When it comes to worldwide DJ rankings, DJ Mag’s "Top 100 DJs" list is king. The be all end all of the electronic music industry, the list is voted on by the public and published once a year in November. And if you didn’t make the cut, you’re simply not relevant this year.
While the wide-ranging list encompasses DJs from all sects of the EDM world, it fails to include one thing - women. Not one female DJ made the list this year. In fact, Claudia Cazacu is the only women to make the list since 2007, earning her spot as number 93. In a scene that’s fairly equi-gender when it comes to the fan base, I really have to wonder, what gives? Where are the female DJs?
Maybe it stems from the old-school days when DJs had to carry heavy boxes of vinyl with them into clubs. But it’s 2012, and most DJs walk up to the decks with a backpack toting their Macbook and headphones. Maybe it’s like every other genre of music, where men can be as hideously-grotesque or obese but their talent reigns over their looks, whereas women are judged on their appearance before their talent. But Deadmau5 isn't exactly a supermodel, and he sports a giant mouse head while performing so he doesn’t scare away the crowd.
So really, what’s the issue? I guess we may never have a definitive answer, whether sexism is just sexism or DJs are seen as rockstars and women just can't be seen in such a badass light. But if Janis Joplin can work her way to Woodstock headliner, than goddamnit female DJs can headline Ultra (the festival hosted a handful of female DJs including Annie Mac, Nervo, Maya Jane Coles, Miss Nine, Magda and Cassy.)
Here at Joonbug, we like to give credit where credit is due. So let’s raise our glasses in a proverbial toast to the always struggling female faces of the electronic music industry. Here’s our list of the top five female DJs who are kicking ass and taking names:
1. Annie Mac
This woman is a pioneer when it comes to conquering the male-dominated frontiers of the EDM scene. The Irish DJ is the queen of BBC Radio 1, boasting three shows including her own “Annie Mac’s Mash Up." She frequents clubs across Europe including London’s three-story gem Fabric, and her mixtape Annie Mac Presents received critical acclaim across the board.
Before she was flipping off cameras at the Superbowl, M.I.A. was bending minds with her tribal/underground-meets-indie/electro music. With powerful vocals, politically ironic and sometimes jarring lyrics, and uniquely twisting and warping beats, M.I.A. always packs a heavy punch while producing. But M.I.A. doesn’t stop at personal production, the British beat maker founded her own label, Sub Static, in 2000 to help others grow musically as well. She can write, rap, sing, produce beats, paint, and support many causes through activism - what can’t this chick do?
With Nervo, we get two for the price of one. The Australian twins split their time between killing it behind the decks as DJs and in front of the cameras as fashion models. The girls have written and produced for everyone in the game, from Armin Van Buuren to Avicii. Last year the duo wrote and produced David Guetta’s “When Love Takes Over” which skyrocketed to number one worldwide and won him a Grammy. Nervo has signed with Virgin Records and the ladies are taking some time to produce under their own name. After all, their first club single debut at number 1 on world charts in May 2010, and with that kind of critical acclaim, future potential is boundless.
4. Margaret Dygas
Born in Poland, raised in California, schooled New York, Dygas has traveled the world and holds with her bits of musical culture from each of nomadic adventures. She found her voice DJing London’s club scene, spinning everything from techno to dub and headlining clubs such as Fabric, Herbal, and The Key. Now working on the production side of the music, Dygas has created a smooth-balanced minimal electronic-tech sound that incorporates funk and dub along the way.
This electropop duo is brand new to the scene, having made their debut in the summer of 2011 with their perfect pairing of soulful rising vocals and bassy dubstep riffs. Comprised of sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf, Krewella has been burning up the blogosphere with their infectious remixes of everyone from Skrillex to Deadmau5. Certainly newbies, especially relevant to this list of veterans, but Krewella is a duo to keep your eyes and ears on as they make fem-powered vocals more melodic than ever.