The gender disparity of DJ culture is nothing new. What is new is that consistently more and more women are joining the ranks of the top elite DJs. Enter Liaison Femme, a creative collective compromised exclusively of female DJs such as Venus X, Mia Moretti, Sam Ronson, Creep, Gina Turner, Louisahhh, DJ Kiss, Jasmine Solano, Justine D., Kitty Ca$h, and many more. The group was founded by Grace Lee, who performs under the moniker G*LEE, has been DJing professionally since she was 14.
Through her early initiation into the nightlife culture, Lee (who would skip school to visit the famed Hip-Hop store, Fat Beats) was able to experience first hand the discrepancy when it came to the DJ community: “It was always a Boys Club– It’s this male driven industry, there wasn’t any females. I was frustrated because I knew that I could [DJ] and I knew what I was capable of,” Lee said recently over a phone call.
Lee started out at a young age, DJing while participating in Julliard Music Composition and simultaneously going to high school, she began attending the prestigious Clive Davis Music program at NYU eventually transferring to the Eugene Lang New School to study her “core passion in life,” philosophy. This time period would be informative as to how the then 21-year-old would come to view the landscape of DJ culture. “It definitely started at an early age because I was observing. It was like an observation desk for me, the [early] years I was in the industry and hanging with all my mentors–who were all male. A little longer into my career I [started to come] across female DJs and I felt like it was a manifesto, giving me a sign that it was time.”
A few years ago she started to quietly establish Liaison Femme, whose initial mission was simply to get some attention for the ladies. “Obviously it’s a market and if we debuted and said ‘Hey look at us- we are all females and we are going to start doing all female parties now’ that’s a niche, that’s not a vision. That comes from an impatient virtue and obviously not what we want,” she admits. So the collective remained incognito for two years, making its official debut last year. Triggered by a comment Maluca made after a performance, Lee recalls, “She was just saying how great it was to see this come together and watch the beginning of this movement. That’s when it clicked–this is a movement.” Lee and the others quickly realized they were surpassing their initial intent as a pedestal for female DJs and decided to expand their mission to include female artists outside of DJ culture and nurture a collaborative atmosphere with other like-minded projects.
Recently, Liaison Femme has been working on their first partnership with the downtown retail shop Oak, producing two videos starring members of the group. Filmed by director Awol Erizku who has shot for A$AP Rocky, the DJs were separated into two sections: The Alphas and The Omegas.
Part I “Alpha” features DJs Jasmine Solano and Kitty Cash
Part II “Omega” features DJs G*LEE, Lauren Flax (Creep), Jubilee (Mixpak), and Kristen Oshiro.
Click for portraits of Liaison Femme
All photos by Jayne Lies