Ladies of Rave
Mixing isn’t just for men and turntables aren’t just boys toys. As with so many industries, the media around DJing always has its crosshairs hanging over men, with some of the world’s best DJs being passed-by. Slowly but surely the gender gap in DJing is improving, but we still have a long way to go.
In the United Kingdom, Red Bull put together a list of some of the biggest Drum & Bass nights, looked at the total number of acts, and what percentage were women. Shockingly, less than 3% of most events’ performers were female.To try and balance the media representation of women in music we’ve put together a list of our favorite 30 female DJs, and taken a quick look at their favorite pieces of kit. Check it out:
This isn’t the first time Alison Wonderland has been on one of our lists. She made it onto our list of top DJs in 2018 and hit number 89 in DJ Mag’s top 100 DJs of 2017. In 2015, Alison’s album “Run” hit number 1 in the Dance/Electronic album charts, proving her versatile production style and eclectic abilities.
Alison Wonderland draws inspiration from a varied music career. She’s been a master of many genres which proves her eclectic taste. She was a cellist in the Sydney Youth Orchestra before she began playing bass in an indie rock group. Over time, she turned her attention to dance music. Alison Wonderland has been known to use an AKAI MPK Mini mkII
Radio DJ turned nightclub superstar, Anja Schneider’s radio show “Dance Under The Blue Moon” developed into Mobilee Records, which has released tracks from top DJs such as Maya Jane Coles, Pan-pot, Martin Landsky andmore.
Since 2004, she’s not only become one of the world’s top DJs, she also challenges the patriarchal DJ culture, as a leading businesswoman.
In 2017, Anja moved away from the label she started so many years ago, Mobilee, to create a new label that gave her more creative freedom – SoMe. Anja Schneider uses a variety of equipment, but notably we’ve seen her using Technic 1210s in her vinyl sets.
Originally from Australia, but now rocking parties in Los Angeles, CA, Anne Lunoe has broken into the EDM scene in a big way. She started her career as the youth broadcaster for FBi Radio in Sydney and went on to become the first woman to mix for Ministry of Sound Australia. When with Ministry of Sound, Anne Lunoe produced three compilation CDs, all of which went gold.
In 2016, Lunoe was the first female DJ to play solo on the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas’ main stage. Lunoe is one woman to never let anything get in the way, she even carried on touring despite being pregnant. Hats off to her! Anne Lunoe has been seen mixing and using DAWs on her Macbook Pro, a pretty essential piece of kit for any digital musician.
UK-born Techno powerhouse Cassy has been exploring the techno scene since she was a teenager. Cassy grew up in Austria during the 90s, when Vienna was developing a unique techno scene.
Her first gig was at Vienna nightclub Flex with the DJ, Electric Indigo. Electric Indigo, alongside Acid Maria and Miss Kittin began mentoring Cassy.
By 2003, Cassy moved to Berlin and by 2004 she became a resident at Panorama Bar. Since then she’s held residencies in Amsterdam and Ibiza. Cassy has stated in an interview that she uses Ableton to record her mixes, and Logic for production.
Birmingham (UK) born Hannah Wants traveled to Ibiza in 2010 and set out to win a number of DJing competitions. After rapid success in multiple competitions, Hannah was offered a headline slot at premier nightclub Es Paradis, and was invited to run a weekly night at Ibiza club – Viva.
In 2014, Hannah Wants was awarded the Best Breakthrough DJ by DJ Mag, and become both Mixmag’s Best Breakthrough DJ and Star of the Year. Since then, Hannah Wants has shown no sign of slowing down. She was recently named BBC Radio 1 resident. Hannah Wants has been seen mixing on an industry-standard Pioneer DJM-900NXS2.
After starting her career selling tapes at raves, the Black Madonna has risen to become a godDess of Techno. She’s well-known for smashing uplifting vinyl sets spanning across genres from Disco to Techno.
