Who Is The Best Female DJ? It's Not a Competition, So Listen To All These Women Who Spin
Unfortunately, for the most part, DJing is still largely dominated by men. There’s no good reason for that, though, because there are plenty of fantastic female DJs who put most of their male counterparts to shame. What's more, as the line between DJ and producer becomes increasingly blurred, plenty of women trained as vocalists and instrumentalists are turning to electronic music to express their talents and share their sounds with the world. Let’s take a look at some female DJs who can seriously throw it down.
If you miss Portishead, Massive Attack, and all the other downtempo electronic acts from twenty years ago, TOKiMONSTA is for you. Like a lot of DJs, she dabbles in a number of genres, but she’s especially skilled at producing the smokey, sexy trip-hop sound that dominated the soundtracks of hacker movies from the mid-90s. TOKiMONSTA is a classical pianist by training, and her music is filled with sounds and influences from past decades. Also, “toki” means “rabbit” in Korean, so her DJ name is essentially “Rabbit Monster,” which is just plain awesome.
Ill-esha began her career as a vocalist ten years ago, and steadily incorporated DJing into her work. She’s recently found success as a producer, and has a knack for making 90s radio hits sound fresh again (her remix of TLC’s “Creep,” below, is not to be missed). In addition to making all sorts of dirty bass music, ill-esha is the founder of the highly-respected glitchhopforums.com, one of the go-to forums for aspiring producers and DJs.
The UK duo BLOND:ISH gets immediate street cred for still releasing their music on vinyl, which is virtually unheard of for most EDM producers these days. But don’t worry — they’ve also got a SoundCloud, and it’s well-worth checking out. BLOND:ISH makes deep house tunes with a lush, organic texture that sets them apart from the mechanical sounds that drive so much contemporary electronic music.
Maya Jane Coles
When Maya Jane Coles, also a UK native, isn’t making deep house music under her given name, she’s making dubstep as Nocturnal Sunshine. Regardless of which moniker she’s using, the music she produces is haunting, ominous ... and somehow, at the same time, eminently danceable. She’s been making electronic music since she was fifteen, and her own hypnotic voice is one of the most well-utilized instruments in her songs.
WALA comes from San Francisco (as many DJs tend to) and always includes strong melodic components in her glitchy, bass-heavy electronic music (which not enough DJs tend to do). She often combines disparate, novel genres — one of her recent mixes has the rarely-seen “Gypsy Crunk” tag — and uses a lot of instruments, like the sitar, that aren’t too common in electronic music. She’s also holds workshops for aspiring DJs, and is a vocal and active proponent in narrowing the DJ gender gap.