From the women holding down some of the largest all female Drum And Bass Jungle DJ collectives to award winning Junglists, we at Best Drum And Bass decided to gain knowledge on one of the oldest questions in the book “Where are all the women at in Drum And Bass?“. What better way to get ourselves educated on the matter by none other than… the actual women of Drum And Bass.
Video’s Courtesy Of Rough Tempo Radio
dEEb: Leading up to the moment you won Best Female Jungle DJ, tell us about some of the most difficult boundaries and obstacles you have had to overcome to even become an established recognizable figure in the scene.
Ms. Magoo: I think for me personally one of the biggest obstacles I’ve had to overcome has been my location. I live in a small village up in Scotland, so attending raves and introducing myself to promoters/networking wasn’t the easiest when I was first starting out. To this day I still travel roughly 300-400 miles each way to most of my gigs in the UK and it’s worth every minute.
dEEb: When did you realize that you wanted to to change your role from party rave kid to headlining Jungle DJ and what were some of the steps you had to take to make that a reality.
Ms. Magoo: I have listened to rave music for as long as I can remember. I attended my first rave when I was 17, and after experiencing some of my favorite DJs live I just knew I wanted to learn how to mix. I began mixing on my boyfriend’s 1210s when he was out until I built enough confidence to actually start mixing with him. I was hooked straight away and quickly found myself mixing for hours every day. It was mainly a hobby at first something I did for fun. Then I began to play a weekly show on internet radio. After that it became my focus to try and get some bookings and the rest as they say is history.
dEEb: From within the scene, who are your role models and why do you choose them for inspiration?
Ms. Magoo: I have a few role models, Randall being one. I love the way he mixes, long flowing blends. Always appreciated that way of blending two tracks. Bellyman is another. For his attitude and his work rate. It’s truly inspiring the amount of work that man puts into the scene. Finally DJ Rap, for being a positive role model for me as a female artist.
dEEb: Finally, what do you feel can be done to help encourage more women to enter the ranks of production and DJing of Jungle Drum And Bass music.
Ms. Magoo: Honestly I think things are starting to move in the right direction. I’m seeing more women being included on lineups, and releases coming out too. The more girls see other girls out there the more it will encourage them to enter the ranks themselves. DJ and production workshops are always a good way to encourage aspiring artists. It would be great to see a few more of these that include female speakers aswell.
Jams reached out for the re-branding by bringing this collective of talented women artists to a twenty one, active, women of badassery in all of North America. While some of the core members that originally held the active roster like Crystal Fresh, Distinct, J.F Killa and Mittz, they welcomed the US additions just as well. Mizeyesis being the lead for all things DNBGirls US, sought that likes of Lovelace, of Matos + Lovelace. Iris and Bulletproof Tiger, the other half of Tank Top NYC as well as a few others join the collective. Mizeyesis plays one of the oldest genres in the spectrum and by comparison, in the worst geographical location for it in the world. To some, that might be like setting yourself up for failure but Miz has proven the odds are in her favor, making her one of the best people to talk to about some of the harder hitting questions about women and Jungle Drum And Bass!
dEEb: Tell us about a time in your career where you felt belittled, but not because of your talent but simply because you are a woman. How did you react and what eventually became of the situation.
Mizeyesis: In the past 14 years while they have been absolutely wonderful, there’s indeed a darkside to being a woman involved in music that can be taxing at times. I’ve had so many instances of this unfortunate aspect of dj and scene culture. I’ve been involved in this as a raver/fan since 1997 however, I’ve been djing in the scene since 2004. Some of my first instances were from message boards and from local scene members. A lot of men can feel threatened by women coming into something that’s apart of a boys club mentality. They talk about you, shun you, stalk you online… The mob mentality can be real, and its not just men, other women can be just has hurtful too.
As years go on, you’re still djing… You add producing your own tracks on top of that, residencies, national and international bookings and such… People understand that this is your livelihood and passion. While some will still think you are absolutely horrible, carry the sexism with them, you run into a troll every now and then, some will come to respect what you do, and you learn it was never about you in the first place. The music is ultimately transcendant.
