Local DJ Feature: Girls Club DJs
If you’ve been creeping on Instagram recently and have stumbled across a female musical duo who give you complete #WCW goals, then you’ve probably been digitally introduced to Girls Club DJs. One part brunette, Suzy Kenny, one part blonde, Jaclyn Panylyk, these two have completely taken over the DJ scene in Edmonton.
In light of their upcoming DJ Ride (Dec. 14 - 8:00 pm - 124th) in support of the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton, we got up close and personal with both Suzy and Jaclyn as they explained how they turned a “boys club” industry into their very own “girls club”.
When did you begin DJing?
S: Summer of 2008
J: Fall of 2009
How did you get into it?
A few of our close (male) friends invested in DJ gear… it wasn’t long before we took control of the decks so we could hear the music we wanted to dance to! Melodic and lyrical house and pop grooves AKA Donna Summer, Gaga, Madonna, Robyn… We were sick of the boys club ruling the party with their crunchy techno and screechy electro and craved some sexy, sing-along songs hence Girls Club was born!
What’s your favourite genre of music?
We love it ALL. Even country can be acceptable at the right party. But really, we tend to play disco, house, pop with a dash of hip-hop and a lot of bass. Our specialty is discovering obscure singles and remixes, previously ignored albums and foreign imports. Playing them overlapped, non-stop so you dance until you drop.
Why do you think DJs are often associated as being a male occupation?
Because until re-history, it’s been a man’s world, and we’re still playing catch up. It’s time for the music industry to embrace the benefits that feminine qualities can bring to fostering creativity and community.
Who is your favourite female DJ?
Annie Mac - we grew up listening to her radio show on BBC Radio 1.. She discovered and shared the best indie-dance tracks and exposed us to underground music from around the world.
B.Traits - we saw her DJ in Edmonton back in 2008 and she killed it! She was the first girl DJ we’d seen live, and she had the dance floor going the whole time. She has since used her DJ skills to foster community and promote the benefits of mindfulness, meditation and good health - something that we strive to do!
What’re some challenges females face in the industry?
Being heard and respected. If you plan on entering the industry you have to be prepared to deal with sexism, being sexually harassed/objectified and overall less opportunity.
What advice do you have for girls and women aspiring to work in the DJ and music industry?
Show up prepared with a setlist, be there for soundcheck, play a killer set and prove to them that females can rock it just as well as the boys.
Find strength in solidarity… being part of a DJ crew will not only help you book gigs but give you a support network, a group of people who will have your back, will listen and help you through issues when they arise. We’re part of the SWEAT nu disco crew and have started a Girls Club collective, featuring local female DJs who share music, stories, shows and help build each other up!
Don’t give up, stay focused and find balance. There will be many many long unpaid nights on your road to making a name for yourself. Be patient and kind and the right opportunities will present themselves. No one wants to work with someone who has a shitty attitude. Stay positive and set and respect boundaries, do not be unprofessional or let yourself be taken advantage of. Don’t have anyone to trust or talk to? There are local organizations who are on a mission to create safer spaces and reduce harm at clubs/festivals and they will help! In Edmonton, we have Indigo Harm Reduction, in Calgary in Society for the Advocacy of Safer Spaces and in Vancouver, there’s Good Night Out.
Being a DJ means there will be many opportunities to party, and while that can be fun it makes it places even more importance on the ability to balance that out with a healthy lifestyle. Get lots of rest, time for self-care and exercise regularly to maintain good health. Don’t get sucked into the party, the lifestyle will catch up to you and distract you from achieving your dance floor dreams!