’re looking for unique music, visit her website by clicking here or follow Orthentix on social media to connect and stay updated on her latest offerings. You can follow Orthentix on Instagram under the handle @orthentix.
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