ANNIE ERREZ to play at Animaux: The shocking lack of female DJs/Producers in the York electronic music scene
When you go to a night out in York, you don’t often consider the gender of the person behind the decks. That’s a good thing; we should be focussing on the music and the night rather than what’s in the pants of the person performing, or what gender they identify as.
However, when I heard Annie Errez was going to be headlining next term’s first Animaux, it struck me that we often don’t hear female names discussed when people talk about who is headlining the different nights in York.
I decided to investigate, by asking some promoters from the different electronic nights in York how many women they had booked in the last two years.
I spoke to Alex Theodossiadis, who is involved in organising both Breakz and Nightvision, to find out how many women had been booked for them in the last couple of years, and what he said was quite shocking.
Out of 20 acts, only 1 was a woman – B Traits. Now, she’s pretty famous, so holds her own in that male-dominated list, but it’s still pretty shoddy that only 5% of the acts who have played at Breaks/Nightvision have been female.
It’s not a problem to do with the person booking the acts and we can’t put the blame on the night, however. It’s an issue with the fact that there are less female DJs and producers in general and arguably sexism in the industry as a whole.
Now on to Jake Hissitt who is one of the people behind popular York night On&On. Out of the 18 acts he named, absolutely none were female.
He told me:
“[There have been] absolutely none. We were going to book Moxie, but just too expensive to justify for the scene in York.”
“There’s not a lack as such, female DJs are becoming more frequent in gracing the decks in York. Sessions have a female resident. However, when it comes to booking female DJs, they could be either unheard of or too expensive. It’s hard to find a midway, especially in our booking range.”
“We’ve heavily inquired into 3 or 4 female DJs, but we couldn’t justify putting them on for the price. They wouldn’t pull as much of a crowd. It shouldn’t be about gender, it is simply about the music.”
This shows that it isn’t an issue with the people booking the acts; it’s a wider issue. A worrying part was when Jake said the women “wouldn’t pull as much of a crowd”. It seems that the scene needs to change, and we can’t put the blame on individual nights that struggle to make money, or sometimes even break even, without worrying about gender representation.
Tim Perrera had a chat to me about Milli Vanilli. Out of the 19 acts booked, none were women.
He said: “There’s no bias, I guess it’s a reflection that men are more heavily represented in this kind of music.”
“A lot of the people I book are ones I’ve met personally and asked to come play, which have all happened to be men. There are women djs/producers I’d love to book but either haven’t got round to it, or they are way out of my budget.”
It seems from what he said that there is some demand for more female DJs, and that because you encounter more male DJs and it actually takes conscious consideration to find female DJs a lot of the time, it’s often just easier to book a male one – or the gender balance just isn’t considered.
Annie Errez is no stranger to York- she’s been booked before by Phil Warner for Sub:Terranea, and is the only woman to have played there in the last two years.
“Well, I’ve only ever booked 1 female DJ – Annie Errez. Bookings based on ability/sound and not gender, just not that many female DJs around though!”
He recommended I listen to Cassy, Steffi, and Laura jones.
Mantas Zalepuga is excited for Annie Errez to come and play at Animaux. I asked him how many women he’s had play in the last couple of years.
Three out of the eleven residents and headliners he’s had have been women, which is a better representation than any of the other club nights.
He also said that Animaux has a female-dominated crowd at a lot of the nights.
Also, if you wanted to see a female DJ at York, Kineza (Chloe Stavrou) was a resident there for a year!
Along with her, the two other women he has had play are Victoria Watkins, and Annie Errez.
Mantas told me:
“It is predominantly male bookings as the scene is predominantly male. I book people purely due to their musical taste and if they fit in with what I consider Animaux to be musically.”
As a side note- Richard Clark from Freakin said they’d only ever booked 3 female DJs in 17 years.
Not great. However- he did say that they were great and that they were viewed no differently to the male ones.
So, York’s not doing great in terms of representation but it is in terms of attitude and it looks like things might be set to change.
Everyone seemed to want to book more female DJs, and they don’t book mainly men because they think men are better or for other sexist reasons.
This is encouraging and it seems like they would be open to booking a wider range of people in the future.
Still, only four women have played at the electronic nights I looked at in the past two years.
We’ve linked some great female DJs and producers throughout the post, so take a listen – and come and see Annie at Animaux to support gender equality ;).
And if you’re a female DJ and you’re reading this post, have a chat to some of the people I did – they’d probably be more than happy to book you.