In December of 2012, The Black Madonna was named as the new resident DJ for Smart Bar – one of North America’s oldest and most famous independent venues. Within one year she became the club’s Creative Director with the intention to bring more anti-establishment passion to the music scene.
Also a well known activist, The Black Madonna continually tries to bring more and more women into the rave scene. She specifically states “I am most interested in using any leverage I have over my own shows and projects to go ahead and make the world that I am advocating for.”
The Black Madonna uses Technic 1210s for her vinyl only sets. Watch her in the Boiler Room With Servito below…
More than just a DJ, Dani Deahl spends a great deal of her time producing her signature sound whether it’s Trap, Twerk or Future Bass House. Her music production and live mixes make her the only female producer in the United States that both tours worldwide and has label backing.
On top of all of her musical endeavors, she is also editor-at-large at the world renowned electronic dance music magazine – DJ Mag, writes for The Verge and was previously an editor for NYLON Magazine, making her one of the big voices in dance music journalism. Dani Deahl told The Verge magazine last year that she now uses the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless Over-Ear Headphones.
With the mission to represent drum and bass in all of it’s raw power, Mantra claims her deep and emotive sound comes from her love of the genre. Crossing from uplifting to dark, DJ Mantra has already made huge waves in the extremely male-dominated drum and bass scene.
Mantra promotes her own club night, Rupture, which has seen great success combining some of the genre’s hottest newcomers with the industry legends. Mantra’s passion for drum and bass and music promotion has set her club night apart from all the other parties in her native London, and earned her a name on the international drum and bass scene. Mantra uses the Allen & Heath Xone:92 mixer, ideal for using filters and effects within the mix.
Classically trained DJ with the attitude that first put drum and bass on the map, Mollie Collins has skyrocketed to stardom and doesn’t look like she’s planning on coming down.
Since she was 15, Mollie has been slipping into squat parties and under-18 events until she was able to take over the scene. She started out on the street teams, then promoting parties, VJing and ultimately DJing, Mollie clawed her way up from the very bottom.
Now, at 21 years old, Mollie has already played some of the scene’s biggest nightclubs and partiesm including Fabric, Innovation, Color Festival, One Nation and more. Her first gig was in May 2015, and in 2016 she played over 100 shows, 10 festivals and still holds a Monday night residency at her hometown club in Kent.
Manchester based drum and bass master Djinn has been producing and DJing Jungle and DnB within the UK’s underground scene since 2004. Djinn got her start at squat parties and club nights at the age of 17. Since then her style has evolved with the underground scene and has explored everything underneath the breakbeat umbrella: first DnB, then jungle and breakbeat hardcore, Djinn then had a brief love affair with dubstep before reaching minimal DnB with dark rolling beats and amen breaks.
Djinn has been internationally recognized as one of drum and bass’ finest DJs since 2007, playing all across Europe and the Americas. She had a brief period producing dubstep, but never finished her EP and went back to the music she truly loves – Drum and Bass. DJinn uses the Pioneer DJM950NXS2, the industry standard mixer. Watch rock out on this Rupture set.
DJ Reid Speed
DJ Reid Speed is well known for being one of the pioneers of drum and bass in the United States, as well as being one of the only female DJs in the dance music scene at the time. Since she first broke out onto the scene in New York City in 1996, Reid Speed has founded two of her own labels – Play Me Records & Play Me Too, topped charts across the world with her own produced tracks and inspired a whole generation of female DJs.
Reid Speed’s label has released over 250 different artists from a variety of genres, so she really is creating a platform for new artists. DJ Reid Speed is always seen with a pair of Pioneer CDJ-2000s.
Originally from British Columbia, Canada, B.Traits has taken the UK dance scene by storm. After relocating to London, B.Traits released her rave/bass hybrid track ‘Fever’, which infiltrated the UK charts.
