By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Fortunately, Angel’s gotten good at ignoring any condescension ("Hey, I’m pretty humble; I just keep my head down and do my thing," she says), but stalwartness alone can’t change her working environment of choice. While the record biz got its nastiest rep due to a few over-the-top harassment cases, its day-to-day sexism isn’t so much about blatant taunts or leering offers as it is about subtle allocation of attention and resources.
"Had I been a guy doing what I’ve been doing all this time, bigger things would have happened sooner," says Angel. "There are a lot of DJ-producers who are guys and who don’t have half the skills that I’ve got, who are doing incredibly well because everybody wants to be excited about them."
After deciding she’d had enough of the majors’ various tribulations, Angel now retains ultimate control of her work by recording in her own studio, then licensing completed albums to record companies after the fact. "So many of my friends have been sold that major-label dream," she explains, "and are sitting around with major deals and can’t even get their product released, demoralized to the point of not even wanting to record any more. All the major-record-company thing is, ultimately, is money up-front, and no guarantee of anything beyond that. As nice as money can be — and we all need it to survive — it’s not worth it to me to sell out to that idea.
"It’s taken me a long time to get to the position where I could [license my own recordings]," she says, "but I’m glad that I stuck it out and waited." She notes that the environment for artists is friendlier now than it was a few years back, and we can all thank the current state of technology for that.
"It used to be that you had no choice," says Angel. "If you didn’t have your own little studio setup — and even if you did, it was never really good enough — you’d have to get a record company to pay for all that stuff. But you don’t need those trimmings anymore. If you don’t need the loan up-front, you’re better off making it yourself and finding a way to put it across. I’ve had to survive through some pretty lean periods, but it’s been very important to me that I do things independently, that I don’t take the usual route. My idea of success is not being rich and famous. It’s making the kind of music that I want to make and people appreciating it and understanding it and liking it, simply because they dig it and get it — not because someone’s hyped it down their throats."