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LGBTIQ+ List 2024: Ary Maudit, Strongroom

Kicking off a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to the UK-based multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer

By Lisa Henderson on 05 Jun 2024

The LGBTIQ+ List 2024 – IQ Magazine’s fourth annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.

The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s fourth Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day, starting with Ary Maudit (they/them), a multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer at Strongroom Studio/Saffron Records in the UK.

Ary Maudit is a non-binary multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer who crafted their ears both in live and studio environments. Their mission is to empower trans, non-binary, women and gender-diverse artists inspired by the motivation of making the music industry a more inclusive place.

Starting in venues, and warehouses across east and south London – including the O2 Kentish Town Forum, E1 and Printworks – Ary landed at Strongroom Studio in 2021, accumulating credits on records from Sault, Yungblud, Tom Chaplin, Declan McKenna, Erland Cooper and more. At the same time, they toured as a FOH for Picture Parlour, Art School Girlfriend, and PECQ. When not in the studio, Ary is a sound mentor for Saffron and an active motorcycle rider, supporting Sapphic Ryders LMCC.

Tell us about the professional feat you’re most proud of in 2024 so far.
The year has just started and I feel like my best feat is yet to come. I definitely enjoyed kicking off the year on the road with Picture Parlour across UK and Europe. Great fun, I love them and I know they will go far. I am so grateful I get to be involved in the process.

What’s your most pressing challenge in the industry at the moment?
The music industry has many pressing challenges right now, mostly linked to the lack of funds and the overflowing of privilege. It is hard to identify the most pressing one as it might vary from profession to profession. Definitely, artists would benefit from less pressure in content creation and more value in their music, and music industry partitioners in more visibility and better pay.

“I found so many people who empowered me towards my career but struggled with affirming my professionality beyond my identity”

What would you like people to know about your experience as a trans person in the sound community (both live and recorded)?
That there are good people out there and good spaces. My personal experience so far has been a mixture of ups and downs. I found so many people who empowered me towards my career but also struggled with affirming my professionality beyond my identity. Especially touring, which involves very short turnaround times, rarely offers the opportunity of having ‘the conversation’ and it ends up being a parade of misgendering. To all the people approaching the industry at this very moment, I’d like to say to never stop speaking up for themselves and believing in their skills, even if sometimes they are not the person that everyone is expecting to be in charge behind the desk.

Why do you offer mentorship and reduced-priced/free sessions to LGBTQI+, BIPOC and minority people?
To make education more accessible to an unprivileged demographic, and re-qualify tech and educational spaces. I believe ‘what you can see, you can be’. At the beginning of my career, I struggled to find a mentor from my same background/gender identity/sexuality. Having someone like you who can not only teach technical concepts but help you navigate the industry understanding the nuances related to your identity, makes a big difference. So I’m not just interested in fostering diversity in sound, I would also like to offer others what I lacked.

“Often companies are more interested in ticking the inclusivity box rather than actively listening and making structural changes”

How do you see the live music business developing in the next few years?
On a general level, I feel it’s a tough time due to Brexit and the overall recession the UK is going through. Touring is getting harder and harder due to prices and artists are forced to make cuts in every corner to only break even most of the time. I can definitely see a total reshaping of old ways of doing things to give space to a more free and independent, DIY market. Hopefully, that will mean more opportunities to see queer artists at the top, which consequently will mean more inclusive crews.

Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
Take effective action. Many people are advocating for change and inclusion in different areas of the music industry, from live to studio. Although, often companies are more interested in ticking the inclusivity box rather than actively listening and making structural changes. The industry, all together, should actively work to make structural changes – from hiring processes to inclusion policies. It is a painful one as it requires dismantling old dynamics that have been in place for decades. Re-educating people who have been working in the industry for many years alongside pushing minorities to the higher grounds would ease this process. It is becoming more common nowadays to see women/non binary/trans and gender-diverse industry professionals at entry-level positions but there is some work to do in the higher grounds.

“I rarely go out nowadays as I am very busy with work, but Unfold is the only party I haven’t given up yet”

Shout out to your biggest ally in the live music industry.
Jake Murray, director of Strongroom Studios. He did and does to this day whatever is in his power to make inclusivity and equality part of his ethos. It is vital to have people like him in the industry who give equal opportunities to all.

What’s your favourite queer space?
Fold, without a shadow of a doubt. For those who don’t know, it is a community-driven nightclub and art space in Canning Town, London. It’s predominantly attended by queer people and they bring the best current electronic music/techno DJs and performers. They run an event called Unfold every first and third Sunday of every month which is uber trans/queer. I rarely go out nowadays as I am very busy with work, but Unfold is the only party I haven’t given up yet.


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