While the DJ world is something of a boys club, the amazing and talented G*LEE would like to even out the score, one set at a time. She founded Liaison Femme, a forward-thinking collective/movement comprised solely of female DJs to empower, promote, break the fucking invisible booth barrier when it comes to professional DJing. She’ll be at Le Bain Wednesday night with a roster of her Liaison women (G*LEE, K!O, Creep, Jubilee and more). Bullett Magazine is hosting this very special Mercury Night. But before you all head upstairs, we got her to answer a Standard Q&A.
Standard Culture: How and when did Liaison Femme come together? What’s the vision behind it?
G*LEE: In 2009 – one day I was attending this event that was hosted by all my male DJ friends. I saw how much pride they had being a DJ and not having the weight of stereotype as a female DJ would. That started to strike my aggravation in why many female DJs have a guard up when it comes to exploring their professionalism. That same week, I remember when DJ Mehdi and I first met when I was 16yrs old and he actually helped me come up with the name. A lot of mentors and OGs of the DJ community pushed me to do this. They believed in my vision, they had faith in me. I knew I was already a great paragon as a founder because I represented many aspects from being an ethnic minority, stilled in youth, and alerting creativity at all times. Then – the moment came for the debut of Liaison Femme in 2011. There I gathered my co-founders Samantha Duenas (DJ SoSuperSam) and Kristen Oshiro (K!O) to really take note on what was realistic vs. possible. We wanted to wait two years for this because we wanted to “properly” find the time and space, rather than rushing it with impatient virtue.
Liaison Femme is a forward-thinking collective/movement comprised only of female DJs. The movement is to empower and make awareness of leading creative female DJs in the industry. The vision for Liaison Femme is to raise the bar for all female DJs in our culture and create a promising platform to present the artist’s aesthetic in its entirety. Liaison Femme will strive to build an invaluable community and become a paradigm for the youthful generation to the veterans. A collective that will cater to all needs and wants of a ‘true’ female DJ breaking the shells of stereotypes and injustice in our realm. As a very rare composition of a female DJ collective, we believe we are going to be a golden landmark in our culture.
Why do you think the DJ world is such a boys club?
I don’t per se it was ever about the fact that the “boys” don’t think girls can be in it. I really see the pattern of this problem because of the history of DJ culture. DJ paragon and whole outliers were mostly led by men and movements for example like Boogie Down or Native Tongue where female DJs we’re not as surpassing in “skill” to do such forms.
Many female DJs also tend to feel this invisible pressure by the male DJs as if “girls are not good enough” to play along side them or be relevant to their work because the men do put on this masculine front. But nowadays as our culture is ever changing by second and minute, our generation is narrowing down that pressure and welcoming all artists in one universal perspective - that if you are a DJ, you are a DJ.
There are “those” DJs who are female though who do honestly lack technicality and sense about this industry and tend to use marketing strategies like example - socialites, models, and calling yourself a “celeb” DJ to me is the whole fear of protecting yourself because you know that you do have more progress to professionally earn your spot.
We love the men - we love our community. Everyone in the DJ global to me is all interconnected through simply the fact that we are music souls.
You started as a DJ at the age of 15. What are your favorite things about DJing? Least favorite?
The constant joy of seeing the effect of music control people’s lives. I feel like a scientist sometimes because as a DJ you really need to know your chemicals and elements to create a new entity or mix – the experimental part is what thrills me. I remember one of my first idea for my set was mixing Coldplay’s Fix You with a four-loop intro beat from Lauryn Hill. I constantly, till this day, always have an open heart to learn. I was mentored by so many different DJs that I began to exchange my ears to different genres. Nujabes was all about “metaphor” and how music can allow synchronized instruments from strings to flute, and then you got DJ Fatfingaz who was so immersed in battle-turntablism technique. DJ M.O.S. aka. Superman – really showed me the corporate balance of nightlife to lifestyle. I really thank Ynot aka. Twilite Tone/Great Weekend for admiring my “old school” sets – his style of that classic chi-town soul funk and only vinyl rule – keeps me on check.
As a DJ, you are sort of the conductor of the venue or club. You have to read the “energy” of the crowd, literally the spirit. I think a lot of times DJs tend to cater to what the people want to hear, but rather the DJ should really think about role reversal and play what the people want to feel – not just hear. Aside from the soul of DJing (laugh) – obviously my favorite things are seeing all my beautiful friends come out and enjoy good music and well-spent time. Ordering my favorite Jameson on the rocks. Least – I really hate when someone comes up to request a record, it just disturbs the flow of things. And there are those idiots who might spill drinks on your equipment!
What are your top 3 go-to dance songs when you DJ?
What sign are you? And that means you are …
Born on November 21st as a Scorpio / Sagittarius cusp. Which means I’m crazy. Intense. Passionate. Overdriven. Sexual. Troublemaker. Rebellious. Universal. Basically – you don’t want to mess with this cusp, or I’ll meet you in heaven.
If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be? Why?
Sun-Ra, I think him and I understand what the universal existence can amount to and why artists are born to create and destroy. Thus him and I can probably stop the world, maybe throw a concert at the Moon one day, and have every human being believe that we all are nothing but light.
Who is the last artist that really impressed you?
Noted opera/vocal artist Lisa Gerrard. Her voice might be God.
Where do you go to get inspired?
Somewhere that is quiet and not mass populated. It can be my usual night walk by the Hudson River, going to Alaska where I can stare at glaciers, retreat to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas with a bottle of Jameson, or just in my room alone with my piano for the entire day.
What hangs above your sofa?
Damien Hirst x Supreme collaboration deck set. Helmut Newtown portrait of a nude women. And this Jesus Illusion photo-portrait my friend made.