Their characters are as diverse as their backgrounds.
What they share is a passion for electronic music.
ELECTRIC LADYLAND is a multi-faceted series
portraying female DJs
and their creative and personal journeys.
Their artistry takes them around the world and connects them to peers and friends to fulfil their ambition to establish a career in Electronic Music.
SEOUL / BERLIN
I’m never satisfied. I tell myself I can do better every single time whether it be an album, set or collection.
I sent the first record to many people ... they all said no. It was like nobody wants my music.
But I wanted to be
the youngest and first female Korean DJ to play Berghain.
And I did.
- PEGGY GOU
Peggy Gou is a Berlin based South Korean DJ, record producer, and fashion designer. She has released seven EPs on record labels including Ninja Tune and Phonica. In 2019, she launched her own independent record label, Gudu Records, and a DJ-Kicks compilation on !k7 Records.
Born in Incheon, South Korea, Peggy Gou began classical piano lessons at age 8. At age 14, her parents sent her to London, England to study English. She moved back to Korea when she was 18 years old, but six months later she returned to London to study fashion at the London College of Fashion. After graduating, she worked as the London correspondent editor for Harper's Bazaar Korea, and then moved to Berlin, Germany.
Sitting somewhere between Detroit, London and Berlin in sound, her DJ sets are a assured, kinetic combination of dark, pulsing house and techno, broken beats and abstract compositions.
IRKUTSK / BERLIN
Some people couldn’t handle me. It was like: ‘It cannot be true that you can have lipstick on and make music’ ...
When I DJ, I’m fucking alive. All my channels are open. People think I’m on drugs, but I’m not – I’m just really experiencing it.
- NINA KRAVIZ
Nina Kraviz (Нина Кравиц) is a Russian DJ, music producer and singer. Kraviz was born and raised in Irkutsk, Siberia, Russia. She studied dentistry at the age of 19 in Moscow, where she later gained her residency.
Kraviz’s techno education started in her hometown of Irkutsk and developed in the late 90s, when she would listen to early-hours radio broadcasts of electronic music on the Europa Plus network. By the end of 2000's, she was living in Moscow, working as a dentist at a war veterans’ hospital by day and holding down a club residency on Friday night.
Now one of the most successful female Djs, she founded her label Trip in 2014.
ÖREBRO / BERLIN
The climate to make it in Berlin arriving as a new artist might be tougher as the market is saturated with artists, but at the same time, there are a lot of creatives in the same melting pot which can nourish and make it possible to meet other artists opening up new possibilities.
- LA FLEUR
Sanna ‘La Fleur‘ Engdahl’s back story is a less conventional one. Although a fully trained pharmacistt, she has been “a music nerd” from an early age. Taking part in dance competitions at school discos, it was here that Sanna first realised a longing to be on the opposite side of the DJ booth.
Although now Berlin based, Sanna began her journey into dance music in her home country, Sweden. She chose to make the move to Berlin to step outside of her comfort zone, find inspiration and give herself time to home in on her music. Born in the city of Örebro, weekends were spent playing and exploring the forests surrounding her home, alongside lessons in piano, flute, ballet and later singing. In the years following, she graduated with a Master in Pharmaceutical Science but eschewed a career in pharmacy to focus on music full-time.
She launched her 'Power Plant' label with the incandescent classic ‘Flowerhead’ and the projects becoming a multi-disciplinary breeding ground for different creative pursuits, with music always at the core. She began the Power Plant ‘Elements’ fashion line, collaborating with designer Stacey DeVoe to create an eight-piece capsule collection focusing on androgynous design and geometric cuts.
CHICAGO / NEW YORK
I am a citizen of the world and a human being.
I only want to engage in energy that heals and uplifts people. My mission as an artist is to bring people together, not separate them.
If binary means just zero or one, there’s a whole hell of a lot of in-between, even in physics there’s more in-between, so I think it’s just a matter of society trying to catch up with that complex reality of life as it is lived.
