DISCWOMAN 12 x TRNSGNDR/VHS

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Baltimore based producer TRNSGNDR/VHS aka Alexandra Brandon, who typically plays live, has been confronting the underground scene with her thought-provoking noise sets this past year. We ran into her in Boston and were very very excited she wanted to do a mix for us as this is an area she’s explored relatively less. This mix is beautiful, therapeutic and gave us goosebumps: get ready to cry, heal and absorb this session. Listen and read Q&A below:

tell us about this mix
I feel it reflects a lot of what I’m influenced by right now. I wanted to give people a mix that was more therapeutic and brief.

when did you start djing?
In public…near the beginning of 2016. Very recent but that feels like forever ago.

First gig:
I’ve been playing instruments since I was 11. I played saxophone while I was in middle and high school but my first time doing electronic music was when I was 18. I was making witch hop type stuff at the time with a friend. I started doing TRNSGNDR/VHS in late 2014. I look back at everything with a very cringing sense.

Favorite party ever played:
My most memorable experiences are performing for people who haven’t seen you before. I went on tour this summer and my favorite stops were Chicago, Montreal, and Atlanta; in a way it’s more about making friends, connections, and acquaintances than just displaying yourself. I currently live in Baltimore and my favorite events here this year were opening for Hatis Noit (this amazing avant-garde performer from Japan), and getting commissioned to perform at the Walter’s Art Museum. Another highlight is that I played in New York City at Ende Tymes Festival, that was special.

Fave DJ:
I try not to make any favorites, I think most of the DJs I admire are club music and EDM DJs. The nature of it requires a lot of dynamics and stability. There’s a sizeable scene of people in Philadelphia and New York City doing that who are amazing. Some of them blur the line between DJ’ing and sound art, especially the ATM and KUNQ associated stuff.

Fave producer:
Changes every month. Lately I’ve been getting into Elysia Crampton’s music.

Pet peeve when DJing:
A lot of things. I’ve gotten entire genre requests. Being able to watch an entire room of people interact after dark can enter weird territory. DJing makes me study the audience in a way that I don’t get when I actually perform music.

What’s best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
Anyone who takes it a step further than “I like your stuff”. I like getting advice, constructive criticism, or when people go into detail about how what I do impacts them. It’s nice to know people have thought enough about your art enough that they can respond to it constructively.

Place you’d like to play:
Anywhere outside of the United States.

Something you want everyone to know about you:
I suck at getting back to people on social media, but a lot of people have DM’d or commented a lot of nice things and I’m thankful for that <3

Hatis Noit – “Illogical Lullaby” (Matmos Edit)
Oneohtrix Point Never – “Sdfk”
Embaci – “Flight and Destruction”
CMOV – “Twins of Eternity”
Moro – “Libres”
Swan Meat & ssaliva – “Nightmare Fuel”
Laurel Halo – “Oneiroi”
Balasa – “Teri Duniya” (Drum Mix)
Puce Mary – “No Memory”
Holly Herndon – “An Exit”
Yatta – “Summertime”
James Ferraro – ‘Vanity”

DISCWOMAN 11 x CL

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CL aka Cindy Li aka force of nature is a DJ promoter living in Toronto who’s been a close friend of Discwoman’s for over a year now. She brought us up to Toronto to play her Work in Progress party when we were still considered a “risky” booking (lol still are) and it remains one of our fave parties to date. She has become an invaluable voice in the techno community championing feminist politics to ensure women are represented and booked correctly in the scene. Today she plays our two year anniversary party, and released an enigmatic mix with us to celebrate. We couldn’t be more honored. Below take a listen and read her Q&A:

tell us about this mix:
I recorded it in one take in my bedroom. It’s basically a reflection of the types of dance music I love to play the most on the dancefloor. As a DJ, I hate being restricted to a particular style in a dj set, and I play a lot of opening to close sets so it’s important to me that sets are dynamic and have movements and grow in momentum. I’m really into breaks-tinged house, acid of course (!), and trippy electro, so there’s quite a bit of that in my mix.

