Women and non-binary DJs have made slow but steady progress at electronic music festivals in the last decade. The latest data reveals an increase in the proportion from 9.2% in 2012 to 26.9% in 2020-2021 in the case of women and from 0.4% to 1.3% from 2017 to 2021, according to concludes the last poll Made by female:pressure, an international network of female, transgender and non-binary artists in the industry. However, this percentage represents just over a quarter of all contracted artists, which suggests that there continues to be a significant imbalance in terms of the representation of women and non-binary people in a historically male industry.
Anna Tur (Ibiza, 1983) is the Ibizan DJ with the most international projection of the moment. He studied Advertising, Communication and Public Relations at the Universitat ESERP Barcelona and a master’s degree in International Marketing Management, in 2009. After having played in smaller venues, that same year he made the professional leap at the age of 26 in the Space nightclub, now Hï . At that time, she explains to elDiario.es, there were few female DJs.
“So I liked, of course, Nina Kraviz, but also Miss Kittin, Sara Main and Tania Vulcano. Right now there are so many, but at the time they were counted on the fingers of one hand,” she recalls. However, her great references were men. Among them, Richie Hawtin, who plays at the famous Cocoon party at Amnesia; Carl Cox, with whom she recently played at the Creamfields South festival in the UK, and Laurent Garnier, who represents, for her, “the sophistication of sound”.
Ever since she was a child, Anna Tur has been immersed in the world of communication, radio and electronic music. Her father, Joan Tur, was a renowned journalist from the island who, after his time with Cadena 100, founded Radio Èxit and, later, co-founded Ibiza Global Radio, the most important electronic music station in the world. Maribel Torres, renowned journalist and mother of Anna Tur, recently told her the anecdote that during her pregnancy she spent the day with her husband going from one place to another listening to electronic music. “My mother’s water broke while she was doing a rock program on Cadena 100 and COPE,” she says.
In his most important professional stage, he was at the helm of Ibiza Global Radio for 13 years, a stage that ends in May 2020, in the midst of the first wave of the pandemic. A moment in which he, he affirms, needed to heal from the emotional “blow” that caused him to leave the station. Despite the professional change that it meant for her, she affirms that she felt relieved because when the first 15 days of confinement were decreed, she felt that she could rest. “It came from a time when I was forcing the machine more than necessary, in terms of work, not resting, not seeing my family or my friends,” she explains.
From Monday to Friday he had an executive job on the radio and on weekends he played. Later, when the confinement lengthened, she began to freak out, but decided to spend that time resting. “I started practicing meditation to find that peace and tranquility that I needed.”
A few long months later, he began to throw himself fully into his new project, Balearica Music, a radio project that aims to be an evolution of the traditional radio model, without denying it, but more focused on radio on demand and new models of subscription. “Radio can be transformed into an opportunity to reach different audiences, younger people. That aspect of podcast radio is very dynamic. We work with different topics related to music, sports, technology and health”, he assures.
“I have never felt that anyone disrespected me for being a woman”
Throughout his career, however, he claims to have never suffered from machismo, neither from the industry nor from his colleagues. “Men have treated me wonderfully, they have taken great care of me, perhaps because of my youth too, because I started very young. I have never, ever felt that anyone disrespected me, or tried to, because I am a woman,” she clarifies.
Beatriz Martínez (Jaén, 1984), B Jones by her stage name, is about to become the first Spanish DJ (male or female) to play on the main stage of Tomorrowland, the most important electronic music festival in the world. She started DJing for the first time, about 10 years ago, in the old BAT room in Madrid. But before she was a DJ, she did everything. She began working as a waitress for 15 years at the Rocamar restaurant, in Figueretes (Ibiza), to financially help her mother, who was single and in charge of three children. Later, she worked in a hotel in s’Argamassa (Santa Eulària).
Originally from Andújar (Jaén), at the age of 19 she married her lifelong boyfriend, with whom she had a daughter, Kiara. But the relationship did not go well, they separated, and at 21 she was left alone with her daughter. That is when she goes to Madrid, where she started working in a nursery. She later, she as public relations and promoter of nightlife in different nightclubs and discos. It wasn’t until she was 27 that she really began to prepare to be deejay. “Everything went very fast. Before she was a year old she was already a resident at Pachá Ibiza and was already traveling all over the world”, she explains.
