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Chardine Taylor-Stone

Vinyl DJ, Musician and Activist

An award winning cultural producer, activist, DJ, musician and writer, meet Chardine Taylor Stone. She has been featured in and has won numerous awards from The Voice newspaper's 'Women Who Rocked the World' in 2015, to Buzzfeed’s ‘The Most Inspiring British LGBT People Of 2016‘ and more. She is a committed trade unionist, vice-chair of the Musician’s Union Equalities Committee and a newly appointed trustee of London Black Women’s Project. To some she is best known as the former drummer in Black feminist punk band Big Joanie, which regularly toured across the UK and Europe. Amidst all the accolades, she is one of those people that is one thousand percent authentic and practice what they preach. From London, she grew up in a small town called Kettering and is currently living in Manchester. We are excited to also share that she one half of the new group Border Widow.  Keep an eye out for all they have coming up for your goth hearts out there.

When not writing or making music she enjoy customizing clothing, having been into vintage clothes and antiques for years. She's been organizing and writing on subjects relating to class, feminism, socialism and subcultures for years, currently working on her first book Sold Out: How Black Feminism Lost its Soul, a critical analysis of the neoliberalisation of Black Feminism, to be published by Cassava Republic Press this year.

Photo courtesy of Carolina Faruolo

How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?

Well I'd been hanging in vintage music scene for a few years djing 45s. Played a few festivals in Europe and ran club nights in London. But I would say officially I entered the "industry" with my former band Big Joanie. We had been gigging around London and the UK for a few years till we met Thurston Moore after a show where we supporting The Ex. Thurston wanted to buy the album but we didn't have copies because we couldn't find anyone to release it! Thurston and their partner Eva Prinz put it out on their label Daydream Library so things just rolled from there really.

I guess alongside the djing and my time in Big Joanie we would be talking 15 years! My motivation for joining is my music, it has been the thing has inspired me, taught me and politicized me. I am a classic nerd and I sometimes wonder if in a past life if rather than Cleopatra or something cool I was just an annoying man in a record shop.

What is a day in the life like?

A really good day when not doing the day job sat in my office (sorry kids us musicians need day jobs still!) would be maybe hanging out in Hermitage Studios with Hatty Carmen and songwriting for Border Widow. We have very similar tastes and she has amazing voice and great ear for melody. We can sometimes be stuck in the studio for 12 hours coming out in the early hours. It's exhausting but exciting to bring all our influences together into a coherent sound.

When not in the studio it would shopping for things I can't afford, going for a nice walk in the countryside, the cinema or reading.

Photo courtesy of Carolina Faruolo

In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you've worked on?

There's so many it could be the Black British Feminist conference I organised in 2014, founding Black Girls Picnic (2017), writing the Women's March London Principles.

I guess music wise it would be the cover Big Joanie did of Solange's Cranes in the Sky for Third Man Records. I remember saying to producer Margo Broom that it should sound like a "...bunch of people taking mescaline in the desert". I was really into bands like Goat at the time. So she put in the booth and had me shaking various percussive instruments to make thunder noises. Another would be taking over a gallery space in Bury with a group of amazing musicians of colour as part of an exhibition on Captain Beefheart.

What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?

The most difficult part of my job or maybe that should be jobs is not having enough hours in the day. Rest and recuperation is important otherwise you won't have the energy you need to the kind of work that you want.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you're doing?  

The main advice I would give is when comes to actually making music, it's 100% okay to not know what your are doing, that's part of the creative process. However the same rules don't apply to the business side of the industry, 

...be smart, read learn ask people you trust for their opinion on things especially any contracts.What you believe the industry is like is not what it's like and there are too many horror stories of musicians being exploited especially women and people of colour. Knowledge is power. There are great resources out there including the Musicians Union.
Photo courtesy of Carolina Faruolo

Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?

I've started buying records when I was about 16. I guess at the time I loved the vintage aspect of them and I knew they sounded better. When things were mostly on CD the artwork was always so small and they quite disposable. A record doesn't feel like that. Maybe it's because we associate it with a different era we are more precious about them than our parents or grandparents were.

I love old things in general, vintage clothes and antiques. I would say I started properly collecting in my early 20s where I would have record shopping days and visit all my fav shops in London Music Vinyl Exchange, Sounds of the Universe, Sister Ray, Sounds that Swing and Casbah Records. Most of my collection which I think is about 600 LP and I'm not sure how many 45s (I tried counting once but it took so long) is blues, rhythm n' blues, soul, 60s psych/garage rock, rocksteady, early reggae and folk. I'm building my punk/indie collection but because I bought most of it on CD at the time I tend to buy things are really special to me like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I think it's amazing that vinyl has had a comeback not just for the reasons above but also I like to buy something physical to support new bands.

Who has been influential to you and your growth as a professional in this industry?

It's incredibly hard for women to find mentors in music industry, sometimes we treat each other as competition because we are being forced to fight over scraps from the patriarchal table and the old boys network is still running, it's just more cool trainers rather than suit & tie. But there are good people out there across genders and if someone sees potential in you and wants to support you grasp the opportunity. As musician I would say Debbie Smith has been a great sounding board as I was learning to play drums.

Photo courtesy of Carolina Faruolo

Anything else you’d like to add, if not tell us who you're listening to right now: 

My fave genre right now is Dark wave and a lot of 80s synth base music. A lot of trip hop artists such as Tricky. I've also been listening to artists such as Anna Von Hausswolff and Chelsea Wolfe, so doomy gothy (is that a genre), which reflects some of the stuff I am writing at the moment in my new project, Border Widow.

Find Chardine

All photos in this post courtesy of: Carolina Faruolo

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