As rhetorically pointed out by Boy Better Know, the world of electronic music has always had ‘too many man’. In recent years there’s been a notable increase in girls taking an interest in bass music, from a female perspective, I presume that this can only be seen as positive from a male viewpoint. But what about the artists, why are the faces behind the music still predominantly male and is this also changing?
Popular media has certainly supported and promoted females in the scene with DJs such as Mary Anne Hobbs and more currently B.Traits exhibiting electronic music on Radio 1, also established artists such as Ms Dynamite have always used their status to encourage strong role models to emerge. Kito’s move to the UK positively changed the stereotypical face of Dubstep and Technique Recordings quickly snapped up Dushi for her Drum and Bass production.
With 21 year old Monki, a regular face on Rinse FM, it seems that not only the gender balance of artists may be changing but also their age. It seems obvious that if more females are out supporting then it’s inevitable that we will see more females taking an interest in DJing and production. DJ Barely Legal, also 21 years of age, a familiar face around the clubs in London since she moved from Birmingham for university, quickly transformed from a keen raver to an established DJ, appearing on line-ups across the capital and UK within a year of a starting to mix.
Seeing an enthusiastic female with skills and love for the music is undoubtedly going to attract attention. So will 2013 see the gender gap begin to even out? I spoke to Monki between all the end of year festivities to find out what she thinks on the matter and what 2013 has in store.
So Monki tell me how you got started as a DJ?
A friend I worked with at the time had some decks and we were into the same sort of music, so we’d listen and try and mix records when I was about 16/17. Radio was a huge influence on me, in fact if it wasn’t for radio I’d probably doing something I hated. Thank god for radio!
Do you think there’s a reason why the scene has always been quite male dominated or why girls seem to be less involved?
I think it’s simply down to what girls are interested in. Not many teenage girls go to record shops and flick through records or sit down and stare at a laptop trying to hunt down new tunes. Not many girls are interested in that sort of thing. Up until recent years there’s not been many female DJs to look up to either. Now you have a lot more and I think because of that a lot more girls are getting interested, which is great.
Do you think the gender gap is narrowing?
Yeah definitely, like I said before there weren’t many female DJs club or radio related in electronic music to look up to. Now you have a Annie Mac doing Friday nights biggest slot on R1, Maya Jane Coles, Heidi, B-Traits, Moxie running Deviation & playing DMZ, Soulja running things at Rinse FM, Mary Anne Hobbs, Annie Nightingale. Take your pick.
Do you think that in some cases being a female is beneficial or conversely detrimental?
I have never got any stick for being a female DJ, in fact it’s probably been beneficial that I am a girl. Exactly because of that reason, there are not many of us. I didn’t even acknowledge that the majority of DJs around me were male, I obviously knew that was the case but it really didn’t bother me. I’ve never found it to be detrimental.
What other predictions do you have for bass music in 2013 and what can we expect to see from you?
More women no doubt! I’m very proud to say I’ve joined the In New DJs roster on Radio 1, so you can now me every first Thursday of the month. I’m really excited about the next release on Zoo Music which will all be unearthed soon and I’m getting in the studio myself later this year working on something a bit different. So 2013 looks exciting!
Congratulations Monki! 2013 certainly sounds exciting, especially seeing another formerly underground artist paving the way for bass music on Radio 1. It seems it’s not gender that’s relevant but hard work and a love for the music, so with yet more support for female artists before we’re barely even into January and more new faces to aspire to on mainstream radio, maybe 2013 really will be the year for female DJs to break through and the year we see the gender gap finally even out. Let’s wait and see…