Women in electronic music get their due


The music industry, like most other industries, is traditionally male dominated. The rock arena has been a big battleground for women since the ’70s. While we have films like The Runaways telling the story of a pioneering all-girl rock band, there’s a genre that has less attention, but a just as huge a following: Electronic music.

Women and girls have struggled in this electronic music, just like in rock, hip-hop or other genres. But we are busting down these doors and getting our hands on mixers, computers and turntables whether the boys are ready or not, and lesbians are a huge part of this movement, as documented in the new book Pink Noises.

Tara Rodgers, AKA Analog Tara, created PinkNoises.com in 2000 to counteract the lack of coverage of women in electronic music magazines and history books. It was also to make technical information on music production more accessible to women and girls. A decade later this project has turned into a book now on sale through Duke University Press.

The Pink Noises anthology consists of 24 interviews with women of various generations and cultural backgrounds who are DJs, electronic music producers, and sound installation artists. Rodgets, a writer, composer, and musician with and MFA in electronic music from Mills College, uses her perspective to lend the transcribed discussions intimacy and thoroughness, addressing issues of gender, sexism, and economics alongside details of artistic processes and technologies.

One of the most exciting contributors is the seminal electro-rock hybrid Le Tigre. Out lesbian member JD Samson calls the book a “dream read,” citing its integration of theoretical/political topics with the nuts and bolts of art practice.

We first “met” Tara Rodgers years ago when we posted a technical question in the pinknoises forums. I don’t remember what the question was (probably something about MIDI or a broken sampler), but I do remember the excitement we felt at getting useful responses from other women electronic musicians about a technical issue. Shortly after that we put out a call on the site for women producers for our Remix EP which resulted in Analog Tara’s Tres Bien [Nouveau Disco Mix]. This is one of my very favorite remixes of our music ever!

It is conversations like these that you will find in the interviews with the likes of Maria Chavez, Beth Coleman (M. Singe), Antye Greie (AGF), DJ Mutamassik, DJ Rekha and many more.

Are you into the art of sound mixing and electronic music?