St. John’s Women in Music (SWIM) is partnering with Lawnya Vawnya and Factory to present a DJ workshop facilitated by rapper Chippy Nonstop. The workshop is happening during this year’s Lawnya Vawnya Festival and is open to women and LGBTQ+ folks. 

Chippy Nonstop is a party rapper known for her intense energy, her one-of-a-kind grungy-glam fashion sense, her saucy AF Twitter presence and her collaborations with artists like Kreayshawn, Kitty, and G-Eazy.

Nonstop is coming to St. John’s for Lawnya Vawnya where she’ll perform and host a workshop called, Intersessions: An Inclusive Sound Initiative: Providing Safe Spaces For Women + LGBTQ+ Folk.

The workshop gives participants hands-on advice about the basics of launching a DJ career, touching on everything from what equipment you need, to how to start booking gigs and throwing your own parties. The teachers will also share their experiences as women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people of colour in music.

“The objective at the end of the day is to grow the pot, so there’s more women, more LGTBQ+ people, and more people of colour DJing. We want there to be more selection, so promoters can’t say things like, ‘oh well there’s not enough women … to choose from’,” Nonstop said.

Nonstop and Rhiannon Blossom founded Intersessions in Vancouver about a year ago. Nonstop had been going to lots of workshops to learn more about music production. She found the workshops were mostly facilitated and attended by white men who she felt were more interested in proving themselves to one another than learning.

“It wasn’t that I felt uncomfortable, it was just that it felt like a really competitive environment. It felt like people weren’t there to learn, they were there to show off or one up each other… [Intersessions] is not competitive, it’s warm and people really want to teach each other, they get excited for each other,” Nonstop said.

The first Intersessions workshop was a huge success and when Nonstop moved to Toronto she decided to continue to offering the class. After receiving a great response in Toronto, Nonstop took the workshop across Europe. This spring she is gearing up to do a cross-Canada tour.

“There are students who came to the class in Vancouver and started their own collective and now they’re DJing around the city, and the same thing is happening in Toronto, so it’s cool to see that cultivating,” Nonstop said,  “Sometimes people reach out to me after the workshop and I help them get their careers off the ground.”

However, Nonstop stressed that the goal of the workshop is not to teach people to be professional DJs. It’s about playing around with the equipment, having fun, and most importantly making room in the scene for more diverse voices.

“We start right from the beginning and it’s a good place to get to know people … It’s about watching people who look like you DJ so you feel more confident doing it yourself. You get the energy in that room to be confident, to talk to people and create community,” Nonstop said.