Nervo, “references”, in the industry
Among his references he cites DJ Tiësto, among the men, and Nervo, who are two women. “I like how they have managed their career and how they have managed to stand out in that way, in a male profession,” he argues. B Jones believes that in the DJ world there are more men than women, perhaps because of the society in which he has grown up. “Because of the way they educate us and make us think. When I was 19 years old, I didn’t think about it. Not even with 12. Because of how they educate me at home, at school… I see more men”.
However, he believes that it is a problem that is more in society than in the industry. “I have never felt rejected for being a woman. I have had bad experiences all my life, like every woman I know: in a restaurant, in a bar… But in the profession they have treated me with more respect than in other jobs I have had, ”she says.
B Jones believes that things are changing and that, nowadays, all the big cartels have to incorporate women. An opinion that she shares with her partner Anna Tur. And yet, B Jones acknowledges that sometimes “you have to prove twice as much for being a woman. Not anymore, but especially when it started. They asked me if I knew how to play, the typical deejay He wanted to show me how it all worked.”
I have never felt rejected for being a woman, but they asked me if I knew how to DJ, the typical deejay would come and want to teach me how everything worked
Who is not starting in the industry either, but is younger than her two companions, is Blanca Rossich (Girona, 1991), artistically known as Blanca Ross. When she finished her Baccalaureate studies she did not know what to do, but she knew that she really liked music, so she decided to study Audiovisual and Multimedia Production at the Escola Universitària ERAM, attached to the University of Girona.
In the last years of his career, he began to work, first, on television and, later, on the radio. She “she was a co-presenter in a section on current music, video clips and different sections related to music. That same company got radio frequencies. After five years I began to present the formula live”, explains Blanca Ross. During her career, she also worked as a waitress in nightlife venues, where she got to know the figure of the DJ up close.
It was at that time when a colleague suggested taking private lessons. “I tried it out and saw that it really was the thing to do,” he says. After spending an Erasmus course in England, he returned to Catalonia to do a DJ course, in 2013, where he met a videojockey (profession that unites visuals with music). And that was how he began to develop his professional career. Today, in addition to DJing, he gives a master class at the Plastic Academy, as well as Artistic Identity Creation and Design classes at the Badalona School of Music and a workshop at the ERAM University School.
The pandemic, for her, has also been a turning point. “I find myself, artistically speaking, at a different point, where I want to create different things,” she explains. Her musical style, between the psy-trance and the techno, is evolving towards new models. “My goal is to reach a hybrid between my music, ancestral music, vinyl music… Even poetry. Drink from this fusion of psy-trance Y techno but it is something different, it takes into account the visuals and has a more experimental point. The new normal for me is being a time of change,” she states. Although not without difficulties. Despite having visibility, projection and projects, Blanca Ross has not been able to monetize her work in the last two years, and the fact is that the electronic music sector has had a very bad time during the two years of the pandemic.
Blanca Ross barely found “references” when she started
When it started almost 10 years ago, she explains, there were very few women. “In the classes I teach, three out of every ten students are women, when before there were practically none. More and more women are entering the industry. I had Nina Kraviz as a reference, for example. She sang her own productions of hers and she wowed and impressed me so much. Anna Tur, too, has been in the industry for many years. But they are very few, ”she laments.
During her career, Blanca Ross reports having suffered several sexist episodes. “In the beginning, when I started DJing, people found it strange that there was a woman in the booth. There was a lot of prejudice, unfortunately, ”she assures. Among the most unpleasant aspects, she was valued not for her work, but for her physical appearance. “That is quite common. Today it still costs: it is a thought and a culture that comes from many years ago. There is still a lot of work to be done,” she insists.
But remember: the people who go to festivals and nightclubs are there to listen to music, not to look at the physical appearance of the artists and, for that, you have to have talent, experience and know how to connect with the public. For this reason, he believes that equality must be promoted much more within the industry. To finish, he sends an optimistic message because he perceives a change in mentality among the youngest. “It’s a question of another generation.”