Jo Thomas- “It is very important that all women's voices are represented in music, from composers to the boardrooms. It is not enough to say good work always gets through; it needs to be pushed, shoved and catapulted really hard.”
Working across the spectrum of sound design, and composing often improvisational music, Jo Thomas is an award winning and multi-talented composer. We spoke to her about where she draws her inspiration from, and about her experiences being a woman in the world of music. Read her thought-provoking answers below:
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Lots of places all at once. I'm inspired by feeling air on my face, swimming, moments of breath-taking beauty, independence, detail, skill, difference love, grace, sensuality, and drama. I'm very inspired by huge mess and states of almost chronic perfection. I'm inspired by landscapes and urban changes. I'm inspired by warmth.
Do you think the word composer adequately reflects you an artist?
I feel I own the word composer. I know I have always been a composer. I am quite comfortable with the word producer and sound artist but the word composer seems embedded in my bones.
Tell us a bit about your experiences as a female composer; have you faced any challenges?
I work with electronic sound and have explored the medium in lots of different ways. From acousmatic, to site-specific work and live electronic instrumental work. I have my own label called Soft Apple where I release electronic music. For me being a female composer has always been about radical thinking, realizing quite strong internal drive, making my own decisions, being pro-active. I am disabled and I am aware of intersectionality. There is bias, there is sexism, there is harassment, you need to speak up when you experience or see it. You also need to be very clear about your boundaries.
Changes only happen by making them happen.
In your opinion, what does it mean to be a woman composer today?
We all have a responsibility for each other's creative futures and future generations to come. It is very important that all women's voices are represented in music, from composers to the boardrooms. It is not enough to say good work always gets through; it needs to be pushed, shoved and catapulted really hard.
I think that creative women are incredible and I love being a creative woman.
Jo Thomas' British Music Collection profile can be found online here.
Records of Jo Thomas held by the BMC physical archive:
The British Music Collection boasts not only an online collection, but an extensive physical collection, which is held in Huddersfield at Heritage Quay. Within the collection records of Jo can be found, which may include reocrds such as assorted biographies, reviews and programmes, scores and recordings. To find out how to visit the physical archives, follow this link to the Heritage Quay site.