mint

In the age of five- and six-figure commercialism, empty and sugary big-stage shows, “DJ” has for some become the butt of a joke, a self-caricature. But DJs are essential to music lovers – now more than ever, with a deep catalog of records past and an astounding volume of new work produced daily, with the DJs shaping tastes and tone in clubs and beyond. Even if you never step into a club, these are the people shaping the way your audience hears.

And so it’s refreshing to see the work of Mint Berlin, a booking agency augmented by parties and wokrshops that has proven its ability to be selective about its selectors, even in the cut-throat, oversaturated club scene of the German capital.

It’s worth eyeing Mint not just for whom they present, but the way in which they picture them.

Mint from Christin Mino on Vimeo.

Mint quietly assembles lineups that are all women – both for its parties and for its select workshop series called “Campus.” But rather than make that the lead item, the quality of those lineups speaks for itself, with or without the identification of gender politics.

“Faces,” the name of the video series, also neatly sums up that approach. Each event is announced by a signature, unadorned image of a DJ staring down the camera. Somehow avoiding any mug shot associations, those images carry the come-as-you-are banner of the whole affair. These are DJs are personalities, not interchangeable on one hand, but not hyped-up commercial objects on the other. That’s especially important for women working to enter the scene. I would try to count the number of women in club music who’ve told me the press or an event venue has asked them to sex up the images of themselves – depressing as this may sound, it’s more or less all of them.

Now, of course, sometimes men, too may become commoditized in some way. But that’s all the more reason even men may find sympathetic cause with groups like Mint: they’re creating an environment that could be healthier for everyone. If women are under the greatest pressure to become objects, then they also represent both the surest need and surest opportunity to point portions of the scene in the opposite direction.

This isn’t really about that issue alone, though. Stripped of that baggage, these videos – and the activism of the group behind them – represent some of the best focus on finding the best music.

I’ve been fortunate to get to hear (and in most cases, get to know) each of these DJs, and to me they represent what I find most inspiring in the scene overall. They could cure almost anyone of DJ allergy.

Esther Duijn is a resident at Tresor and Sisyphos, straddling the scenes in Amsterdam and Berlin, a lover of records ranging from house to techno. Kate Miller is an incredibly warm presence in DJ booths, creating friendly atmospheres on dance floors. Camea is an exceptional producer as well as DJ, a great representative of Get Physical and BPitch … I could go on.

Mint was also involved in a panel event last weekend, in which I was the sole member of the press (and the sole member identified as a dude), covering how the role of women in electronic music can grow. But this video series to me is the best answer of why it’s important to do that. The scene that’s more open, that’s free of obstacles to passionate people finding platforms, is simply a better scene.

For more:
http://mintberlin.de/

And anyone concerned that networks that support women will isolate them – not so; I think people supporting one another generally achieve more in their careers, and this is no exception. These are DJs to watch, full stop. Here’s some Resom Boiler Room for good measure:

And Mint’s tracks:

  • FS

    hell yeah, freakin great stuff.

  • FS

    hell yeah, freakin great stuff.

  • FS

    hell yeah, freakin great stuff.

  • foljs

    “””I would try to count the number of women in club music who’ve told me the press or an event venue has asked them to sex up the images of themselves – depressing as this may sound, it’s more or less all of them.”””

    So like male pop singers have since Elvis being told that they had to be fit, good looking etc, to appeal to teenage girls (a sizable market).

    Heck, Elvis, the Beatles and others (up to today) even had to conceal their marriages to not dissapoint fans.

    • TJ

      “women in club music” vs “male pop singers” is an apples vs oranges comparison. men in club music are not asked to “sex up their image”. nobody gives the tiniest shit what a successful male DJ looks like.

    • As I say in the very next sentence (the one you didn’t copy), absolutely, it can happen with men, too.

      But that to me says we have common cause. If we want music to progress beyond just superficial appearance (and I’m personally glad the future of music didn’t turn into the haircut-cloning antics of The Monkees), then addressing this problem where it’s most acute is in everyone’s best interests.

      • foljs

        “””If we want music to progress beyond just superficial appearance (and I’m personally glad the future of music didn’t turn into the haircut-cloning antics of The Monkees)”””

        That’s one way to put it. But we would be careful so that music progress beyond “superficial appereance” only, and not beyond sexuality in general, which is as important an element as any other.

        A common complaint leveled against “serious” (classical etc.) music in the sixties and onwards, for example, was that it doesn’t have enough not enough sex, lust, blood, sweat, tears, irregularities, it it.