Like all djs I’m also a conduit of something greater than myself. I’m not perfect by any and all means… sometimes I didn’t handle these situations well which blew up in my face, and you learn from those mistakes. But like all of us, I deserve the respect as a human being to express myself, and give my all to this culture through this sound. Just like any other participant with the same passion and positive intent, I will do such in peace, harmony and love, to elevate this music and culture in the best way I can. If that’s not understood by anyone at the end of the day, there’s nothing else I can do but continue to be who I am.
dEEb: Being one of the very few Americans to cross the pond for the sake of the music, what has your experience been like being in the UK and how does it compare to the US?
Mizeyesis: I’ve always been welcomed with open arms in the UK. My first time over there was in 2007 and it was for 5 months. I stayed with family in Oxford however going to London and Cambridge regularly. I’ve known most of my UK peers from message boards, Myspace, when they came over to dj, and working with them, or meeting them across the pond when I was there the first time. I have been blessed to stay in touch, working with many of them on Jungletrain, or just in general with being on the same lineups, production, some are labelmates, etc…
My first time playing over there was in 2013 at Rupture in London, Corsica Studios. Rupture is the pinnacle of jungle to me, those lineups reflect the strong diversity within that sound not just demographic wise either. You’ll hear the best in old school, new school, anthems, whatever, all on a FunktionOne sound system in this loft style club. The Rupture family have always been very supportive of my endevors as well as vice versa.
Last year, I linked with Mrs Magoo on another trip and played with her on The Bellyman Show on OriginUK through an FB live feed and online radio… That was so much fun! I’ve maintained a friendship with Mrs. Magoo through social media and it was a trip to finally meet her in person as well as Bellyman and play that show.
For any junglist or DNB fan in the US, the UK is going to feel extremely natural. But lets face it, the difference is that anywhere in the UK, you can hear Jungle and DNB almost anywhere in multiple formats (FM Radio, television, bars, pubs, music stores, record shops that are local, regional, national, festivals, etc), and in the US, we still need to go to our nearest metropolis where it exists, the Internet, as its still very unknown outside of its niche scene. And we don’t have an all Jungle/DNB festival despite having such a large, although spreadout population that are faithful to it.
Jungle & DNB is homogenous to the UK, just in the same way Hip-Hop in its purest form is home to the US. New England, NYC and LA really have strong similarities to the pockets I’ve encountered in the UK scene from my experience. Mostly due to the frequency of nights, the number of crews and djs in those areas, the fact that also aside from just Jungle/DNB, those areas have some of the oldest rave and electronic music based scenes in the country, right along with the UK. Plus the type of venues in these places you are able to see more the culture in action as a similarity, and surely the same goes for other cities in the US like Chicago, Philly, DC, Tampa, etc…
I tell everyone who is a fan of this music to go over to the UK and experience it at least once. I feel it creates a deeper understanding of this culture and where it came from. You come back more appreciative that something like music can bring so many together on such a deep level, which is something to be respected and cherished. In other words, you do your best to honor it.
dEEb: As the DNB Girls Collective continues to grow, what is your role and what are your plans for the group in 2018?
Mizeyesis: My role with DNB Girls is US Manager. I became a member and US Manger in 2013 when the group first expanded into the US along with Iris and Bulletproof Tiger who were also brought on. 5 years later, on the US side we have 10 members with plans to expand further. I work closely with Jams, our CEO to bring aboard new members, project implementation for the team and so much more within our group. She and I are in constant discussion on the team and where we’d like it to evolve.
Our goals are, how can we inspire other women to feel okay to play this music and be apart of our scene in North America? Here in the US, and pretty much most scenes worldwide, it can be hard for some women to feel comfortable participating in this music as jungle and DNB can be pretty male dominated. In some instances that’s reflective with night attendance, and the vibe of the music can be too agressive for some women to get into, at first. However, when they see other women into it, they suddenly become more open in being apart of it because there’s comfortability in numbers which is okay!
At DNB Girls, we express that with promoting another, our podcasts, fb live shows, collaborative events, and other projects can help empower others to start doing the same. We are at a point in our overall society where the feminine presence is ordinary and both necessary in so many facets of life.
I love our team members and the synergy of our group at this time. Basically we are women who love Jungle & DNB and enjoy working with another. I’m very hopeful in the direction that we are growing in and feel we will push forward the movement, strongly.
dEEb: There is a common question that been getting asked a lot, “Where are all the women at?” when it comes to Jungle Drum And Bass. What is your opinion on the matter and what can be done to keep this question from repeating itself.
