Instagram can be a dreadful and hopeless place oftentimes. Mindlessly scrolling through other people’s holidays, inspirational quotes, and whatever-challenge-is-trending-right-now posts can turn a normal, sane human being into a sociopath. Trust us on that one. But sometimes, somehow, a quick visit to this social network can spark joy in our hearts. This is exactly what happened to me when Jenn D’Eugenio, founder of the fantastic Women In Vinyl and chief of sales of Furnace Record Pressing, sent us a DM wondering if we could recommend someone here to feature on Women In Vinyl. The answer was yes and, I’m not going to lie, I was ecstatic to get to know this project better and to be able to share it with the Discogs community.
Women In Vinyl was started by Jenn on August 2018 and it hasn’t stopped growing since. Featuring interviews with women working in music, her mission feels crucial in an industry that still struggles with recognition and gender equality. She’s normally the interviewer, but this time we are the ones that have the pleasure of asking her a bunch of questions.
Interview with Jenn D’Eugenio of Women in Vinyl
How was Women in Vinyl born?
Women in Vinyl was started as a side project I created while there was this meme going around that drove me crazy. It was of a 1950’s couple, the man is holding a record with a speech bubble reading, “This is the first pressing of Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin released in 1975. See, you can tell it’s got made in the UK and no Warner logo.”
The guy’s wife is sitting there knitting and her speech bubble mentions how she couldn’t care less. It drove me crazy because I’ve been a vinyl collector since before the “revival” and while I understand the sentiment, why did it have to appear as if the wives or women didn’t care? No one thought to stop for a second and see the bigger picture. That, along with the way I’d been treated a few times in record stores and then once I started working in manufacturing, I realized something needed to be said.
What are the main challenges that women experience in the music industry?
I can’t say the story is the same for everyone or that every woman even feels there are challenges presented to her in the industry. In general, statistics show that women are almost always underpaid in the workforce in comparison to their male colleagues, and in any industry that has often been led by men, it is a place that women have a harder time planting their feet and appearing credible or having their voices heard. I always like to point out that I’m not saying that women are better than men or that all men are this way, but anytime someone is different from the norm and acceptance comes into play, there will be people that have a harder time being inclusive and the goal is to share these women’s stories who are smart, hard-working and have a passion for music on vinyl.
Who do you consider a role model in the industry?
All the women I interview and have yet to interview. That may sound like a cop-out answer but they are. Each of them is working hard for something they love and are paving their way, and making an impact in one way or another.
What do you hope to achieve with Women In Vinyl?
The goal of Women in Vinyl is to empower women working in the music industry to create, preserve and improve the art of music on vinyl. Right now my interviews and blog posts, I hope, do that in sharing these women’s passion and hard work.
The future goal is for nonprofit status where Women in Vinyl aims to help girls interested in careers in music from audio engineering to DJ school achieve those dreams with the resources and funding to do so.
What does your own music collection look like?
All vinyl and all kinds of genres, we’re running out of space in our house. Both my partner/boyfriend Ray and I are vinyl collectors. My main genres to get specific are stoner rock, space rock, psych, doom and then some post-punk, post-metal and 90s alternative in the mix.
My obsession (I guess is what you could call it at this point) is Black Sabbath vinyl. They’re my favorite band so I have a ton of comps, alternate pressings, cover variants, etc. I have over 30 vinyl variations for example of their 3rd studio album Master of Reality as well as tapes / 8-tracks, and a reel to reel. I’d love to catalog them all and figure out how each of the different covers ended up getting released and so on.
What needs to change in the industry for more women to get involved?
I used to work at a design college with the Industrial Design and Service Design community and I learned a lot about the importance of STEM education. I think science, technology, engineering, and math correspond in this space as well. The more we expose young girls to these types of things the more we will see them think about careers in mastering, or figuring out a way to do something new with vinyl as a medium. I always loved music growing up but never thought of a career in it. Opening up these possibilities at a young age is key.
Who’s your dream interview subject, and why?
I have a few, and I’m sure there are more that I may not even know about yet. But I’d say Liz Dunster who started Erika Records, and Caren Kelleher of Gold Rush Vinyl because these women are running record pressing plants. The ins and outs of vinyl manufacturing are so interesting to me, and women owning these plants is inspiring. Also, Missi Callazzo of Megaforce Records because she’s been in this industry for a long time and has worn a lot of different hats. Jenna Miles of SRC Vinyl for the various ways she’s involved in the community. Then, Colleen Murphy was one as well, she started Classic Album Sundays is an all-vinyl DJ and also is a key player in the vinyl community, but I was lucky enough to have her participate already.