When DJ Mag came out with its annual list of Top 100 DJs in October 2011, it was not much different from any other year. And by that we mean having a Y chromosome seems to have been one of the qualifications for getting the popular vote. Peaches had some choice words about that. It’s not all DJ Mag’s fault, though. The list is dependent on a social media-driven poll. But we can think of plenty of ladies who DJ who could have made the list. (Paging Ellen Allien.) We can think of quite a few women who would make our Top 100 Producers list too. Artists like Santigold and Grimes are breaking big as both the visionary and the voice behind their forward looking electropop. Others might have a lower profile, but not as low as you might think.
In fact, we wager you might be listening to more female producers than you know. To find out if it’s true, read on for ten of our favorites who rock Pro Tools and the double X. We think you’ve heard them. If not, get on it. Maybe this year’s DJ Mag list will be different.
Ed. Note: This list has been updated from an earlier version with only 10 producers, because that just wasn’t enough.
16. Georgia Anne Muldrow
Bio: More than a producer, Georgia Anne Muldrow is a creative force of nature. She’s also a vocalist, composer and label co-owner. Her latest album Seeds was produced by Madlib, but she did it all on her debut album Olesi. Muldrow’s projects are hard to keep track of, but once you hear one of her sonic visions, you’re going to want to start trying.
Where you might have heard her: Declaime’s album Self-Study. She produced that too.
15. DJ Rekha
Bio: DJ Rekha can take credit for introducing Bhangra to the US through her legendary and still going Basement Bhangra night at New York City Club S.O.B.s. The London-born, Brooklyn-based impresario’s production work can be heard on her mix album Dj Rekha Presents Basement Bhangra. Lately she’s been collaborating with genre-bending artists like Sub Swara. Guess that’s why the New York Times calls her “Ambassador of Bhangra.”
Where you might have heard her: The White House. Yeah, she DJed at The White House.
Bio: Part of the current school of Angeleno beatmakers, TOKiMONSTA takes an inventive and lo-fi approach to hip-hop production for hip-hop production’s sake.
Style: Hip-Hop Instrumentals
Where you might have heard her: Scion sponsored her most recent project with Suzi Analogue called Analogue Monsta.
13. Dani Deahl
Bio: Another Chicagoan, Dani Deahl has made a name for herself as a DJ/producer as well as a blogger and journalist for outlets such as URB.
Her latest, featuring Oh Snap!. is titled “Diplo Hates You.” Diplo might hate you. He likes her though. Check out her mini-documentary for the deets.
Where you might have heard her: Lollapalooza
12. Isa GT
Bio: After establishing herself as a DJ in London spinning everything from cumbia to Baltimore, Colombian filmmaker/artist/emcee/label owner Isa GT got into producing. People were pretty into her Pa Chikirri EP, but they properly lost their minds over Leyenda.
Style: Global Bass
Where you might have heard her: Anywhere on the planet, tearing things up with her now infamous Girlcore crew.
11. Kate Simko
Bio: Chicago’s Kate Simko is a classically trained musician turned electronic music producer who works the stripped-down end of Midwestern house with a brainy twist. She’s been building a solid reputation as a producer and DJ for a decade with EPs and her own Chicago club night, but her long anticipated debut album Lights Out came out just last year on Hello? Repeat.
Style: Minimal House
Where you might have heard her: The documentary film The Atom Smashers. She did the score.
10. Cooly G
Bio: This DJ/producer rubs elbows with Ikonika on UK label Hyperdub, but she’s got her own outlet Dub Organizer too.
Cooly G is already a known quantity in the London underground for her groovy, R&B laced tracks but, with a debut full-length about to happen, we’re expecting a big jump in name recognition for her soon.
Where you might have heard her: Brixton
9. Syd tha Kyd
Bio: Blah, blah, Tyler, blah, blah, Earl. Look, the truth is, it’s all about Syd. You can’t make the case that there’s a man behind this one. In Odd Future, she’s behind the men. And, as The Internet with Matt Martians, she’s now stepping out from behind.
Style: Post Hip-Hop
Where you might have heard her: Making Kilo Kish sound good.