Mizeyesis: I’ve seen all of the articles and statuses on FB and respond each time, “The women have been here…” Its interesting as Mantra of Rupture started her sentiment about gender equity stating this notion, however its gotten twisted around to mean that there’s no women at all which was never her intention. The issue is, we have all of these women in our scene, why are they not represented at larger nights and festivals, or regularly in the media like their male counterparts?
There have been so many of us djing, promoting and deeply involved in Jungle/DNB for a long time and many who are KILLING it right now, so what’s the problem? Many women involved also produce and have releases just like myself on well known lables, not to mention the countless women behind the scenes throwing nights, founding agencies and pushing labels. And this has been true since day one, so why is the frequency of what is now not reflective enough in events, publications, media, general knowledge, etc?
When you see many of the larger festival productions today or events, you wouldn’t know that this music has women or minorities involved which is false. We need more promoters and agencies to not shun this or feel they can’t promote women who are on the comeup or out there pushing it. We need to also stop the perception of “you’re good for a girl” which is nonsense… Some of the best djs, musicians, and artists in the world are women, just like men.
For a society that’s diverse like ours, representation does matter, particularly in the US where we tend to not dig deeply collectively and take things as face value. Times are changing again, and our scene is shifting here in the States. I can’t tell you the countless kids that come up to me and say it feels good to see a woman or minority woman on stage playing music with passion, and many of my peers have similar interactions. If the fans want to see that, and more diversified sounds in Jungle/DNB or electronic music in general, give it to them and, in smaller pockets many are. I want a new generation of djs to feel okay to step out there and push this music to more people and elevate it to another level, and I think we all do.
There’s such a rich story to tell of our past, present and future which we are not doing a good job of collectively as a scene worldwide. We’ve been stuck in our culture of promoting the legends, but only a small amount of the legends, neglecting the others that have been foundationary for all that’s happened. If this is underground music, why have we locked into a pattern of reflecting one aspect of a culture that supposed to be a mosaic? Especially for a movement that was based upon multiculturalism with a strong Black/Afro-Caribbean influence and women at the fore since day one. We have to find a balance in the old and new in our sound, thought, perception and scene’s future.
dEEb: You are great role model for what “being a positive influence” should be. What are some words that you would like to give not just for women but as a whole so that we can educate ourselves on how we should view gender and relationships from within the scene.
Mizeyesis: I think we all could use paying attention to others more and opening our minds… Realize a few things, we are all humans. No one is perfect, no dj is perfection, we all will have weird things happen from time to time. However, pay attention to those who put their all into what they do. Pay attention to your up and comers… Your legends, your consistents… Support your local, regional, national and international scene too as its from us, we change the landscape of what people know and who they listen to. Your friends grinding and making way, don’t feel threatened by it, there’s a big pie for us all to eat from if we all get past our hangups and prejudices.
Our scene should be a vast network for any DJ, producer, artist and mc that loves this music, scene and culture to connect to and build in… That’s a thought that benefits everyone if we all can get on the same page and build up from there. If a person has malicious intent, it will always come to light, we see that in our current time. However, give folks a chance, listen, support… We do need another in order for this music to go on another 30 years and beyond.
dEEb: So, dnb girls just started a podcast series that features two sets from two girls from both sides of the collective. What else do you have planned for dnb girls?
Jamie Jams: We also do a FB live stream monthly from a different host and city. This month you’ll see one from Athena in Texas. We are working on a video project to be released later in the year. Here in Calgary we have a monthly residency as well at Broken City on the 2nd Friday of every month.
dEEb: Is there a process when allowing some of these women into the collective? Or is it an open arms open door policy type thing where as long as your pushing the sound you can be I guess an Affiliate?
Jams: We ask certain artists on our radar to apply and invite others to apply that reach out to us about joining our collective. Every girl out there that pushes DnB is a DnB Girl at heart and in our mind but on top of that we have the official roster, these are artists we actively promote and work with directly. That being said our policy is to share our resources with our community by extending project opportunities to fellow artists (male and female) outside of our group both in North America and beyond. We do ask that official affiliates complete the application process. We have an even larger network of un-official allies.
dEEb: So there’s the A Team DNB Girls that are… kinda like representatives. But the idea behind it is to genuinely support women in Drum And Bass?