Since then, B.Traits became a well respected radio broadcaster for the BBC, notably playing the 1am to 4am Friday night slot. This position has given B.Traits to explore the more obscure side of dance music and educate people on the hottest house and techno coming from Europe.
B.Traits goes further than just exploring and educating people on dance music. She even sAZ presented a special documentary for the BBC that explored drug culture and the safety of both legal and illegal drugs in the UK. B.Traits uses the Maschine mk2 by Native Instruments when producing her own beats.
Italian born, Francesca Lombardo spend her early years as a classically trained musician. At the age of 13, Lombardo joined the Conservatorium of Music. At the age of 19, Lombardo turned her attention to electronic music, moving to London to become a techno DJ which gave her much greater scope for creative freedom than classical music.
Lombardo then spent years developing her own signature sound from an extremely varied musical background. She strives to transcend the dance floor with ethereal soundscapes and hypnotic basslines. In 2012, Lombardo released her first track on label, Crosstown Rebels and in 2016, released her debut album. Francesca Lombardo has been seen using the Pioneer DJM-750.
New York native Gina Turner grew up within the house scene and was inspired by the huge clubs like Shelter and Sound Factory. Taking inspiration from New York, Gina Turner moved to Boston and took over multiple radio shows and made a name for herself in the Boston club scene. In 2006, she moved to Los Angeles and formed the DJ Duo STACCATO, continuing with DJing and radio shows.
Since her debut in LA, Gina Turner has pushed herself to international acclaim, both in North America and Europe. She caught the attention of Laidback Luke as well as other European producers. Gina Turner formed a duo with Laidback Luke, called Nouveau Yorican. Laidback Luke and Gina Turner were eventually married and had a child together.
One of Sweden’s top techno DJs, Ida Engberg got her big break at the young age of 18, when another DJ pulled out of a gig and she took their place. After smashing the show and owning the dance floor, Ida was offered a regular night at the club.
Springing from her regular night, Ida got a shot at mixing at Spy Bar (one of Sweden’s biggest nightclubs), which put her on the radar of some big techno DJs in Europe. She’s since worked with Roger Sanchez, Sebastian Ingrosso and Eric Prydz.
In 2007, Ida Engberg released her first single with Icelandic superstar Bjork, and in 2008, Ida was invited to some of the largest electronic music festivals in Europe. Ida Engberg chooses Pioneer CDJs over the more traditional Technics turntables.
Miss Kittin has become one of the most inspiring women in the electronic music scene in the last few years. She’s produced multiple hits alongside her production partner, The Hacker, including tracks such as; Frank Sinatra and 1982, which first put the duo under the international spotlight.
Miss Kittin then began collaborating with the likes of Felix Da Housecat, Steve Bug and T.Raumschmiere. In 2004, Miss Kittin released her own solo artist album that combined influences from jacking house, punk, dub and electronic pop, all with techno beats.
Despite her status as an international producer, Miss Kittin states that her first and foremost love is still DJing, mixing unexpected tracks and creating a truly unique sound. Miss Kittin uses the Ableton Push in her studio.
Nina Las Vegas
Australian DJ, radio host and music producer Nina Las Vegas has been consistently named as one of the world’s top DJs to watch in the coming years. Since her humble beginnings as a university radio DJ, Nina Las Vegas established Heaps Decent, a not-for-profit label alongside EDM superstar Diplo and Andrew Levins.
TOKiMONSTA (real name Jennifer Lee), is a Los Angeles based DJ and producer. She was trained in classical piano and then used these skills to begin producing beats in college. In 2010, she was invited to the Red Bull Music Academy in London and was signed to Flying Lotus’ label Brainfeeder, and released her first album in the same year.
Sadly, Lee was diagnosed with Moyamoya disease in 2015, which forms blood clots in the brain, and Lee lost her ability to communicate and comprehend many things, including music. After two rounds of surgery, Lee began to regain her cognitive abilities and set out on making her fifth album.