When did you start djing?
I bought my first mixer and a pair of super crappy Numark CDJ racks (no platters lol) during my third year in university when I first started getting into electronic music. I’d always had an insatiable appetite for weirder music of different styles so at that point I had already been a radio DJ for two years at my campus radio station (where I also had a show where I only played music made by women). Around that time, it was my foray into Kompakt and BPitch Control and a lotta minimal techno like Marc Houle and Magda (She’s a Dancing Machine is still one of my favourite mixes of all time), and I threw my first techno parties back then. I even won a campus DJ contest! But it was very much a hobby that I quickly abandoned after university when I moved to Asia. It wasn’t until 6 years later when I started DJing again, which I very much think of as a rebirth of some sort, and since getting my first residency at a techno club in spring of 2015 and starting Work In Progress around the same time, things have sort of taken off really quickly.

First gig:
It’s been so long that i have a really hard time remembering but some of my earliest gigs were in campus nightclubs where i’d have to play more top 40, which was annoying, but it was also really fun to mix stuff like Justin Timberlake with Cut Copy and Miss Kittin & the Hacker.

Favorite party ever played:
Wow this is so hard to answer with just one…so I will give you a top 3 in no particular order:
1. With Volvox for Strange Allure in Buffalo this past February, it was my first U.S. show and the energy and the space were both so incredible. I still think about it all the time.
2. The first time I was booked by someone in Montreal who wasn’t a friend of mine, I played with Jayda G and R. Wong in a DIY afterhours space, definitely stands out as one of my favourite memories.
3. And this past Sunday, when I opened for DJ Sprinkles, it was hands down the best party we’ve ever thrown and that was one of the only sets I’ve played at my own parties that I felt really good about.

Fave DJ:
Lena Wilikens

Fave producer:
Impossible to pick just one…but I guess either Dan Curtin or Susumu Yokota or JTC / Tadd Mullinix

Pet peeve when DJing:
When you B2B with another DJ and they touch your EQs during your mix or they mix out of your track after it’s only been playing for like 2 minutes.

What’s best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
When women tell me that seeing me play and throw parties and do my radio show has given them the inspiration to pick up the craft themselves.

Place you’d like to play:
De School, Sustain Release & Golden Pudel

Something you want everyone to know about you:
My favourite ice cream flavour is black sesame.

Tracklist
1. pilgrims of the wind – loosejaw
2. cc not – wearing
3. dj xanax – ???
4. globex – untitled
5. regelbau – untitled b1
6. andras – gold coast (surfer’s paradise mix)
7. r.wong – terranium
8. metropolis – angstpolitiek
9. kat chanel – and then I met you
10. hell & jonzon – lifeform
11. peel md – muc
12. deputy dawg – gunslinger
13. credit 00 – snake charmer
14. dj nori – 80s drugs
15. damon wild – avion
16. major problems – overdose (the final trip)

Track Exclusive: Ziúr’s Remix of Tomás Urquieta’s “Distopia”

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“Pop music all happy happy feel can basically suck it,” Ziúr recently said in an interview with Indie-mag.com. That quote could serve as a manifesto for the Berlin-based DJ and producer (real name: Mika Risiko), whose sinister, unsettling take on deconstructed club music acts like a middle finger at sugary, cookie-cutter pop. Earlier this year, Ziúr’s EP ‘Taiga’ on Infinite Machine established her as a rising talent in the experimental club music scene; she’s also gotten shouts from the likes of Peaches, who she recently remixed and went on a European tour with. A strong proponent of gender equality in dance music, Ziúr played the first party in Berlin by feminist collective Sister with Linnea, Mobilegirl, and Dis Fig back in March. Now, she’s cut a blistering remix of “Distopia” by Santiago-based artist Tomás Urquieta, on his new EP due on Infinite Machine on September 30. Check it out below, and read on for our interview with Ziúr about Berlin’s current clubbing climate and her “no compromise” approach to music.

Interview/text: Michelle Lhooq & Nadine Blanco
Photo: Claudia Kent

Before your music took off, what was your life like?
I tried studying some crap, but got caught up in promoting DIY shows, working in clubs, and driving/tour managing bands. I tried getting into the serious music business, but figured out it’s mostly jerks with an image neurosis. I had a vegan restaurant for a while, did some tour booking for friends, then was working more in clubs while figuring out my artistic career—and here we are.

