It’s that time of year again when we celebrate the many women that are pioneering the music and festivals industry. We are seeing an increase in female DJs attempting to bash through the norms of the male-dominated DJ scene, and they’re doing a pretty good job at it!
We’ve asked three women who are all up-and-coming DJ artists at slightly different stages, but are all evidently finding their way to the top at an impressive rate, to answer some questions for us. All reigning from different walks of life but syncretically finding the decks, onto performing for some of the biggest venues.
First we have Kara, a drum & bass DJ who has already made her mark performing for Charlie Tee’s radio show, DNB all stars, Printworks, Warehouse Project. She is a whirlwind who is certainly one to watch, we are so excited to see her journey unravel from here! See what she had to say when we caught up with her;
- Your Dnb Allstars set was one to remember, what was your experience like?
One of the best experiences ever.. I was really nervous about the idea of everyone being so close but the energy in the room was nothing like Iv ever experienced. It was really nice to be able to vibe with the ravers. I want to do more raves like that!!
- We loved your mixing on Charlie Tee’s show (another DJ worth a big shout out for IWD!), how was it meeting her and bonding over dnb, as well as doing such a great mix for the show?
Charlie Tee is such a legend, she is so immensely talented at what she does. Was so nice to finally meet her properly as well as I did a guest mix & interview for her back in 2021 for kiss fresh!
Getting to Go to the BBC studios was something il never forgot, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the people that had stood where I was, what an experience! Big ups Charlie Tee for having me down!
- How long would you say you’ve been DJing for and did you know you wanted to be a DJ full time?
I started taking DJing seriously around 2019, but it was something I’d been doing with my mum since I was a kid! I originally wanted to DJ to show the lads up at house parties but when my videos started to get more attention during lockdown I decided this is definitely something I want and could do full time!
- Are there any artists you’d like to bring light to for IWD or just who you look up/are inspired by?
I’ve gotta shout out [I.V.Y]. Such a sick producer and dj, I love her sound she’s pushing atm. She’s gonna smash it this year!
Next up we have our Noz ’22 DJ competition WINNER chosen by Mollie Collins herself. Stez was more than deserving of the spot and blew us away with her set at the festival. Let’s see what she’s been up to ever since…
- Congratulations on being selected by DJ, Producer and KISS FM presenter Mollie Collins as the 2022 DJ Noz Comp winner! In her feedback, Mollie praised your tight mixing, and said your mix had her vibing – how does that feel?
The fact that Mollie Collins was even listening to a mix of mine was insane enough so hearing her kind words on a mix I was proud of meant tremendous amounts. My main goal when putting out a mix is always creating a fun and happy atmosphere so very pleased she was vibing to it!
- Where were you when you found out you’d won?
It was a Sunday, I was mentally preparing myself for a 2-10pm shift at work about 20 minutes before I needed to leave I see a notification from Nozstock and immediately my heart was racing clicked on it and just sat there for a few minutes with my hand over my face shocked & listening to Mollie announce I’ve won!
Sprinted down to the garden where my parents were and told them, basically the whole street heard my mum screaming and then proceed to hear her cry so was such an amazing feeling. Was definitely in a better mood off to work after that!!
- Tell us about the set. How did it go?
Sunday morning, first set in the Bullpen on the last day, was such a surreal feeling getting to go there behind the speakers for once. The Bullpen has always been my favourite stage at Nozstock especially with the wicked Soundsystem so felt really grateful.
Started playing and it went super quick, had a great time and all of my friends had come to support which made it 10x better.
- What’s been happening for you since then?
Since playing at Nozstock Mollie Collins asked me to put together a mix for KissFM radio which was such a big achievement for me. I was lucky enough to play in Cardiff for the first time with the Dazed team, played at Loco Klub, Lakota and The Black Swan a number of times for some really amazing events in Bristol.
Thanks to Ella Nosworthy, she recommended me to Phil from BBC Hereford & Worcester Radio and I was lucky enough to get a mix aired by them.
