Hey there music lovers! Welcome to another special edition of Femme Fatale Friday. We have an exclusive interview with the one and only, Colette. We also have some tracks and podcast from Gina Turner, Hannah Wants, Fei-Fei, Nervo, J. Phlip, and Nightwave for you to jam out to over the weekend. Enjoy!
Born and raised in Illinois, this Chicago kid started her journey with music through classical voice lessons. DJing was never part of her future vision, but singing was. It wasn't until she first met DJ Lego at sixteen, that her path was readjusted just a little bit.
“I remember the first time I sang over Lego's set was through a pair of headphones plugged into the mic line on the mixer. I instantly fell in love with house music and started collecting vinyl and promoting parties in Chicago.”
This love for house music led Colette to her first EP with Mazi and Motion in 1995. In 1997, she played her first party with DJ Heather, Lady D, and Dayhota as ‘Superjane‘. Now, Colette has countless singles, EPs, three albums, a music label – Candy Talk Records, and an insurmountable amount of experience performing to an audience that loves her.
To start off we wanted to know what Colette thought about the use of technology by new artists in the industry. It is safe to say that with the use of technology, DJing has become extremely accessible to a larger audience. The source of interest can vary between the true love of music to yearning to achieving the ‘success' and fame of ‘celebrity DJs' that are posted across the internet. It is no longer necessary to know the feeling of vinyl under your fingertips or to go on the hunt to add to your vinyl collecting. Is the ease of getting into DJing hurting the development of emerging artists?
“Technology has changed how we make and play music, but it doesn't create the art at the end of the day. That still comes from within. I think if you feel passionate about music (djing) you owe it to yourself to try.”
A viewpoint that, many can get on board with. It is the passion of the music creator which allows for the quality of music being produced.
Other topic we wanted to touch bases on was the lack of diversity when it comes to the ratio of men and women in the industry. An article by THUMP has come out with some not so surprising numbers related to this years festival line ups. Electric Zoo holding the title for the most men at the turn tables 113 to 3 (97.4%) and MUTEK doing a little better with 85 to 9 (90.4%). So has the music industry improved since Colette first started playing?
“It's amazing how many more women are djing and producing today. There are thousands of women in Dance music now which is really exciting when you think about how far we've come. The percentage of men to women is still not equal, but it's incredibly improved and it only continues to grow.”
Improvements have been made, as small as it might seem after seeing those numbers. It is obvious that there is still a long way to go and a lot to look out for. There is no doubt (maybe a little), that festivals will be wanting to reach out to more DJs after receiving many finger wagging and outrage for the numbers that THUMP has produced. The next topic to look out for is whether they are simply hiring ‘female DJs' or talented DJs/producers that so happen to hold two X chromosomes. Regardless of the bumps ahead, Colette is the embodiment of the fact that the ability to spin well and be successful isn't dependent on gender. It is dependent upon talent and passion for music an artists has in their being. For those double X women out there who might feel like reaching their dreams of producing and mixing is far from obtainable, just take a look Colette.
To wrap up our interview with Colette, we wanted to know what kind of venue she would create if she could make one from scratch. She chose to a layout that allowed her to be one with her audience. Highlighting the importance of being able to create a give and take relationship between the artist and audience. This is why her ideal venue would be playing a booth that would be slightly elevated in order to see the entire dance floor. As well as having a Void sound system to get the perfect sound.
Where will she be playing next? In a city that holds a special place in Colette's heart…Detroit. Detroit was one of the first cities she started to regularly play outside of Chicago. She will be returning to the D to perform at “Still Dancin'“, alongside of some old school vets Frankie Bones and DJ Icey.
” What's fun about this event is it's kind of a throwback to the Detroit rave days. I rarely get to play with Frankie Bones or DJ Icey so this will be a treat for me as well”.
For those of you in the Detroit area, go give some well deserved support to Colette. For those of you who aren't, keep and eye out for her in your area. I hope you have just added a new artist on your favorites list.
Tracks and Podcasts: