DJs are the new rockstars, according to DJs. With EDM and Dubstep influences infiltrating virtually all popular music genres (indie/hip-hop/pop) and molly in abundant supply, there’s nothing my generation enjoys more than kicking back at a good old fashioned rave—or the closest available substitute. We spend most of our time on the computer, so we’ve enthusiastically embraced computer-generated music as an alternative to learning an instrument, which takes, like, forever.
Like all musicians, DJs can good, bad, epic, tragic, and anywhere in between. Lesbian audiences may embrace any hot dyke on a podium (I know I do), but industry experts are often skeptical of DJs who simply press play and posture. “Doesn’t every lesbian with a snapback and a glow stick think iTunes autoplay qualifies as a DJ set?” Gidget, a Hollywood music consultant, asks me with the exasperation of a young Andy Rooney. “But I look fabulous in a snapback,” I protest weakly.
Gidget pauses for a moment to contemplate my insightful rebuttal, then continues: “At certain girl parties, I walk in and almost immediately notice the same songs in the same order as the last party. That’s not being a DJ. If making a playlist gives you rock star status, I should be getting laid more. ”
It’s a fair point. I can’t swing a gin and tonic in West Hollywood without smacking a self-proclaimed DJ, but that’s a trend from culture, not sexual orientation. What started as a mere listicle quickly turned into an Lewis Carroll-worthy trip down the DJ rabbit hole, so, in no particular order, here are the coolest queer female DJs who possess talent, buzz, skill, and skill. You know, the legit ones.
Home: Los Angeles
After a few hours spent drifting listlessly through the overwhelming and rather intimidating world of DJs, I sought the aid of an expert and listicle honoree: DJ Anon (aka Anna Sitko). Along with Kim Ann, DJ Anon runs BOOBYTRAP, my favorite L.A. girls’ night that eschews garish excess for sophisticated style. While the BoobyTrap location changes, DJ Anon and Kim Ann’s performance stays on point.
“I prefer going on a journey that has ebbs and flows throughout the set,” DJ Anon says. “Sometimes you’re down really slow and sometimes you’re up really high. It’s kind of magical to me, those sets where it feels like riding a wave.”
BoobyTrap has been a cool girl institution for five years, but Anna’s been perfecting her craft for far longer: She began DJing in San Francisco during what sounds like a digital music belle epoque, and cites Junö as her strongest influence. As a gay artist, she’s unconcerned about being pigeonholed: “If people want to label you something, that’s their prerogative. If people need that for some reason, then go for it.”
Home: New York City
An indisputable triumph in the NYC DJ community, DJ Mary Mac has been spinning celebrity parties with cheeky aplomb for two decades and shows no signs of losing steam. In her formative years, DJ Mary Mac was inspired by Grandmaster Flash, DJ Camilo, and DJ Yoni to create and perform exuberant, addictive sets. Rad fact about DJ Mary Mac: she toured with Def Jam and performed with legends like Run-DMC. While DJing for a trailblazing female gangsta rapper, Mary Mac was embraced by NWA, Easy-E, and Snoop Dogg as one of their own. The experience clearly helped mold Mary Mac into an irrepressible force. In the last month alone, the woman performed several times in both Las Vegas and New York City venues. Even Madonna is a Mary Mac fan: she DJ’d Madonna’s Official 2013 Oscar Party. Coming up, DJ Mary Mac will join Whitney Day for a very sapphic Thanksgiving Eve performance. If you’re in the NYC area, you should definitely consider sneaking out of your parents’ house to attend. You’re an adult, right? Give yourself something, or someone, to be very, very thankful for.
Home: New York City
JD Samson is the stage name of Jocelyn Samson, a DJ/Producer/Singer/Performance Artist/all around interesting perso. JD Samson is most famous for being a member of Le Tigre and MEN, two critically acclaimed underground acts that your cooler friend is super into. MEN’s debut EP sold out in American stories after MEN joined Peaches and Gossip on what must have been coolest tour ever. JD also has a regular night at the Rusty Knot in NYC associated with the ladies from CREEP. Since scoring a publishing deal through Universal Music, JD Samson has written songs for Christina Aguilera, Cobra Starship, and Junior Senior and collaborated with Cass Bird on “JD’s Lesbian Calendar” and later “JD’s Lesbian Utopia.” Be still my beating heart, and take me away to Utopia. Just last month MEN dropped Labor, a story-telling driven second album that reflects JD Samson’s personal life as well as her political beliefs.