the best dj of the year: “The rankings of best djs are for men and, sometimes, no women appear”
More than one hundred years ago in the center of Europe, the first celebration of the day of working women took place. Today, in Madrid, that day is celebrated again with a demonstration that will start in Cibeles to end in the Plaza de España.
A movement that could well be a representation of the crack as surmountable as deep that our society suffers. A movement that we hope will not stop. If, in addition, it is accompanied by music, beauty begins to become insatiable.
We speak with the person in charge of the latter, Cora Novoa, the best mobile dj melbourne of the year of the AVN awards.
How do you feel to be the banner of women’s empowerment on a night like this, World Women’s Day?
My goal is not to be a banner, but I understand that it is necessary to have references, people who inspire us and make us remember that things are possible. Before we started to have a solid infrastructure within the national electronic scene, I was looking for my references outside our borders. Those referents were women and men who were doing things with a language similar to me.
Seeing how someone composes an album, manages a record label, plays at festivals, presents a radio program is something inspiring and necessary, for me it was the gasoline I needed to know that things can be done.
Why do you think that women are a minority in relation to men in relation to electronics?
In general, women usually occupy positions of marketing, press or production, leaving for men the positions of power: direction, management, etc. This situation, if we take it to a niche market such as electronic music, is accentuated a little more.
I think the key is to have references, women that are real and normalize what many years ago should be normal.
I am proud to belong and be part of two projects that are struggling precisely to create a community of women within the music industry, where there is room for mentoring, where there is a portfolio of work and where you can learn some of the others
One is SHESAIDSO based in Los Angeles and with a network of women around the world, and the other is MIM, which is based in Spain and focused on the national music industry.
New York djs Christie Tran, Emma Olson and Frankie Hutchinson have complained about the difference in pay and the different treatment they were given to men. Does the same thing happen to you in Spain?
There is still machismo in our society, so electronic music does not get rid of it. The rankings of best djs are for men, and sometimes no women appear, and not because there are not women with the same talent, relevance, musical taste or with a large audience of people who continue their work, but because machismo is papable and is present These are things that are changing little by little, but there is still a lot to do.
Did the Seeking The Velvet Foundation have something to do with this?
Seeking The Velvet is my most ambitious project. It is a record label whose main premise is to expand the artistic vision of musical releases one step further, through clothing collections, collaborations with artists, video art pieces, special packaging, …
Our next release is a remix that I have made to the legendary Munich Chicks On Speed band and that is complemented by a limited edition of t-shirts created by the haute couture brand 44STORE & 44STUDIOand also by a piece of video art made by Encarni Lovexx .
The beauty of this release (called ‘We Are Data’) is that we have worked around the concept of digital information and big data, taking it to music, art and design. In fact in the original song included in the album Arstravaganza have collaborated artists of the stature of Yoko Ono or Julian Assange . So we’re looking forward to launching it to the public to see the reactions.
What role does music play in relation to feminism?
For the moment, I have never worked with feminism when composing music. But I consider that the songs are a perfect instrument to be able to express our ideas and feelings.
I’m afraid that this becomes something superficial, that the appearance of the woman in the scene becomes something trendy , in a fashion, in a product and nothing else … You?
I am not afraid. Everything depends on the approach that one has, of course that for me is not something trendy, but something I must do.
Both the Sonar programmer and Nerone believe that scheduling scenarios for women only, or festivals for female artists, would only encourage debate and the gap. I would like to know what you think of this.
The real gap, the real one, is that festivals and clubs still have a “quota” of female artists, that is reality. People think that it is either all or nothing, it is absurd.
Of the few companies that I know (if not the only one) that faces this type of affairs normally is Ableton Live. I’ve been working with them for years and I was lucky enough to be able to give a talk at their last LOOP event in Berlin.
They are a conference on electronic music with round tables, presentations or performances. One of the most beautiful things is that there were as many women as there were men participating as speakers.
That is normal, that is what should be standard, that there are a similar number of women and men in a poster, and not for the simple fact of being women, but because they have projects equally valuable that those of many people, with Interesting things to share, with followers all over the world. That’s what you have that should be the norm.
The solution is not to create scenarios for female bands, or to schedule a night for only girls, the solution is for all of us to begin examining conscience and assessing things for their sound quality, and not for their gender.
I think that electronics in relation to feminism plays an advantage since its language-pure sounds-escapes the clutches of patriarchy …
Unfortunately it is not. We are still a very small niche market, which grows exponentially, but we are still a minority. As I was saying, the electronic scene is a reflection of what happens in our society but on a small scale.
I do not know, sometimes I like to think of the texture of electronic tracks as something dehumanized. In fact, in cases like yours I’m surprised doing it, since I feel somehow that dehumanization – I understand as human a notion that is drowned in machista nuances – as the place from which to re-raise issues, in this case, gender .
Working with machines always helps to dehumanize and strip people. There are projects like the techno artist Rrose , who plays with his identity and genre. I find it superinteresting to work in that line.
On the other hand, I think that in electronic music itself there is no interpretive discourse, at least at first sight. Bearing in mind that “every nerve of the dancer listens”, I do understand that it can evoke celebration, hope, feelings of communion – this is where feminism would come into play – even of mysticism, etc. What do you think about this?
I think it is equally interpretive as another song. Everything depends on what you want to say and how; After all, the canvas is empty and you fill it with whatever you want.
What do you think could be the ways to consolidate the presence of women today and make it greater?
That there are female referents and have projects such as Shesaidso or MIM.
What DJ’s do we have to listen to in order to be clear about all this we are talking about?
Women or men with clear, coherent ideas, with a lot of personality and with a taste and love for infinite music . Without a doubt, artists such as Austra, Paula Temple, Jimmy Edgar, Veronica Vasicka, Erol Alkan or Jori Hulkonnen.