Go to any RUMP event and expect to be pulled into the freak train. The last freak train wrapped around the Biggest Little City Club as people yanked their friends into line and bumped against them to the DJ’s pulsations. Sweat flew, alcohol gulped and smiles and song were all abound.
Women make up the half of the music industry- we all know that. From the revealing clothing and suggestive posing that we see these women wear on MTV to the behavior we read about in gossip magazines, one should wonder if these women make up the general consensus of the ladies in the music business, let alone if they’re the kind of role models for upcoming generations. Reno may not be known for breaking stereotypical barriers but three women are attempting to do so: DJ Heidalicious (Heidi Adkins ), MoMatik (Mo Oetjen) and Jenes Carter. These ladies created RUMP, a monthly concert where they encourage female artists of all genres and ages to perform for open-minded audiences and get them to dance.
Heidi Adkins performs under the moniker DJ Heidalicious. She wears her dark hair short and her jeans ripped as she spins hypnotic beats and slow jams for fans and others present in the room. Originally from Sacramento and living in the Reno area for the past ten years, Adkins never thought too much about becoming a disc jockey. “I saw Ana Sia at Tonic one night and was inspired by her.” DJ Neshawn gave Adkins her first lesson and she was thrilled that she learned a new skill and owned a new hobby.
Adkins loves spinning but as she got deeper into her craft, she found some challenges with DJing. “Female DJs usually get boxed in, especially to play a certain genre. If you’re not playing Lady Gaga, people are, like ‘WHAT?’ You have to learn how to adapt and adjust to people’s attitudes.”
Oetjen understands the plague of being thrown into a certain category. “Girls are set in a different box.” She tucks her long hair behind one ear as she explains how she is compared to popular female rappers. Oetjen respects those artists but she considers herself a different kind of breed.
Mo Oetjen raps as MoMatik, vocalizing real life issues and problems over sampled beats. A Reno native, she started writing poetry as an outlet. While a student at Reno High School, Oetjen rapped with the guys in her class and made tapes of her rhymes on an old karaoke machine.
Oetjen’s first show was in 2006 and she has been going non-stop since. Rapping isn’t all what it seems to be, though. “People are surprised when you have skills,” Oetjen explains. She is thrilled with the shock but hates the backhand compliments she usually receives afterwards. “I hate it when people say, ‘you’re pretty good for a girl.’” She tries to brush off such compliments and weeds outs the hate and criticism. She speaks about the positivity her music is about and how it truly does captures the hearts and minds of her fans. “If someone, one person, comes up to me and says that my song has impacted them, that’s the best response I could get. That’s what it is all about for me.”
Jenes Carter makes up for the third point of the RUMP trifecta, singing solo and as back-up. She grew up in Reno, attending Sarah Winnemucca Elementary and McQueen High School and singing in both schools’ choirs. Her father introduced to artists such as Prince and the Police. “He (Carter’s father) broke down the different instruments and would have me pick out the instruments,” Carter explained. “He helped develop my love of music.” When he and Carter were away from each other, Carter’s dad would play music for her over the telephone and he would comment on the different tracks playing on the receiving line.
Carter began signing in a cover band at the age of 14. Highway Jones performed in the neighborhood’s Cue & Cushion and evolved into singing solo shows at Club Sandwich. In 2007, she met Metaphysical and Dove. Later, they became Black Rock City All Stars, a group Cater sings for. In 2007, she met rappers Metaphysical and Dove. Later, they became Black Rock City All Stars. Most recently Carter has become part of Mojo Green, expanding her music family. Although she has love for the men she shares the stage with while performing with Black Rock City, she values her time with the ladies of RUMP. “Once you bring us all together, it’s magic.”
Whether you agree or not, the Reno music scene is changing. One of the goals of RUMP is to bring a musical revolution to the northern Nevada area. “It will take the musicians to bring change, not business owners,” Carters says about local clubs and bars that sway to a certain style of music.
Spinning Top 40 hits is the way to go if one wants to make money as a DJ but Adkins finds more satisfaction with the subterranean music she plays. “I’m not cheating myself then.” She feels like the Reno music scene has promise especially with Reno’s Burning Man community. “There isn’t too much competition with each and each DJ brings something a little different to the melodic melting pot. There is a greater respect.”
Adkins has hope for the scene as she also performs with Reno Sound Collective. They recently had a house party with “about 40 people,” Adkins says. “200 others were listening to the streaming online. We just kept them dancing.”
Perhaps such house parties are the inventive way to go. All three women agree that Reno is lacking in musical creativity, suggesting that the Biggest Little City gets fads- what’s hot in music, clothing and entertainment- last. “We’re in a catch-up phase,” Carter said. “And sometimes, we’re just not open to creativity. We’re trying to know what’s hot now instead of trying to create what’s hot.” Adkins agrees. “I wish Reno was more educated about music, world and underground. There are a lot DJs all over the world doing amazing and creative things that no one knows about.”
They want to change that attitude and show that Reno has a great diversity, both cultural and musical, and are doing so with RUMP. With RUMP, all three women are hoping to build up Reno’s creativity and acceptance, especially within its female population and the growing local music community. They want to give something back and hope to inspire those who watch them perform. “We just want to do something different. Get people off their couches and bring them out. RUMP is about creating a different thing,” says Adkins.
“I want to inspire women with the raw, real truth,” Oetjen says. “It’s important for others to see your heart and purposes, where you’re coming from. Music is such an expression and all three of us have a message to share.”
And that message is strong. Both Adkins and Carter have young daughters. They view the Top 40 mainstream as being a little too sexual and they explain to their girls about the use of language in songs and behavior on television. “I teach my daughter about stuff behind music, beats and stuff,” said Adkins. “I try to find female singers that write more meaningful lyrics other than sex. Lyrics that are on a deeper level.”
As RUMP’s trios’ popularity grows, they hope to extend their acts into bigger venues with different and more diverse talent. Both Oetjen and Carter performed at last year’s Speak Your Mind festival at Wingfield Park. Adkins spun at the Bassnector after party at the Grand Sierra Resort in October. At the RUMP parties, the three women speak with new talent about joining the act and encourage them to perform. Adkins urges newcomers to stay focused. “Work hard and kick ass. Don’t get boxed in. Make sure to have an open mind, especially when it comes to the music that you play.”
“It’s great to feel what you do,” Oetjen says. “Girls are trying to do better and we are trying to support each other through everything.”
“Being ourselves inspires people to be themselves,” Carter adds. “And we don’t want to wait for things to happen as a female.”
Please check out www.facebook.com/rumpreno for more information about the next schedule RUMP event, MoMatik, DJ Heidalicious and Jenes Carter.