Posted by: Rebecca on February 26, 2014
After reading Chris Tranter’s article ‘I Wanna Date a Majestic Girl’ yesterday on THUMP I couldn’t help but laugh. But it also played into certain stereotypes about women involved the scene that both Chris and I inhabit. Opening a new word document to respond, I began realising the connotations of both what Chris had said and the particular imagery associated with Majestic Casual.
Female interest in electronic music is often patronised as superficial – perhaps now more so with it’s rising popularity. But what about the brilliant pioneers who undoubtedly didn’t rush onto a dance-floor screaming when they heard a Destiny’s Child reflex – Daphne Oram? Bebe Barron? Wendy Carlos? Mary Ann Hobbs? Surely you can’t believe every girl discovered electronic music whilst putting make-up on listening to a Youtube playlist.
Australia, in particular, and it’s thriving experimental musical scenes may not have a Flumette or Mrs. Faker at the helm (and these names are said with heavy irony) even despite its vast array of talented female producers and DJs, but it is certainly championed by women who are musical tastemakers, professionally and as supporters on the dance floor. Writing about music for a magazine I often came across my words being shared on Facebook accredited to ‘dude’ – by people who hadn’t bothered to read my very feminine name on the byline. Men wouldn’t be able to complain about a girls ‘lack of knowledge in the scene or the historical roots of a sampler pack’ if they stopped interrupting them – or even asked for their opinion. If you actually spoke to many of the music-loving women I’ve come across – from producers to vocalists to radio show hosts to writers to PR to agents and anyone pushing music behind the scenes – it would be hard to assume their knowledge of chopped and screwed mixing techniques ends with Shlohmo. I adore my female friends that can hold a conversation about avant-garde jazz or MPCs but not because they’re girls. Because it’s simply human to have a connection to music and what suddenly makes people respond to a whispered synth with a shiver or a bass line with a shoulder spasm has nothing to do with their sex. Women, historically, are just not as loud about it – generally we’re drowned out by men claiming we don’t exist – or when we are writing a column about music – it’s assumed ‘some dude’ wrote it. Or that awesome mix that was just on the radio? Must have been a guy. Or that babe at a Red Bull Music Academy gig? She must have come with her boyfriend.
Certain music channels, with their scantily clad women who are posed awkwardly on the edge of some ruffled sheets as a cover corresponding to an track with unaccredited Marvin Gaye vocals and 808 drums are more appealing to a wide-range of music listeners, because it’s as close to pop as experimental music gets – or anything under the ‘EDM’ umbrella for that matter. It doesn’t mean it’s primarily marketed – or made for – women, if any gender bias is going on – it’s certainly far more targeted at men. Naked women generally are.
But sure, those few girls that only exist in certain instagram filters and at certain angles – when the popularity of electronic music suddenly switches to indie or whatever else is on the revival – will no longer be found on dance floors lip-syncing Banks at a club night on a Saturday. Maybe they weren’t really interested in Detroit techno and white labels to begin with.
And do you know who they’ll take with them? I like to call them Majestic Boys. With askew beanies and a moderate knowledge of Fruity Loops who spell their club DJ name without vowels and who suddenly actually always really loved J Dilla and ironic 90s tracks. Just last week he decided to start a bedroom record label. Maybe RBBT and PTRDCTYL or whatever their names are make music that gets shared on a popular online playlist and they boisterously talk about it with anyone standing in the smoking section long enough. But I don’t want go on a date with these guys. They assume that you have no idea who they’re on about about when they name-drop Jai Paul. Majestic Boys’ and their music aren’t terrible people to be laughed at, I understand they’re just experimenting and finding what they like.
Regardless of which Youtube channel or record store you like get your music from, there’s no excuse for making snap judgments on someone’s taste or background in music based on gender. It’s really getting old, it’s insulting and it certainly isn’t majestic.
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