Women In The Dance

We chat to Lintott and Joksi the two Birmingham natives behind Women In The Dance, an initiative through social media to change the landscape of dance music scenes by creating safer environments free from sexual abuse.

Illustration: Women In The Dance

So who are we talking to here, who are the women behind Women In The Dance?

Women in The Dance is run by myself, Joski and Lauren otherwise known as Lintott

What do nights out mean to all of you individually and when did you start going on them?

Joski: I started going to squat raves in my early teens, primarily drum and bass and jungle events. This was obviously the best way for me to go out as I wasn’t 18 yet and there was no way I could pass as 18 when I was a chubby 14 year old. At around 16 I started going to legal raves. Again these were mostly drum and bass and jungle nights, this just fulled my love for the genres and the raving scene. For me music means so much, it’s a massive part of who I am as a person. 

Lintott: For me, it was all about Digbeth. I remember sneaking into places like the rainbow; trying to be super stealth with neon pink hair wasn’t it!

What're your first memories of what nightlife in Birmingham is like?

Joski: I remember my first legal rave at the o2, it was Triggas birthday bash and it’s one that I’ll always remember not just because it was my first legal but I walked into the toilets and there was a woman pumping breast milk into a bottle, apparently she’d had a baby a week before hand. Brum has the MOST dedicated ravers. I just love raving in Birmingham because of diversity in the ravers and the majority of people are so friendly and happy, that could have something to do with the substances they’re on but it's just always a good vibe. I feel like to this day it’s the same, such a diverse crowd, everyone getting along and enjoying the same music.

Lintott: Fully agree with Jos, always good vibes. Something stupidly homely about a night out in Birmingham. One of my first memories though is tripping down the stairs into the rainbow basement, looking up to see devilman howling at me. Not the smoothest move.

Harassment and assault on nights out are all too common, so was there a catalysing moment or indecent that made you want to start Women In The Dance?

Joski: For me, the climate that we’re in at the moment has meant people are starting to listen and learn about these issues and how to stop or at least help prevent them from happening. I’ve seen lots of people beginning to share infographics and videos, spreading awareness of issues and I just thought now is the perfect time to start something that has been an issue for us women for such a long time. Because the dance scene is so close to me and has been such a huge part of my life I want the future female ravers, DJ’s and artists to feel safe and not have to go through the shitty things that have happened to so many of us. It can be enough to put girls off of being a part of a scene.

Lintott: 100%. I used to be out and about a lot more than I probably should’ve been but it lost the magic. More and more not nice incidents, whether that be it to me directly or people I know, kept cropping up. Flipped what used to be home right on its head.

Women's ability to enjoy music is policed on many levels, whether it be harassment on nights out or different measuring sticks applied for female musicians. The reaction to WAP typifies this. Have any of you faced sexism trying to operate within the music industry?

Joski: Even before I started to DJ I would be faced with sexism. You can tell a lad that you’re into a genre and then all of a sudden it's 21 questions “Oh yeah? Whos your favourite producer?” or “What’s this song called then?” it's just like, mate, give it a rest, why do I need to prove my knowledge on a specific genre just to be validated by you?. I’ve also found since DJing I’ve had a few moments where I’ve been made to prove myself along with once being told I wasn’t “allowed” to get on the decks at the studio before. It doesn’t bother me because these aren’t people I would want to collab with or even be friends with but it just proves there are still male’s in the industry to feel they’re better than women without even giving us a chance. 

Lintott: I’m more of the party goer than I am in the industry but even then it’s like you’re getting tested 24/7. Take a picture with your friends? Begging it you’re at the event. Don’t know a DJ on the line up? Shouldn’t be there. People have mad habits of policing what you’re up to.

Even though strides are being made in terms of female representation in music, what do you think needs to happen in the music industry to bridge the gap?

Joski: Personally I think there needs to be less of a divide when it comes to people putting together lineups, there needs to be a balance of genders. I don’t agree with all female lineups because isn’t that just the same as an all male line up? There needs to be representation for everyone. Also, no more ‘token female’ DJ’s on line ups, promoters need to be actively looking for female artists and booking females based on their talent and not just because they need a female on the line up to look inclusive. 

Lintott: It’s painfully obvious too when they get the ‘token’ DJ, always got the girl first up and a kind of warm up act.

Who are some female artists or DJ's from Birmingham you think our readers need to be listening to? 

Joski: I’ll just list my favourite Dj’s instas here so people can go check them out, @sharniedj, @clarabelleuk, @sbambinadj, @freneticlottie isn’t from Birmingham but has lived here for a while and is killing it in the DNB and Jungle scene and also @madusadnb who is actually from Leamington but she’s also making huge waves within the DNB scene.

Lintott: @jossymitsu all day, everyday.  

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