8. Asma Maroof
Bio: One half of Nguzunguzu, Asma Maroof is one of the hottest knob twisters in the business right now. As part of the improvisational minded duo that mixed M.I.A.’s Vicki Leekx mixtape, you’ve surely heard Maroof by now, but keep her name in mind and remember how to spell it. She’s making more moves on her own, like “Sicko” with Bosca for Red Bull Music Academy.
Style: Futuristic Global Bass
Where you might have heard her: Spinning for M.I.A. on tour.
7. JD Samson
Bio: JD Samson started out in music as a member of Le Tigre. When the electro-activists went on hiatus, Samson formed MEN with collaborators like Michael O’Neill to keep her beats and politically informed lyrics on the dance floor.
Where you might have heard her: “My Girls Ft. Peaches” from the Christina Aguilera album Bionic. (Samson produced the track with her Le Tigre crew.) Or, alternatively, supporting the Occupy movement with joints like “Make Him Pay.”
6. Sarah Young
Bio: If you have the good fortune to catch one of Sarah Young’s DJ sets, you could be treated to a mix of moombahton, kuduro, trap, dutch house, bhangra, soca, garage and other assorted regionalized dance styles. She reps hard for global bass in the UK and global bass loves her back, especially tastemaking sites like Generation Bass. Her interest in global sounds began when the producer first started traveling the world to DJ and her tastes and the taste-combinations on her tracks just keep getting wilder.
Style: Global bass
Where you might have heard her: Doing guest mixes on Radio 1
5. Faux No
Bio: Don’t be fooled by Faux No, it’s still Reija Lee and Maaike Lebbing, two London-based Australian mates originally signed to Mad Decent cranking obscenely smooth dubstep tunes as Kito & Reija Lee. Now rebranded, they’re only sounding more refined. If a new name always accompanies further sonic distillations with these two, they can change names all they want, ears will follow them.
Where you might have heard them: All the proper dubstep compilations
Bio: If there’s one woman in undergound electronic music who gets name-checked and loved-on more than any other it’s London’s Sara Abdel-Hamid, known to the clubs as Ikonika. Sought after for compositions that never stint on brains or brawn, she’s most often described as a dubstep producer but her style often lists toward UK garage and house.
Style: Dubstep, etc.
Where you might have heard her: On the lips of any serious electronic music fan
3. Rebecca and Fiona
Bio: These two longtime musical partners are staples in Sweden’s club scene and music charts. Rebecca Scheja and Fiona Fitzpatrick not only rock monster parties alongside DJs like Tiësto, Kaskade with their high energy sets they also write irresistibly buoyant hits that split the difference between EDM and electropop. So incredible is this fashion-forward Nordic force of nature that the duo was awarded a reality show and also actual awards like Best Electronic/Dance at the Swedish Grammys.
Where you might have heard them: Opening for Robyn, or maybe collaborating with Kaskade.
Bio: Australian twins Miriam and Olivia Nervo are the songwriting minds behind the David Guetta/Kelly Rowland Grammy-winning hit “When Love Takes Over” and they’ve written for everyone from Armin Van Buuren to Britney. They’ve also played Ibiza, Tommorowland twice and had themselves a residency at The Wynn resort and casino in Las Vegas. And, not content to tear up the UK charts with their collaborations with Afrojack and Steve Aoki, they’ve also got their own piece of radio real estate with their Sirius show NERVOnation.
Style: Electronic Dance/Dance Pop
Where you might have heard them: The radio, anywhere in the world.
1. Maya Jane Coles
Bio: Actually, if you’ve been paying attention to house music at all (or even if you haven’t), you probably know Maya Jane Coles has been killing it. But we just couldn’t have a list like this without the UK producer, engineer and DJ who is pretty much universally celebrated for the deep and dubby quality she brings to underground house. In 2011 she was voted Best Newcomer at the Ibiza DJ Awards, Producer of the Year by DJ Mag, Best Breakthrough DJ by Mixmag and she came out at number 9 on Resident Advisor’s DJ poll. If she doesn’t make Top 100 DJs soon, we’re going to want to know why.
Style: House, sometimes hybrid dubtronics as She Is Danger with vocalist Lena Cullen
Where you might have heard her: Glastonbury, Bestival, and, like, every other festival on the planet.