What got you into producing?
I played in a punk band and the scene structure was dragging me down, so I tried finding new ways developing into something not as attached to classical structures. Basically I started using a computer as an approach to step out of my comfort zone.

Your music sounds like it is made with machines what is a must have for you (in terms of instruments, softwares etc)?
the only thing i desperately rely on is having good speakers, a computer with tons of ram and a second screen. i’m definitely a software person but also don’t mind recording a salad bowl for example.

A hard/ ominous tone seems to be the common theme in your music—what inspires you?
I had times when I wanted to write something really pleasing, but luckily I decided to go for an approach of “no compromise.” When it comes to art, nothing is worse than not being able to move people with your output. I am almost equally into playing people out of the room [as much as] blowing people’s minds—both happen frequently, and always reassures me that I’m doing something right. What I hate is when music doesn’t resonate with an audience. There’s nothing pleasing with putting people to sleep.

What is the process of making music like for you?
Emotional.

What are some of the upsides and downsides of being based in Berlin?
The music culture that has been talked about around the world and carries the Berlin smell is probably techno. I’m no rave gal and don’t pretend to be an expert, but even modern Berlin “mainstream” clubs wouldn’t be the same without the city’s history in punk and DIY culture. When the wall fell, the city profited by the confusion created by two governments trying to become one—people squatted spaces, opened clubs, and slowly built infrastructure that is still visible if you look closely, even though it’s now institutionalized.

The downside of all the freedom this city provides is that it is very inviting to be lazy, and people tend to not use their full potential simply because they don’t have to. The city is full of artists, musicians, and DJs, but unfortunately, most of Berlin’s creative output is rather on the medium side of things. Sometimes I think a more competitive environment would make people work harder. Don’t get me wrong—fuck gentrification and all, but half-assing it is never sexy!

What’s Berlin’s current club scene like?
Recently there is more space in Berlin’s club scene for underground club music that is not techno. This is a definite breather. Furthermore, it is really important and makes me happy to see see female collectives like Creamcake pushing female-identified artists without talking about it as an agenda. There’s a lot of work to be done but we’re on it!

What advice would you give to beginners and other female-identifying musicians out there?
Don’t believe the hype. There is no right or wrong in music—as far as it has a beat, a loop, a melody or even noise, it probably counts as music. Don’t be shy to go your own way.
Trust your ears, go with the flow, be inspired but don’t steal, be passionate, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to break the rules.

What artist or collective deserves recognition and attention right now?
Kablam is killing it—we played together quite a bunch recently, and she constantly makes my jaw drop! Kajsa is a total boss.

What are you working on next?
Besides doing tons of remixes, I’m focusing on my new record. I might do some collaborations with visual artists, vocalists, and theatre folks. More is more, you know!

Where do you think your music is headed?
The beauty in music is that it is not linear. Music is headed in all directions at the same time, and I would love to see the same thing for my own music. I think the only important thing is to keep on finding new ways of writing and not to get caught up in old patterns—mix shit up.

DISCWOMAN 10 x Quay Dash

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This mix takes you back to the rave cave you know you belong in, Bronx’s Quay Dash makes you want to live life nocturnally. She also just released her debut rap EP “Transphobic”, which you all have to listen to here. She’s a multifaceted artist, each medium of her music always tells a story, and each story is compelling as the next. This mix of assorted electronic beats, varying from hard techno/house etc, is the story of her life and we’re all the way here for it. Check out her Q&A and mix below:

photo: sonny martinez make up: raisa flowers stylist: michael louis hair: kira stuger editing: ashley smith

tell us about this mix
The mix is a story line of my life – each part of the mix – from beginning to end.

when did you start djing?
I started djing in my early 20s. Getting familiar with the standard way of mixing by using computer applications such as virtual DJ

first gig:
My first gig ever was at Contessa Stuto’s party. I didn’t have much of a crowd but I was really glad to embrace whoever’s dancing on the dance floor with non stop tracks that are in my opinion “poppin” for the event .

favorite party ever played:
There has not been yet a party that I’ve played that I’d call exciting.

fave DJ:
My favorite DJ at the moment would have to be Dj Rush. He’s a black Chicago based DJ that has been around since the early 90s.

fave producer:
I love Neil Landstrumm. His sounds are very next level and definitely will get any party started right.

pet peeve when djing:
I hate really hate when people stand around me while I’m djing or request a song that I don’t bother to ever play or listen to . It’s really disrespectful.

