Artist Spotlight: Smokahauntas
By Hillary Hedstrom
Smokahauntas, also known as Abby, is relatively new to the producing game. She only started a couple of years ago. Last year was when she really started taking producing seriously. To her, it’s the feeling of having people look up to her when she’s on the stage and trying to be the best she can be.
Her biggest inspirations are Ashnikko and AOC. Ashnikko because she’s revolutionary and badass. She’s been listening to Halloweenie and Halloweenie II: Pumpkin Spice, but her favorite song is Cry, which features Grimes. That song got her into Grimes. Smokahauntas is really into female vocalists and artists that have a feminist vibe.
Her description for AOC is that she’s a bad bitch. She goes out there and does her own thing, which is what Smokahauntas wants to do, but in music.
Quarantine has made her start to put out more music because she wants people to recognize her tracks when she plays, instead of having to announce it’s unreleased. As any artist knows, projects are never actually finished, they’re just released.
She’s been working on a project with Chicago duo iLLY Wonka for over a year. Each time they send it back to Smokahauntas, she’s impressed with how much better it is. She first met the duo in her hometown of Carbondale, IL, while they were in school. Alex, one of the members, was already kind of established and she was just starting out. They won a competition to perform at Dancefestopia together under the joint name Smokawonka.
With her fiancè, she co-owns Power Moves Music Production, or PMMP. They operate out of the quad cities, where she’s located. Before they started about two years ago, there were small groups of people that would go out together.
They started out by booking their friends and getting people to show up. Since then, they’ve been able to book bigger artists. The best part of planning shows is the satisfaction at the end of the night when people are together.
For her personal favorite moments that happened during events, she has two. The first one was at the first Bass Banger they hosted. She was told to go up on stage and her boyfriend (at the time) was up there on one knee. That was over a year ago and she’s in no rush to set a date.
Her other favorite event was one that she was worried wouldn’t go well. They had a huge venue booked and were told they needed a certain amount of people to show up otherwise PMMP would be blacklisted. It was a venue that has hosted names like Bon Iver and Smashing Pumpkins. They ended up outselling Bon Iver’s bar sales during that event, and their headliner was Al Ross.
Her advice for anyone who’s starting out or interested in producing is to find a mentor and be authentic. The best way to get booked for shows is to form friendships. Attend shows and be a helping hand. Branding yourself is a little important, but the most important part is to be authentic and not someone else.
To learn how to create beats and remix and everything, that’s also something you can learn from networking. She’s learned things from her fiancé. But, the internet is also a great place to learn. She recommends checking out YouTube for tutorials.
For any girls or women who want to join the industry, she says to not let yourself be intimidated by the men in the scene.
Smokahauntas is co-headlining Dub-busters on October 23rd. Make sure to tune in to Memento Vivere Entertainment’s twitch page to watch it live!
Follow her here:
Tune into The DubBusters here -> twitch.tv/mementovivereent