We live in a time where our radios are dominated by electronic dance music (EDM). No longer is techno seen as a relic of ’90s alt-culture. Instead, we’ve seen it evolve to become one of the most popular music genres of our generation. While artists like Calvin Harris and Diplo have become household names, we tend to forget about the women stepping up to the turntables and absolutely dominating the genre. With HARD Summer promising to provide us with yet another glorious weekend of bass bumping sets and temporary loss of hearing this upcoming weekend, here are some female DJs—ranked in order of my personal faves—to hype you up for that long, beautiful ride.
Take a look at this handy guide to the many genres of EDM to help you out.
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EDM has a history of male headliners, creating a glass ceiling in the DJ industry. Anna Lunoe absolutely wrecked that ceiling at her Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) set this summer, making her the first woman to ever perform a solo set at the festival’s main stage. Lunoe goes hard with her iconic brand of chilled-out bass and ’90s house vibes. Did I mention she does her own vocals? Listen to her set at CRSSD Festival here.
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When you are a 20-something-year-old living in Southern California, you most likely know who Soulection is—you know, that DJ collective from L.A. that brings talent from around the world together on their Soundcloud radio? Yeah them. With big names such as Esta and Sango, Sosupersam is arguably one of their biggest names. She manages to make R&B, old-school hip-hop and indie alternative all go together, as seen in her Ray-Ban x Boiler Room set. And she models? Ugh, career goals.
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Amy Pham is that girl on Instagram whose feed you angrily scroll through wishing you could have her life. And for good reason; the girl literally does everything: she DJs for brands like Urban Outfitters; is a regular at 143, an R&B-centric club; models and hosts awards shows, such as the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. If this isn’t enough to make you jealous, Pham’s effortless mixes of Top 40 staples will. Listen here.
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Despite being one of the lesser known DJs on this list, Djlezlee is quickly gaining recognition in California’s competitive DJ scene. Her mixes are very eclectic, incorporating traditional trance and house feels and, of course, heavy drops that would be at home at any major festival.
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Another member of the Soulection fam, Kronika, is an L.A. staple. You can catch her on Soulection’s “Sound of Tomorrow” series where she spins mellowed out remixes of big hip-hop names like Drake. Channeling her gamer past, her tracks are often layered with whimsical beats, reminiscent of video game music. Think “Legend of Zelda” inspired tracks with plenty of reverb and slowed down beats. Get lost in her Soundcloud for those late-night Saturday drives.
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If you haven’t realized it yet, L.A. is the place for up-and-coming DJ collectives, like Athletixx and Soulection. Kittens is a regular among these crews and has even been credited with “reshaping L.A.’s club scene” by Supreme. With that kind of cred, do I even need to go on? Kittens goes off at the turntable, and by this I mean she’s not afraid to experiment with her mixes, sampling everything from good old electro to rap. For the full Kittens experience, check out her HARD Day of the Dead set.
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Tokimonsta might be one of the most commercially successful DJs on this list. You may have seen her on the lineup for festivals such as Coachella and SxSWwhere she wows crowds with her brand of dreamy electronica. Tokimonsta achieved another groundbreaking first in EDM by becoming the first woman to join the L.A. based label BRAINFEEDER. She’s been described as chill wave and glitch-hop, decide for yourself here.
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A classically trained cellist and self-taught DJ, it’s honestly not that surprising that Alison Wonderland has become one of the biggest names in Australian EDM. Her sets are unpredictable, switching between genres as often as you’d swap candies at a festival. Bass, synth and trap heavy, Alison Wonderland’s sets go hard and she def has the energy to match. Watch her live set at EDC 2016 for proof.
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Mija has quite the success story—from being a relatively unknown DJ to being discovered through a chance encounter with Skrillex at Burning Man—her talent has landed her spots at festivals such as Bonnaroo. Her strength is in her remixes, rather than her original pieces but that’s OK because she still kills it anyway. Definitely in the house spectrum of EDM, specifically future house, Mija is set to rule the stage at this year’s HARD Summer. Start listening here so you can be hip and ahead of the crowd.