Finally I joined RIGSIDE who are a Bristol based events team & DJ collective. My first set with them was on my 22nd birthday, playing 12-1am so was a very special set!
- Tell us about the first time you played a set in front of a crowd…
The first ever time I played in-front of a crowd was a huge house party, they’d got a big Soundsytem and nobody had ever seen me mix live before! Playing in that environment with just my friends and seeing their reactions to my blends really solidified my drive to get myself out there and move on up to clubs.
From there my first professional set was at The Kerry in Hereford on a Wednesday night, was quiet at the start then the room was nicely packed by the end. Playing in-front of a crowd really taught me how to stay calm under pressure and boosted my confidence immensely especially gave me a buzz when you see people loving your blends!
- What are your thoughts on being a young woman making your way in the music scene?
Being a young women working my way up in such a male dominated area at first was intimidating purely from my lack of knowledge of the Dnb scene to be specific. When I first started to mix (about 3 years ago now) I rarely knew of any female DJs, all I’d ever known was boys from my hometown mixing and me wanting to learn. As soon as I started to get more into the DnB world I was amazed at how many girls/women were actually involved. It’s such an amazing community with all accepting like-minded people. From a personal experience I’ve received nothing but love and support with my journey, from men & women. Now especially the women are absolutely smashing it (always have been) and I do feel it’s come a long way absolutely.
- How’s the journey been so far?
Over the past 3 years my journey through the world of DJing has had many ups and luckily few downs, a lot of long drives from Hereford to Bristol and back, I’ve met amazing people and played at my dream venues especially my favourite festival Nozstock! This journey has taught me a lot about myself. It’s really pushed me out of my comfort zone and put me in situations where it won’t always go as smoothly as I’ve hoped. It’s really improved my confidence and definitely to not be so self critical. Overall it’s not only been the most fun I’ve had but also as a person it’s helped me grow.
- Who are your biggest inspirations right now?
My biggest inspirations right now who’s talents are all effortless & who create the best atmosphere have got to be DJs / Producers such as ;
Frenetic , Crossy, Selecta J-Man, Aries, Kelvin 373, Rounded, Scuffed, Anais, Jenni Groves and the list could go on. These stand out to me the most and I love each of their styles.
- What would you like everyone to know about Stez?
Id like people to know I’m forever grateful to everyone who’s supported me on this journey so far and liked my sound. If you’re smiling and even dancing that’s my job done and the reason why I do it!
And last but not least – a Nozstocker through and through! APH is another incredibly talented DJ breaking through those norms of male -dominated DJ line ups. She has recently become part of The Kitten Club – an all female DJ collective in Bristol bringing female energy we need in the music bizz. Now, let’s see what she had to say when we caught up with her;
- To start off, give us a little information about yourself and where we might be able to find you playing?
Hi I am Anna Pixie Holmes and I am a dnb/jungle dj from Bristol, you can catch me playing in the bullpen this year at Noz!
- .As a DJ in Bristol, would you say your mixes are heavily influenced by the music scene there?
My style has definitely got those Bristol flavours. I take influence from those older sounds and mix it with new school jungle and heavy rollers.
- When did you decide you wanted to be a DJ?
I wanted to be a dj just after lockdown really, watching my friends every weekend and fiancé gave me the itch, I dabbled a little before but now I’m in deep and I’ve love it. I love bringing my energy and style to the dance, watching people vibe and dance to my selection is a good feeling.
- Being part of The Kitten Club must be so empowering as an all female DJ collective – when did you become a part of it and what have been your best moments so far?
I love the kittens, each Dj is growing so quickly and to be by their side at the festivals we’ve done so far has been such an honour. I’ve been a kitten for a while, I’m the oldest dj so I feel like the crazy auntie. I’m excited to see what amazing things come our way this year and to do more fun takeovers with them because it puts the biggest smile on my face.
- As someone who is successfully building a great rep for herself, do you have any advice for future female DJs just starting out?
My advice is to make sure you don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s, people will grow at different paces. Social media only give you the best 1 minute of an hour set, so just focus on you, your set and have fun with it.