What’s best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
Best compliment I got was from my friends. They really love my style and taste of music. I usually get things like “this is really next level ” or “this is really good “. I accept any compliment.

Place you’d like to play:
I’d love to play in Berlin, I think my sound would definitely work well there due to the large dance music crowd that they have. Also I’ve heard Berlin has the best techno parties.

Something you want everyone to know about you
I just want everyone to know that I’m not only a rapper, I’m an artist.

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DISCWOMAN 09 x Dis Fig

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First found out about this gem by walking into the Purple Tape Pedigree Boiler Room earlier this year, her set was nothing short of captivating. So stoked she brings that same compelling energy to this mix for us, she skillfully layers club, ambient, noise and other genres resulting in a very thrilling listen. Check out her mix and q&a below :)

tell us about this mix:
It’s a chain of emotional, multipolar reactions.

when did you start djing?
2013. I was super bummed I had been disconnected from doing music for over 5 years. I was spending every weekend in NYC being a bass zombie and obsessing over club music at parties, so I thought I’d give it a go.

first gig:
Friends’ 2 floor kegger in Bushwick on a VCI-100. Shout out #234 and Panch.

favorite party ever played:
The most meaningful so far has been the PTP Boiler Room in New York as it was the first time I had played at home since I moved to Berlin two years ago. It was an amazing homecoming and night of love and fam.

Honorable mentions: every Trade party; playing KitKatClub where there’s a red button in the DJ booth that ignites a big fire-breathing dragon above and behind the crowd.

fave DJ
Geng, father of PTP. We have very similar tastes in music and near realms of influences. His mixes are emotional stories that really make you feel, and he’s fearless when it comes to challenging an audience.

fave producer
Ones I’m excited about right now… Ziúr, v1984, Club Cacao

pet peeve when djing
People trying to speak to you or introduce themselves while you’re playing. Can’t concentrate homie.

place you’d like to play:
Sick sound system + warm spa pool like the one at Liquidrom in Berlin (you can listen to music underwater)

something you want everyone to know about you:
I did my best.

DISCWOMAN 08 x UMFANG

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Co-founder of DISCWOMAN, UMFANG gives us all the techno we need on this mix. Check out her Q&A and mix below

tell us about this mix
I had recently bought some new records and was feeling really inspired by UR electro and experimental noise music. I wanted to make a mix for my collaborators in Discwoman and not have it affiliated or released by a man ha.

when did you start djing?
2009

first gig?
Botnet in Kansas City

favorite party ever played?
Hot Mass in Pittsburgh was one of the most amazing opportunities for exploration- a huge honor and challenge to play open to close.

fave DJ
ah so hard but probably Dj Stingray. No one else makes me dance like that.

fave producer
Robert Hood, Jeff Mills, Steve Bicknell, Joey Beltram, Timbaland, Allergy Season affiliates, 1221 affiliates.

pet peeve when djing
Don’t come in to the booth, don’t touch anything in the booth while I am djing.

what’s best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
My booking on Sept 11 2016

place you’d like to play?
A cave with a pool

We Tie Dyed Discwoman & TechnoFeminism Shirts Just For You

Because we love coming up with ideas that are time consuming, we decided to tie dye some shirts for y’all. Not only our usual Discwoman logo but also a Technofeminism shirt to pay homage to UMFANG’s and Beta Librae’s night at Bossa Nova Civic Club.

In order to guilt you in to spending 40$ on one of these LIMITED EDITION shirts, we took pix to prove the labor we spent doing it. There are only 24 shirts for sale and each one is different.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE BABES

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DISCWOMAN 05 x ABBY

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I met Abby at Tandem Bar (RIP) initially bonding over biscuits and gravy, nguzunguzu and Total Freedom. Abby’s mix for Discwoman is lit. Upon first listen made me rip my clothes off and run around my apartment. Can’t wait to reunite in Detroit for an epic DW showcase.

