"MAKING IT WORK", A Conversation with Natasha Kmeto
We chatted with Natasha Kmeto about their experiences in the music industry where they opened up about Defunct record labels, strained intimacy, misogyny, and the never ending desire to create despite it all. Continue here to read more of the story.
Q What does daily life look like for you currently? Do you have a day job - or some sort of side hustle to supplement money for being a musician? What do you do for work?
Daily life for me currently is having a full time job as a bartender at two music venues here in Portland: Mississippi Studios and Holocene. I work at night so I have all day to work on music. I’m very fortunate that both of my jobs support my career and workaround my tour schedules.
Q Have you ever been taken advantage by a publisher, manager, booking agency, or other music industry professionals? Share your experiences.
My worst experience with music industry professionals was when I signed with a major indie label who made very big promises and guarantees to me, only to later reveal, after a year of sitting on my album, that they lost all of their funding, and hadn’t really had any to begin with. It was a devastating blow that inevitably forced me to take an extended break from my career to recover from.
Q How does touring affect your relationships, both platonic and romantic?
I’ve never had any romantic relationships that touring hasn’t adversely effected. But I’m hopeful for the future! Platonically, I have the best, most supportive friends and family ever, so that never been an issue, thankfully.
Q Is it hard for you to find community within the music community that isn’t centered around drinking or other sometimes destructive behaviors?
Absolutely, and this has been a struggle for me as someone who has struggled with drinking. But the more open I am about it to others, the more I seem to find people that are aligned with less destructive habits.
Q In what ways has misogyny played out in your career as womxn musician?
Mostly in not being taken seriously, for any of the work I do. From other artists assumingI don't produce my own beats/songs, to sound engineers assuming I don't know the difference between an XLR and 1/4" cable. I could write pages on how the patriarchy has effected my career as a queer POC woman, but I choose to focus on the fact that I enjoy who I am and it gives me a unique narrative.
Q Do you feel taken seriously as a womxn composer/ producer in the industry?
In the right circles, yes. And I think as it becomes more common knowledge that more women compose and produce, it's not as shocking to people to find out that I do as it was when I first started.
Q What do you want people to know about the life of a touring musician?
It's not sexy. People always imagine this glamorous life of touring and fact of the matter is, mostly of the time, it's a grind. An amazing, exhilarating grind, but a tough one.
Q What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about tour for you?
My favorite part is being on stage and my least favorite part is being away from loved ones.
Q What do you want the audience to take away from your live show?
I want them to feel things. I want them to go deep with me. I want them to feel provoked.
Q Why do you create?
I create because it makes me happy. And most of the time it feels like I don't have a choice.
Natasha Kmeto is an electronic producer/vocalist dedicated to the art of emotional engagement. Writing, producing, and performing all her material, Kmeto combines her sensuous voice with a dancefloor ethic, exuding a thoughtful physicality that rewards openness and vulnerability. Listen on Spotify, and be sure to check out Natasha live in a city near you.