Red Bull Studios’ Pro Sound Award winning Normal Not Novelty series is back for 2019, offering workshops, Q&As and masterclasses for women in the pro audio industry. Katie Tavini, a regular presenter at the NNN events, sent back this report on its return…
This is a slightly delayed reaction, but this month I want to tell you guys that Normal Not Novelty is now back for its third year.
For those of you who don't know, Normal Not Novelty is a free monthly event, masterminded by Brendon Harding, held at Red Bull Studios (and sometimes other cities around the UK). Each event is comprised of DJ, production, and engineering workshops running simultaneously, followed by networking and drinks. Oh, and it's only for women.
I have been hosting the engineering workshop at NNN events since they began in January 2017, and I'm pretty convinced that it's the only reason I'm still working as an engineer. NNN gives women a safe space to learn, ask questions, network and gain contacts. And it's a right laugh too! Honestly, each month when I get on the tube home my face is always so sore from laughing and chatting, which is a feeling I rarely get after mixed events. (Side note: the last time I attended a mixed pro audio event, I was one of a handful of women, and no one other than the other women there would talk to me. Male attendees actually turned their backs on me during the networking part.)
NNN has been a game changer for numerous reasons, and it was an amazing achievement at PSNEurope’s Pro Sound Awards in November 2018 to win the event’s first ever Campaign Award on account of the impact it has made on the industry. Receiving this award was such an incredible honour, and it was fantastic to have Brendon Harding's work recognised. (For the December 2018 edition of PSNEurope, I wrote an article on why these events are needed – if you're reading this and wondering why they're a thing, have a read of it before continuing).
Lauren Deakin-Davies, Breakthrough Studio Engineer winner at the 2018 Pro Sound Awards, has described NNN as "an amazing unique event that truly highlights great talent. It creates a safe, friendly environment where you can discuss your music with like-minded people and also learn new skills and techniques you didn't even know existed!”
Meanwhile, musician and composer Abi Wade said of the initiative: “NNN builds connections and friendships. In an industry where females/nonbinary are the minority, NNN gave me the opportunity to choose a masterer or engineer that would otherwise not have been available to me. I also reconnected with musicians I had lost touch with and it really opened up a lot of new opportunities through the friendships I made there.”
Towards the end of 2018, we paused NNN for a short time whilst the Red Bull HQ moved from London Bridge to Covent Garden; the new facility is incredible (and the studio has the coolest studio clock you'll ever see, trust me). We also said a very sad goodbye to Brendon, as he left Red Bull to pursue other cool stuff. But in January 2019, we relaunched in the beautiful new Red Bull HQ. The engineering session was a mix feedback session, something I'm really passionate about. I think it's really important to have a safe space to play music and get constructive feedback, because good feedback is so hard to come by.
If you would like to attend a Normal Not Novelty event, go to this web page which is updated monthly.