        It’s like what Brian Eno said about the computer, that the problem with it is that “there isn’t enough Africa in it”.

        Blues, Rock, Funk, Punk, Hip Hop, Disco and forward to modern electronic music came to fix that (and, according to classic narrative about modern music, Punk came to fix Rock from getting sterile itself in the form of Prog rock).

        A little out of time with the modern puritan thing that is so much in fashion, I’m pro the sexual revolution and people (men and women and gays and lesbians etc) getting crazy with Elvis “sexual” dance moves, and making sexual idols of artists from them on.

        Of course if an artist doesn’t want to have that element, they should be respected not to have it (I mean from promoters, studio execs, etc). With fans it’s another thing. You can’t ask people to ignore that the musician they see perform is a human being, and perhaps a hot one (of course that fans should no be jerks about it and offend them goes without saying).

        So I wouldn’t call desexualizing music(ians) in general “progress” without qualifications.

  • foljs

    “””I would try to count the number of women in club music who’ve told me the press or an event venue has asked them to sex up the images of themselves – depressing as this may sound, it’s more or less all of them.”””

    So like male pop singers have since Elvis being told that they had to be fit, good looking etc, to appeal to teenage girls (a sizable market).

    Heck, Elvis, the Beatles and others (up to today) even had to conceal their marriages to not dissapoint fans.

    • TJ

      “women in club music” vs “male pop singers” is an apples vs oranges comparison. men in club music are not asked to “sex up their image”. nobody gives the tiniest shit what a successful male DJ looks like.

    • As I say in the very next sentence (the one you didn’t copy), absolutely, it can happen with men, too.

      But that to me says we have common cause. If we want music to progress beyond just superficial appearance (and I’m personally glad the future of music didn’t turn into the haircut-cloning antics of The Monkees), then addressing this problem where it’s most acute is in everyone’s best interests.

      • foljs

        “””If we want music to progress beyond just superficial appearance (and I’m personally glad the future of music didn’t turn into the haircut-cloning antics of The Monkees)”””

        That’s one way to put it. But we would be careful so that music progress beyond “superficial appereance” only, and not beyond sexuality in general, which is as important an element as any other.

        A common complaint leveled against “serious” (classical etc.) music in the sixties and onwards, for example, was that it doesn’t have enough not enough sex, lust, blood, sweat, tears, irregularities, it it.

        It’s like what Brian Eno said about the computer, that the problem with it is that “there isn’t enough Africa in it”.

        Blues, Rock, Funk, Punk, Hip Hop, Disco and forward to modern electronic music came to fix that (and, according to classic narrative about modern music, Punk came to fix Rock from getting sterile itself in the form of Prog rock).

        A little out of time with the modern puritan thing that is so much in fashion, I’m pro the sexual revolution and people (men and women and gays and lesbians etc) getting crazy with Elvis “sexual” dance moves, and making sexual idols of artists from them on.

        Of course if an artist doesn’t want to have that element, they should be respected not to have it (I mean from promoters, studio execs, etc). With fans it’s another thing. You can’t ask people to ignore that the musician they see perform is a human being, and perhaps a hot one (of course that fans should no be jerks about it and offend them goes without saying).

        So I wouldn’t call desexualizing music(ians) in general “progress” without qualifications.

  • foljs

    “””I would try to count the number of women in club music who’ve told me the press or an event venue has asked them to sex up the images of themselves – depressing as this may sound, it’s more or less all of them.”””

    So like male pop singers have since Elvis being told that they had to be fit, good looking etc, to appeal to teenage girls (a sizable market).

    Heck, Elvis, the Beatles and others (up to today) even had to conceal their marriages to not dissapoint fans.

    • TJ

      “women in club music” vs “male pop singers” is an apples vs oranges comparison. men in club music are not asked to “sex up their image”. nobody gives the tiniest shit what a successful male DJ looks like.

    • As I say in the very next sentence (the one you didn’t copy), absolutely, it can happen with men, too.

      But that to me says we have common cause. If we want music to progress beyond just superficial appearance (and I’m personally glad the future of music didn’t turn into the haircut-cloning antics of The Monkees), then addressing this problem where it’s most acute is in everyone’s best interests.

      • foljs

        “””If we want music to progress beyond just superficial appearance (and I’m personally glad the future of music didn’t turn into the haircut-cloning antics of The Monkees)”””

        That’s one way to put it. But we would be careful so that music progress beyond “superficial appereance” only, and not beyond sexuality in general, which is as important an element as any other.

        A common complaint leveled against “serious” (classical etc.) music in the sixties and onwards, for example, was that it doesn’t have enough not enough sex, lust, blood, sweat, tears, irregularities, it it.