Jams: Yes exactly and even though our representatives are residing in North America our objective is to support women in Drum & Bass (and beyond) worldwide. We aim to encourage not discourage.
dEEb: Do you Drum And Bass fulltime? Or do you have to realworld a 9-5.
Jams: DnB is my side gig. During the day I manage a registered charity for at-risk youth. We have a musical mentorship program that provides free music lessons and instruments (guitar and DJ) to youth living in poverty or getting in trouble with the law. We have approx 150 students and have been in operation for 13 years.
dEEb: Take whatever length it takes to elaborate about yourself, the group DNB Girls of Canada prior to the formation of DNB Girls. Then the group after the formation. What the group has done within the Drum & Bass community and where you see yourself as a collective in the future from now.
Jams: The DnB Girls (est 2009) was founded almost a decade ago as a collective of Canadian women in music; Drum & Bass in particular. At that time we were titled the DnB Girls of Canada. 2009 was also the year I started playing out under my artist name ‘Jams’.. I had been into Drum & Bass since 2001 and over time it became my life.
The collective was originally a pilot project dreamt up by my former business partner who brought me on as co-founder prior to the official launch. I was asked to partner in the organization after demonstrating my invested interest and dedication towards the success and importance of our vision. We wanted to inspire more like-minded women to join the DnB movement by showcasing women out there making moves and connecting them to other artists who wanted to do the same or were already doing it.
Our group was formed as an answer to the question that is on everyone’s mind…
Why aren’t there more women in DnB?
The answer is: “You can find plenty of us right here! Hiiii :)’
The DnB Girls of Canada officially launched with our core team of 7 artists across Canada from Vancouver all the way to Montreal and everything in between. Mizeyesis was the catalyst to our discovery of many more talented and driven women across the US in DnB. After connecting with her we started to realize the shared need for our project in the US sector so I made the decision to open up our roster to include DnB Girls of America.
In 2012, we announced the continental expansion and appointed Mizeyesis as our US Manager, a well deserved position and incredible asset for the team as a whole. Shortly after that we announced that our organization’s name has changed to DnB Girls which includes two divisions (Canada and the US) operating collectively under one main umbrella. At the same time we added 4 artists to kickstart our new US division.
Here we are today with 21 rostered members across Canada and the US; our titles range from Dj to MC to Producers to Promoters and in our personal lives from mothers to actresses to office executives to spiritual healers.. You name it! We all live our lives with a certain passion for music and zest for DnB. These women are constantly pushing their sounds, brands and names to the next level.
Fun Fact: our tours & DnB Girls events, graphic design, podcasting, streaming, social media management and so much more is done in house by our amazing members. Our team is extremely diverse and talented; each lady brings unique skill sets to the table.
We work closely with our team members to provide inspiration and motivation while providing extra promotional support along the way. We use our knowledge, experience and connections to move forward in our individual careers and motivate one another to achieve short and long term goals. The DnB Girls work together as a team to cross promote one another (and the project) as well as help each other build our global fan bases. We organize special projects such as events, tours, live streams and podcasts while updating our followers with new and exciting content. Not only do we share things about/from our rostered artists but all women out there making noise as our objective is to push the sounds of talented artists worldwide! We want to giveback and support our community in the many ways it has supported us personally as artists and as a crew.
Future plans include more members, my dream is to continue to strengthen our team to the level that it can accommodate and support even more artists across North America (please email firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate an artist or apply)!
Currently we are trying to balance our network geographically as we connect with more key players in their respective cities across Canada and the US. In addition to individual content from our members being released over the year we have a video project in the works with plans to release before 2019. Our re-launched podcast series is fully booked until fall and our live stream which broadcasts via a new host from a different city each month is fully booked until the end of the year. We look forward to future collaborations and meaningful connections over the coming years as we continue to push our project forward. I speak on the behalf of our collective when I express how grateful we are for the continued support from within our community.. both men and women alike 🙂
Thank you very much Brandon,
No no, thank you and all the other wonderful women in Drum And Bass that have such a positive influence. You all have a very loud and clear message and I wanted to do my best to get that message out. There is no slowing down for any of the girls I spoke with and who helped make this article possible. These women are very important just as much as the ones that came before them. These girls are making the most possible noise they can at this very moment. So, again we thank you and all the massive an’ crews for doing what you do!