Nervo is comprised of two Australian twins and famous ladies of rave, Olivia Nervo and Miriam Nervo. They signed with Sony at the age of 18 and began their career as dual songwriters. In 2008 they co-wrote “When Love Takes Over”, performed by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland which won a Grammy Award.
Nervo have been cited as the highest paid female DJs in the industry, and still they use the M-Audio Keystation 49es MIDI Controller.
Isabelle Rezazadeh (better known by her stage name – Rezz), is a Ukrainian born but Canadian based DJ and producer. Rezz apparently knew that she had to become a DJ after being fired from her day job for skipping weekend shifts to attend music festivals. At the age of 16 she began mixing music but was soon inspired to begin producing her own.
She began producing music and releasing it on soundcloud, and was quickly noticed by big names such as Deadmau5 and Skrillex. Rezz then released tracks on both Skrillex’s and Deadmau5’s labels respectively.
At the start of 2018, Rezz’s album Mass Manipulation was awarded best Electronic Album of the Year at the Juno Music Awards. We’ve seen loads of DAW plugins in Rezz’s studio, notably: iZotope Trash 2 For distorting, Native Instruments Komplete: Massive Synth and the FabFilter 2 Twin Synthesizer. Check her out Live in Las Vegas.
Monika Kruse is one of Europe’s original techno pioneers, running the famous techno label Terminal M. She is one of techno’s most famous DJs and one of the genre’s most loved producers. For over 25 years, Kruse’s commitment to techno has made her a household name in Germany, and she’s watched the techno scene develop from its roots into one of the world’s top genres.
Kruse began her career in the early 90’s by organizing squat parties and raves in abandoned WWII bomb shelters. After developing her scene and her style, Monika Kruse launched the Terminal M label in 2000 which quickly gained international esteem. Today, Monika Kruse still headlines festivals and parties across the world, and rocks some of the world’s biggest techno crowds.
Monika Kruse uses the classic Roland TR-909 to produce her drums. Unfortunately for us, finding one of these bad boy synthesizers is nearly impossible without dropping $3k+ on a second hand piece of kit.
Another dynamic DJ duo, Krewella is formed by half-Pakistani, half-American sisters Jahan Yousaf and Yasmine Yousaf. Since 2007, Krewella have been mixing multiple genres and making a name for themselves through social media.
By 2012, they had produced enough tracks to release two EPs “Play Hard” and “Play Harder”, the first of the two breaking into Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic charts. Their music has since gone viral and amassed millions of plays across online platforms.
Krewella aren’t just online though, and since their big debut, the sisters have performed at huge EDM festivals across the world, and now are regularly named as some of the top DJ acts in the world. Krewella have been seen using the Traktor Kontrol S2 by Native Instruments.
More than just a DJ and producer, Magda is an artist, designer and businesswoman. Born in Poland and raised in Detroit, Magda has taken inspiration from her environment and is able to see beauty where others might only see degradation and dereliction.
Magda grew up partying and DJing in Detroit’s thriving house and techno scene, and in 1998, she was thrown into stardom. Minus picked Magda up and she began touring the world as Richie Hawtin’s opening DJ.
She has since carved her own path and made a name for herself as one of the world’s best house and techno DJs. On top of multiple accolades and an international reputation, Magda proved herself a competent businesswoman by running the label Items & Things alongside Marc Houle and Troy Pierce.
Magda has even gone on to release her own brand of tequila and frequently works as a designer, proving that this artist is as multi-faceted as they come. Magda uses the Arturia Beatstep Pro.
Nicole Moudaber was first exposed to dance music at New Yorks well known Tunnel Club. Ever since, Moudaber has been trying to share the energy and spirity of dance music with the world.
The Lebanese-Nigerian artist began her career as a promoter, putting on parties first in Lebanon, and then moving to London. She began drawing the attention of huge DJs like Carl Cox, who told DJ Mag in 2009 that he thought she was “the most underrated DJ”.