 

when did you start djing?
5 years ago i started to dabble in Detroit.   Didn’t start doing it seriously until 2013 maybe (s/o to DW boss Christine for my first NYC gig!!!)  I also made my first ‘mix’ when i was 8 and still have the CD 😉

first gig?
An art opening for my friend in Detroit .. Dj’d as ‘DJ Abby Wabby’ ha ha.  That night was crazy… If you’re my friend and i trust you i’ll show you the horrible promo video

favorite party ever played?
I dj’d a Dagger party at spectrum (RIP) and it was the most insane 4 hour Dj sprint of my life .  My set was from 430-830 am & there were people there going crazy til the very end.  Once the sunrise started to come through the skylight i played way more chill stuff that i love like cocteau twins & this mortal coil .. very rare that you will see me dj ‘calm’ music.  it was a very magical (and exhausting) night

fave DJ
i have two favorite DJ’s for two very different sides of me .. if i wanna relax or study or whatever, I always listen to any mix made by Ramzi.  If i wanna rage and embrace crazy Abby I go straight to Jikuroux from Sydney’s page.  Have yet to see Jikuroux live but i pray that changes!

fave producer
i got to spend two weeks playing shows w/ Air Max ’97 and he has the most insane & impressive secret stash of tunes and bootlegs i’ve ever seen.  He also shared so much helpful abelton & production knowledge with me that he taught to himself so I have eternal respect for him as my producer sensei

pet peeve when djing
Last time I played in NYC they had the entire sound system plugged into one janky ass loose power strip and I kicked it within 5 min of my set and shut every thing down . Really killed my mood !! Keep loose cords away from me please I am very clumsy

what’s best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
i dont know!!!  i’ve encountered so many nice amazing people that have made me feel wonderful…. but the funniest compliment for music i’ve ever heard was this youtube comment I jus read on some detroit rap song that says: ‘every body I fuck tired of this song……’ my new goal is to produce something that makes somebody want to say this to me

place you’d like to play?
In the middle of Times Square on a giant revolving DJ platform with all of the mega screens in my control

something you want everyone to know about you
My mom saw nine inch nails live while she was pregnant with me I think it explains a lot

 

[LISTEN] DISCWOMAN 04 x Yaeji

 

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Yaeji came to our attention through her fire set at The Lot Radio recently, then discovered that she is part of the Godmode crew (our office neighbors), then we asked her to do a mix and this shit is healing, spiritual and includes a Sisqo sample so we’re in love. She plays UMFANG and Beta Librae’s Technofemnism party on Thursday. Check out her and Q+A:

 

When did you start DJing?
I started about 3 years ago at the WRCT radio station.

where was your first gig?
It was at a venue called Shadow Lounge in Pittsburgh that sadly no longer exists :'( I was spinning off of Traktor on my laptop and had a wrinkled piece of paper filled with notes for transitions.

favorite party ever played?
One at a small record store in New York called Village Music World. At one point I dropped Jessy Lanza’s Kathy Lee and everyone started singing along!

favorite woman dj
SOSUPERSAM is someone that really inspired me when I started djing. She’ll always take up a special place in my heart.

best record you’ve ever bought 
So tough!! Since I only get to share one, I’d have to say Mall Grab’s Alone EP on Shall Not Fade. There’s not a single Mall Grab jam that I haven’t enjoyed.

how would you define the term discwoman?
Discwoman is a term that’s shaking the music scene’s comfort zone.

pet peeve when djing
An inevitable one is when i’m too short for a booth and require something to stand on.
A totally not inevitable one is when people have song requests.

do you dance when you dj?
Yes!! I can’t help but move when I hear any danceable sound in any given context. I’m also learning more and more to enjoy myself while on stage just as much as I want my listeners to.

can you dj when wasted?
Yes and no. I definitely feel like i’m having my best set when I dj drunk, but listening to the recorded mix afterwards always suggests otherwise.

what’s the best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
Someone told me that I remind them of when they first listened to Björk in high school! It was hard to believe!

place you’d like to play?
At Cakeshop back in my hometown, Seoul :)

something you want everyone to know about you
Music is the most inclusive language of all—I’ve realized this over and over. I really hope music continues to be the way i find others and others find me.