Gingee, alias of Marjorie Light, is the type of woman you can’t help but be in awe of when you take stock of her many talents. Artist, producer, rapper, DJ, writer, event organizer- through her years in the various creative scenes of Los Angeles, Gingee has done and does it all, and then some. Creator of the art collective Magic Garage, organizer of the Airliner’s monthly SOUNDPAINT events, and resident DJ for Mixology (at Hip Kitty in Claremont), Gingee did me a solid and took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions.
What is your art+music background?
I mainly DJ and produce music, but I also rap and sing. Visual art isn't my main focus, but I used to do a zine and be really into poetry.
How did your art collective Magic Garage come about?
It started in 2006, I was jamming out with my brother and his band in my mom’s garage and I had the idea to throw a small show with a few local bands, then the idea of starting a gallery came up too. We just invited all the artists we knew to come show art in my mom’s garage and it grew annually from there.
Magic Garage is all about interactivity, transforming space, and building community—we want people to feel that they are a part of the show, and that this can be a space for them to try new things and let down their guard. There’s a real family vibe with us and everyone is invited. Plus we’ve had crazy stuff like blacklight rooms, suspension artists hanging from hooks, live tattooing, and other forms of performance/installation art, so we definitely have an element of wildness and the surprise.
Also, it’s really about building community and creating connections between genres and mediums. Having grown up in L.A., I love a lot of different types of music and want to create a space where different genres are showcased. I also feel that parties are more interesting when there is a variety of people, it creates an element of the unexpected.
What about SOUNDPAINT? What are your proudest moments with SOUNDPAINT?
Soundpaint happened when the Airliner owners asked me to throw a show there. I had already DJed there for 3 years with Heart On collective. It was basically Magic Garage but the monthly club version. With Magic Garage we built up a name for ourselves as well as a network of artists who understand where we are coming from. Having thrown big shows I now know the level of detail it takes to ensure success.
An essential part of SOUNDPAINT is the art gallery. I feel that having the art brings another type of energy to the event, and that art and music feed off each other. We have live blacklight painting and some art making stations. I really want to make people feel like they are participating in the show as opposed to just being an observer.
Proudest moments? Probably having a packed house for the Pyramid Juke show I threw in collaboration with Late Night Laggers. Also proud of having L.A. Zine Fest, L.A. Record, Team Supreme, 2Mex, and Muevelo be a part of the show.
What have you learned about event organizing?
So much! Especially from throwing a monthly event like Soundpaint. It makes it easier if you have a schedule that you follow every month of things to get done. And you really have to take care of each and every person that comes through to be a part of the show, make sure they're comfortable.
What do you love about Los Angeles' art & music scenes?
The variety for sure. I'm the type of person that feels comfortable checking out any scene.
What inspired your album Gingee?
The need to be a real artist and have something solid to show for my work. I also loved the idea of producing the entire record myself.
On your track “Badass,” you ask "Is it any wonder/are you really surprised/that a girl like me would step up tonight?" What have you learned and experienced as a female DJ? As a rapper? Has your FIlipina identity instructed any of your work?
As a DJ, I've learned that being female can work for you or against you in different ways. It can get you more attention but it can also make you more of a novelty in peoples eyes. I just try my best to be good at my craft and hope my skills speak for themselves.
As a female rapper, I think people still find it new and interesting so it makes them listen to what you have to say, to see if you really have skills.
As for being Filipina, it definitely has influenced me as an artist, especially when I was starting out and the Filipino arts community really embraced me as a spoken word artist. Nowadays I don't focus on my ethnicity as much when I create work, I just want it to be good work that speaks to everyone, but its still an influence obviously.
Finally, what advice would you give someone looking to organize their own event?
Communication with artists is key so everyone's on the same page. Create spreadsheets of your contacts/artists in google and share them with your team so they can be updated. Also, make sure you have someone running the music stage to make sure acts are set up on time. Having a person to manage each area would be key. Also, big online followings don't equal a big turnout necessarily.
And if you wouldn't mind, could you give a list of your top places to experience good music in LA?
Hard Summer is one of my favorites at the L.A. State historic park every summer. Funky Sole at the Echo is always a fun time for dancing, Subsuelo at EastSide Luv, and of course the Airliner.