Since then, Nicole Moudaber has made a name for herself as an event promoter, record label founder, radio host and an incredible DJ/Producer. Her trademark sound has made a huge impact in the techno scene, updating it and giving it a fresh breath of life.
Moudaber is an outspoken supporter of the Lower Eastside Girls Club, an organization that helps underprivileged young women pursue a career in music. Nicole Moudaber uses the increasingly popular AIAIAI TMA-2 Headphones when playing live.
Ellen Allien was with Berlin techno from the very start. She combines incredible skills with a fantastic knowledge and music collection to ensure her position as one of Berlin’s top techno DJs since she took residencies at Tresor, E-Werk and Bunkein 1992.
Nowadays, Ellen Allien holds a residency in Nitsa (Barcelona) and Circoloco at DC10 (Ibiza). She organises parties at Berlin’s Tresor nightclub and promotes her own global event series We Are Not Alone. She uses the Roland TR-808 drum machine that made acid house and early techno so famous.
Pioneer of the trailblazing new genre known as Raggatek, Manidextrous has developed her own unique sound harnessing the amen break and jungle breakdowns, reggae vocals, dub samples and basslines with hardcore techno kick drums.
Her career started in the squat party scene in 2000, and has gone on to launch her own label Amen4Tekno, which focuses on amen-break heavy hardtek and jungle. As a pioneer of a fresh underground genre that is only increasing in popularity, Mandidextrous is definitely a lady of rave to watch out for. Mandidextrous uses Pioneer CDJ-2000s with a DJM-900 mixer.
Famous for ditching the headphones, Juicy M took the internet by storm and catapulted herself into the world of EDM, electro and progressive house. She’s consistently ranked in the top 100 DJs by the DJ list poll and was named Best Female DJ of the Year at the 2010 Pro DJ Awards in Ukraine.
She began her DJ career in 2007, moving away from her career as a journalist and news reporter for a music television channel. She quickly became one of Ukraine’s top DJs, playing in clubs such as Papita and Matrix. Juicy M famously uses 4 CDJ-2000s and no headphones.
One of techno’s biggest names, Nina Kraviz started her career in 2005, after being accepted to the Red Bull Music Academy in Seattle. Unfortunately, she could not attend due to visa issues, and so went the following year in Melbourne, Australia. Three years later, she had a residency at one of Moscow’s top nightclubs – Propaganda Club.
Kraviz has released a huge number of singles that broke into charts across the world, but before she was a DJ and a producer, Nina Kraviz worked numerous jobs including “fixing cosmonauts’ teeth”. Nina Kraviz uses the Roland Boutique TR-09 at home.
Maya Jane Coles
British-Japanese DJ and producer Maya Jane Coles quickly skyrocketed to international stardom and put house music back into the UK mainstream. Within the space of 2 years, MJC was on the cover of 14 magazines in 8 different countries, including Mixmag (UK), Village Voice (USA), Trax (France) and Groove (Germany).
She’s known for doing everything on her singles: writing, producing, engineering, arranging, mixing and even designing the sleeve covers for all of her releases. MJC takes her influence from a wide variety of genres. She was producing hip-hop at the age of 15, dub at 16, and didn’t start mixing house until 2007. There’s no point in listing the clubs, parties and festivals she’s played, as the list just goes on and on, but trust us, Maya Jane Coles is one of the top DJs around.
MJC uses Sennheiser HD 25-1 II Headphones.
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Annie Mac. One of Ireland’s most famous DJs and now a household name, Annie Mac has been producing radio shows and mixing for BBC Radio 1 as far back as 2004.
She’s been hosting a daily show between 7 and 9pm on one of the UK’s biggest radio stations for over 15 years, and occasionally presents music orientated television shows.
Annie Mac has released multiple compilation albums and played at some of the biggest festivals across the world. Annie Mac uses AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular headphones whilst performing.