- HONEY DIJON
Honey Dijon is an American DJ, producer, electronic musician, and fashion icon. She was born in Chicago and is based out of New York City. Honey has performed at clubs, art fairs, galleries and fashion events worldwide. Renowned for not adhering to any particular genre, Honey Dijon is known for curating cross-genre sets.
Honey Dijon grew up on the south side of Chicago, in a family that she describes as very musical. She began clubbing during her mid-teens with her parents' acceptance as long as her academics did not suffer. During her time in Chicago she met and was mentored by DJs and producers such as Derrick Carter, Mark Farina and Greenskeepers. Later on, Honey Dijon moved to New York, where she was introduced to Maxi Records and Danny Tenaglia.
Nobody lives house music and its many contradictions like Honey Dijon. From soundtracking the catwalks of Louis Vuitton to playing at Panorama Bar, she straddles different worlds with deceptive ease but being a black trans artist is not an easy path to tread
Honey Dijon's brazen style blends all genres without looking to the past. She captivates with her instinct, versatile sound and dazzles the club and fashion circuit in London, Paris, Berlin and New York.
An in-demand speaker and contributor on issues surrounding gender in club culture, Honey has also appeared on high profile platforms such as Red Bull Music’ Fireside Chat and Kindness Radio show.
“I used to go clubbing alone because none of my friends had the same interest in music as me, but because of that I met so many people within the scene who are still my friends today.”
- AMELIE LENS
Belgian DJ and producer Amelie Lens is completely unstoppable right now. The co-owner of the Lenske record label has become a techno phenomenon.
From an early age, she had a diverse interest in music, citing Nine Inch Nails, Underworld, Boys Noize and Ellen Allien as early influences. She became absorbed in electronic music at 16, after attending the 2006 Dour Festival in Belgium, an experience she describes as "life-changing". Techno had Lens at ‘hello’, and she would spend the rest of her teenage years crossing Belgium by train by herself to attend gigs.
Lens gave up her work in the fashion industry in 2014, and began to DJ under the name Renée, playing mostly bass-heavy minimal techno, earning a residency at the Labyrinth Club in Hasselt, Belgium, where she built enough of a reputation to tour across Europe. More recently her high energy sets are known for their mixture of classic acid and tribal house influences along with more contemporary European techno sounds.
When Lens was five years old, her 32-year-old mother, who had raised her on her own, died of a sudden heart attack. Lens was there when it happened. For the next six years she was carted between her aunts’ houses as they tried to deal with their own growing families and a troubled little girl. Lens was sent to live with her grandmother when she was 11. Unitl today her grandmother is her most important person.
CHARLOTTE DE WITTE
I am a woman, playing and producing music, and I'm bloody well proud of it.
After DJing for six years, it became pretty obvious to most people that I actually was a woman, not a man.
- CHARLOTTE DE WITTE
Despite being considered relatively fresh on the scene, Belgian DJ and producer Charlotte de Witte has amply proven her skill in the studio and behind the decks.
Her fast-paced trajectory reads like a novel. While championing her own style of uncompromising and headstrong techno, she steers her career and music the way she envisions it.
On stage de Witte charms techno heads with her natural ease, composure and expertise. Making it almost look easy to play the biggest stages in the world. Her own studio productions have proven to be intense, addictive and downright impressive, captivating sounding labels like Novamute and Mary Go Wild.
Her curriculum vitae of credentials is simply mind blowing: An Essential Mix debut on BBC Radio 1, a passage at Boiler Room, the cover of DJ MAG and continuous support by Resident Advisor, MixMag and XLR8R. The future looks bright for Charlotte de Witte.
KENTUCKY / CHICAGO
Talent is the seed, but you have to put the seed in the dirt and put the work in.
Grit is undervalued; talent is overvalued. Of all of the things that will keep you alive, grit and optimism as a strategy will serve you more than virtually any other thing–including talent, or luck, or anything else.
- BLACK MADONNA
In some ways, the story of The Black Madonna begins with three magic words, scrawled in shoe polish on a broken-down box and hung with Christmas lights on the wall at a small sweaty party: We Still Believe.
