In this series, mica – music austria and Austrian Music Export have collected the experiences and perspectives of women in the music business. No matter the categories, quotas or breakdowns, the goal is 100% of us working together in the struggle for feminism. Yasmin Hafedh, aka Yasmo, is one of the leading voices in German-language poetry slam and hip-hop; in recent years she has also become increasingly sought-after as a curator and organizer. She performs with her 8-piece band, Yasmo & die Klangkantine.
What people / institutions / funding programs helped you along the way in the music business?
Yasmo: I had a great mentor in Mieze Medusa; she helped me a huge amount. Later on it was my label, Ink music, particularly Hannes Tschürtz. Of course, getting off the ground in Austria would have been impossible without FM4 – that station has to survive; it’s extremely important for the diverse Austrian music scene, and it’s partially thanks to them that that scene exists.
“…you learn the most when you’re active: doing, moving.”
How and where did you get your experience in the music business? What were your biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?
Yasmo: Well, you just keep on moving, stay curious and never stop learning. I think you learn the most when you’re active: doing, moving. That starts with writing music, continues with recording and playing live, and extends to distribution and royalties. If you like nerding out – and I do – you can learn a lot.
What kind of support have you received in your career? Where would you have liked (more) support?
Yasmo: I was strongly supported by the different scenes I’m a part of. Above all, intersectional feminism is essential, especially when it comes to actively living solidarity. When I was starting out there was no VERA, the BMKOES [Austrian cultural ministry] advisory office, but I’m glad it exists now.
“Above all, intersectional feminism is essential, especially when it comes to actively living solidarity.”
Did you have role models around you to look up to?
Yasmo: Yes – without Mieze Medusa, with whom I’m bringing a book out at the end of April, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What role models do women in the music business have right now? What can you pass on to others?
Yasmo: Anyone who knows me knows that I’m very active in a lot of different areas – and so I have insight into a lot of different structures. A lot of artists know they can just call me or write me if they need help; if I don’t know the answer, I send them to mica.
What role does age play for you?
Yasmo: Age hardly plays a role for me at all, but of course it’s clear to me that inexperienced people can be exploited more easily; in those cases I try to look […] to see that everything is OK.
What would you like to see in terms of a more diverse music scene?
Yasmo: The will to create it, and an end to the commercial ignorance that is so good at perpetuating itself, and so incredibly boring.
What questions do you get asked that a man would never be asked?
Yasmo: What’s it like to be a woman? What questions do you get asked that a man would never get asked? Well… 🙂
Translated from the German original by Philip Yaeger.