        It’s like what Brian Eno said about the computer, that the problem with it is that “there isn’t enough Africa in it”.

        Blues, Rock, Funk, Punk, Hip Hop, Disco and forward to modern electronic music came to fix that (and, according to classic narrative about modern music, Punk came to fix Rock from getting sterile itself in the form of Prog rock).

        A little out of time with the modern puritan thing that is so much in fashion, I’m pro the sexual revolution and people (men and women and gays and lesbians etc) getting crazy with Elvis “sexual” dance moves, and making sexual idols of artists from them on.

        Of course if an artist doesn’t want to have that element, they should be respected not to have it (I mean from promoters, studio execs, etc). With fans it’s another thing. You can’t ask people to ignore that the musician they see perform is a human being, and perhaps a hot one (of course that fans should no be jerks about it and offend them goes without saying).

        So I wouldn’t call desexualizing music(ians) in general “progress” without qualifications.

  • onar3d

    So many fours on the floor! I don’t mind listening to the descendants of Disco, in fact I quite enjoy it. But why so much!? It does get quite boring after a while, in my of course completely subjective opinion. Am I the only variation junky out there? Maybe the fact I’m a drummer is at fault – I pay too much atention to the rhythm of the drums, and synthheads don’t care and find there’s enough interest in the synth-parts for the drums to not matter?

    • Fair enough – they’re running a party series, and these are people making a particular kind of dance music (and doing some nice stuff with their four-on-the-floor).

      But I am always glad to see both
      a) experimental music
      b) broken rhythms in dance music

      This is a techno-centric lineup, no question, and we can go into the issue of how drum parts function there separately. But if it’s not doing it for you, variety also helps. 😉

      Put it this way – I love four on the floor. I might have been making some of it, erm, this week. But it doesn’t have to be for everyone all the time; it’s definitely not for me all of the time.

    • tekknovator

      Must be that you are a drummer 😉

  • onar3d

    So many fours on the floor! I don’t mind listening to the descendants of Disco, in fact I quite enjoy it. But why so much!? It does get quite boring after a while, in my of course completely subjective opinion. Am I the only variation junky out there? Maybe the fact I’m a drummer is at fault – I pay too much atention to the rhythm of the drums, while synthheads don’t care and find there’s enough interest in the synth-parts for the drums to not matter?

    • Fair enough – they’re running a party series, and these are people making a particular kind of dance music (and doing some nice stuff with their four-on-the-floor).

      But I am always glad to see both
      a) experimental music
      b) broken rhythms in dance music

      This is a techno-centric lineup, no question, and we can go into the issue of how drum parts function there separately. But if it’s not doing it for you, variety also helps. 😉

      Put it this way – I love four on the floor. I might have been making some of it, erm, this week. But it doesn’t have to be for everyone all the time; it’s definitely not for me all of the time.

    • tekknovator

      Must be that you are a drummer 😉

  • onar3d

    So many fours on the floor! I don’t mind listening to the descendants of Disco, in fact I quite enjoy it. But why so much!? It does get quite boring after a while, in my of course completely subjective opinion. Am I the only variation junky out there? Maybe the fact I’m a drummer is at fault – I pay too much atention to the rhythm of the drums, while synthheads don’t care and find there’s enough interest in the synth-parts for the drums to not matter?

    • Fair enough – they’re running a party series, and these are people making a particular kind of dance music (and doing some nice stuff with their four-on-the-floor).

      But I am always glad to see both
      a) experimental music
      b) broken rhythms in dance music

      This is a techno-centric lineup, no question, and we can go into the issue of how drum parts function there separately. But if it’s not doing it for you, variety also helps. 😉

      Put it this way – I love four on the floor. I might have been making some of it, erm, this week. But it doesn’t have to be for everyone all the time; it’s definitely not for me all of the time.

    • tekknovator

      Must be that you are a drummer 😉

  • misksound

    Man, Peter, you’re on *point* about your response to potentially isolating female djs by solely representing them. Thanks for bringing this more attention. Gender bias is an issue in electronic music that needs to be more openly addressed.

  • misksound

    Man, Peter, you’re on *point* about your response to potentially isolating female djs by solely representing them. Thanks for bringing this more attention. Gender bias is an issue in electronic music that needs to be more openly addressed.

  • misksound

    Man, Peter, you’re on *point* about your response to potentially isolating female djs by solely representing them. Thanks for bringing this more attention. Gender bias is an issue in electronic music that needs to be more openly addressed.