A native of Kentucky and born Marea Stamper, a high-school dropout who was bullied for her gender nonconforming appearance, The Black Madonna started her career in the late 1990s, selling mixtapes by underground DJs at raves. She has been called "one of the world’s most exciting turntablists."
Androgynous Mind, Avenger of Comiskey Park, Patron Saint of Abandonned Daughters, Smart Bar Resident. In a span of a few years, The Black Madonna used her grit and talent to propel herself into a world that not long ago would have rejected someone outside of its conventions.
In 2012, Smartbar named her resident along with, no less than the godfather of house, Frankie Knuckles. In 2013, she became the first ever woman to helm the curation of the club, in thirty years, the oldest independent dance music venue in the world. And then Panorama Bar called.
In 2016, The Black Madonna became the first woman to be named Mixmag’s DJ of the year, landing the prestigious magazine cover wearing a giant gold crown.
Past her musical legacy, a deep commitment to social justice remains a natural companion to The Black Madonna’s life in music and an immensely important part of both her popularity and her day to day work. Whether it’s traveling to Uganda to work directly with queer women DJ’s, mentorship schemes for women, advocating on behalf of various racial justice efforts, prison and bail reform and especially international refugee, feminist and LGBTQi projects, her commitment to humanitarian work is as strong as her commitment to music.
Playing records is like traveling through time. We DJs are looking for the message of an old record, and then: BOOM, the club explodes!
There's no such thing as 'too into it.' I simply live and breathe music 100 percent
- ELLEN ALIEN
DJ, musician, label manager and creative all-rounder – Ellen Allien has carved out her own space in all these roles, creating a unique universe.
Ellen Allien was born and grew up in West Berlin. During 1989, she lived in London where she first came into contact with electronic music. When she later returned to Berlin, electronic music had become increasingly popular in Germany. In 1992, she became resident DJ at the Bunker, Tresor, and E-Werk. Her album Stadtkind was dedicated to the city of Berlin, and she cites the culture of reunified Berlin as one of the main inspirations for her music.
As one of the most iconic artists of her generation in electronic music to date, Ellen Allien embodies the core ethos of techno: a visionary who looks to the future for inspiration, carving out her own niche and presiding over an empire that has imbued the world of techno and dance music with her unique DNA.
In 2019 Ellen Allien launched her UFO Inc. label with an EP that features the epic »UFO« which has been on heavy rotation in her DJ sets all summer long. Between »UFO« and the hard-hitting Berlin acid belter »Körpermaschine« on the flipside, the »UFO« EP perfectly captures the energetic hardware sound of Allien’s new imprint, which will be dedicated to a rough and raw approach to techno.
Also dedicated to self-expression through visual media; art, fashion and her own personal styling, Ellen has been an intrinsic, highly influential part of the subculture in her native Berlin.
TOKYO / BERLIN
I came to Berlin in 1999.
The city was more casual, not chaotic, in-between somehow. There was a lot of freedom.
DJing is like praying for me.
I play vinyl only.
Free-trade, curated, fresh and vinyl powered; HITO's set serves as a Techno church for all to pay homage.
Never one to shy away from her heritage, Hito always performs in a silk Kimono and traditional Japanese attire.
It was in the German capital that the passionate vinyl-only DJ first fell in love with techno, after relocating from her native Japan in 1999 in search of new horizons and musical inspiration.
The raw resolution intrinsic of her music grew out from the orb of Japan into the underground belly of Ibiza and Berlin, on to top charting artist internationally and unofficial ambassador of Japan's sub-culture. Hito's absolute allegiance to her art created an international home for everyone to journey to. Hito has earned multiple accolades and nominations. Hito’s offline foundation cuts caked and simulated noise, forever uniting and revealing the invisible beauty discovered by listeners.
In 2018, She finally started approaching with the view of establishing the label "OTO" and also the first release, in addition to Hito presents OTO's own event organized. Ongoing projects, collaboration with HITO and Photographer Jordi Cervera.
If there’s one other thing Hito knows and loves — it’s Sake. It was her love of the traditional rice wine that cemented her relationship with techno don Richie Hawtin, and has seen her spin with Hawtin at his famed ENTER. parties since 2012.