“female:pressure is an international network of over 1300 female artists from 64 countries in the wider fields of electronic music. This blog was inspired by Bjork’s Pitchfork article in January 2015 where she notes the lack of photographic documentation of women at work in the studio.
Here we offer a visual catalogue of female producers, DJ’s, media artists and electronic music performers at work. These are not our press photos. This is a collective effort to demonstrate women and their use of technology in music and media production. Contributions welcome!
“In the past year, conversations regarding female representation in dance music have been more passionate than ever. It’s about time. But importantly, this new wave of discourse is bringing with it a new wave of projects designed to highlight the women behind the decks. One such initiative is international collective female:pressure, who pool together statistics on female artists in electronic music, as well as photos of women in the studio, spotlighting their involvement in the technical side of music-making. Meanwhile, Twitter account Very Male Line Ups calls out all-male line-ups to “help bromoters do better,” and techno don Paula Temple’s Noise Manifesto label gives a platform to gender-balanced projects featuring 50% female and queer artists.
But positive efforts like these don’t come without their detractors. When New York-based “techno feminist” collective Discwoman were profiled in a huge NPR feature last year, the comments below displayed a notably negative reaction towards what they were doing—ranging from “And the NPR feminist rant goes on,” to “Sorry, but clubs don’t have a bro problem. If you have a problem with the bros, that’s your problem.” And these attitudes are still visible in the industry at large: last week, DJ Justin James went viral when he placed a Facebook ad looking for female DJs with ridiculous requirements, including specific height, weight, and being the owner of a popular Instagram account.
Though it might have been an unusually bold example of discrimination in electronic music, James’ request re-emphasized why all-female projects are so essential. While we’re living in an unequal world, it remains crucial to support voices that may not always feel comfortable with the bro culture of clubs. Speaking to The FADER over email, Paula Temple puts it this way: “Maybe when we reach the point where sidelining, gaslighting, denying, undermining, taking over, reductionism, hostile environments and sexual harassment have disappeared, there would be less of a reason to create all-female projects.”
In an industry where there are people who don’t encourage—and in some cases, actively discourage—women to pursue DJing for a living, exclusively female-identifying projects carry massive significance. Below, The FADER highlights and speaks to nine such crews that are supporting and positively impacting women in scenes such as house, techno, and club music.”
Hagos’ ear for good music has not gone unnoticed – it’s what prompted
Okayplayer to label the disc jockey a “prophet of future sounds” and
ultimately, what prompted her signing with Soulection. This East African belle
has mastered the genre-bending Soulection sound that many have come to know and
love, and does so with style.
Her “Soulection & Chill Mix [E l s e
w h e r e], begins our “5 Female DJs of Color You Could Be Crushing On” playlist.
up to her name, Adora Tokyo offers much to adore. Her selfies are always
effortlessly on point. Her voice is sultry and sweet. And her soundcloud mixes bring
that Spice Girl vibe, fearlessly feminine and energetic. Listening to her
selections are like a quickie for an audio junkie. Her track, “Is That OK With U?” is included in our playlist.
The gorgeous NEVER NORMAL RECORDS founder has been featured on AllHipHop, Vice, and Fader and somehow still slipped past you. Not to worry: you can get all caught up on Suzi Analogue’s style by listening to her Kelela “Go All Night” edit on our playlist.
The “jazz personality, g mentality” Aaliyah sang about is a real-life description of Pam Jones and her sound. Coming from New York City, Pam has been staying low-key, catching a mean tan in Miami, and working on her signature sound.
Tune in to Pam’s Twitter + IG to catch exclusive drops and discover where the real life Carmen Sandiego is spinning next.
DJ Yazmine West Palm Beach, FL
Yazmine looks like she hopped right out of a ‘90s era TLC video, and brings a fresh, eclectic sound to South Florida’s music scene. It’s hard to imagine this blazing beauty is only in, like, 11th grade. Only more of a reason to admire her: at only 17 years old, Yazmine balances high school with DJ gigs and allows her ambition to fuel everything she does - including her proudest mix, “Deserved More,” on our playlist.
Gaze down the lineups of an EDM festival–or the Highest-Paid DJs list–and you’d be forgiven for thinking electronic music is only produced by white men. Of the 231 acts at this year’s EDC Las Vegas, just eight included female members–that’s 3.5% of all artists. At the forthcoming Electric Zoo in New York, only six of 92 acts announced so far were women or included a female member.
Though acts such as NERVO and Krewella are regularly featured on such lineups, allowing them to command the fees that might soon land them on the Electronic Cash Kings list, the gender disparity onstage remains dismal–and that’s not just in the U.S. A 2015 report by female:pressure, a network of female electronic artists, found that men comprised 82% of 44 international festivals’ lineups. There’s even a tumblr dedicated to pointing out very male lineups.
At a festival, women are nearly exclusively heard onstage in the controlled samples of female vocals that comprise EDM hooks. For listeners at home, women are visible only in the sexualized stock art of YouTube videos. And it’s an industry secret that top male DJs have, on occasion, written requests into their riders for attractive women to serve refreshments backstage for them.
Now several women are working to balance those festival turntables. Discwoman, a New York-based platform and party-thrower, represents and showcases female-identified DJ talent in the electronic music community through regular club nights. Since its first event at Brooklyn’s Bossa Nova Civic Club in 2014, Discwoman has thrown events with all-female lineups in Boston, Philadelphia, Montreal, Detroit and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“You can’t just talk about it, you have to do something,” says Frankie Hutchinson, who founded Discwoman with DJ Emma Olson and Christine Tran. “We saw that to change lineups we would have to get more control in booking, so that’s why we went into being a booking agency,” Hutchinson explained while in Detroit during Movement festival, where Discwoman were running an all-female, 15-hour show with local collective Girls Gone Vinyl to raise a funds for a scholarship to production classes at Detroit’s Music Industry Academy.
There is a concern that gender-specific lineups tokenize female DJs, but without bringing attention to the artists made invisible by the systemic under-representation of women, it seems impossible to shift the scales.
In order to counter such monolithic presentations, “we need to have the mentors, the networks, the role models,” says Girls Gone Vinyl co-founder Maggie Derthick. Hutchison says female bookings are on the increase, but looks forward to the day women are integrated into lineups rather than segregated to one showcase.”
Give us a girl with killer taste in style, music, and footwear (HE-LLO, fellow Authentic lover!), and you’ve got us majorly girl-crushin’. DJ SoSuperSam has been our #WCW for years and years, so you can imagine our excitement when this incredibly inspiring babe-zilla decided to take some time to shoot with us and photographer, Adri Law. So while we spent the majority of the shoot drinking coffee out of Drake mugs, and talking about our love for Netflix binges, we also got to know what Sam enjoys doing when she’s not touring the globe.