DJ Culture, in Detroit and elsewhere, is male-dominated: VICE Magazine reports that women make up under 10% of all DJs at music festivals. There is also a high barrier to entry — the cost of equipment can be prohibitive, and as beginners, women are less likely to have access to technical mentorship, practice space and booking opportunities. In April 2016, we rose to this challenge by launching our first workshop series: Beat Match Brunch, a month-long introduction to the fundamentals of the art form for aspiring female-identified DJs. The first workshop, facilitated by Detroit DJ Mother Cyborg, had to turn away about half of the applicants, which highlights the series’ potential to breathe fresh air into the city’s electronic music scene.
In April 2016, we invited eight women with diverse musical tastes and cultural backgrounds to learn how to use turntables, handle, select and “read” vinyl records, isolate sounds, and use BPMs to beat-match, all in a supportive and collaborative environment. Following the end of the workshop, several of the DJs have continued to independently borrow equipment, organize practice sessions, and perform at dozens of events around town. We will be hosting the next round of workshops, for 12 people this time, in September 2017. Additionally, Seraphine Collective hopes that the Beat Match Brunch program will become self-sustaining, with graduates teaching later generations and performing at fundraising events. In short, it’s been awesome, and we are so excited to lay the groundwork for this workshop to become a permanent part of Seraphine Collective’s programming, and a fixture in the Detroit music scene.
Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (September 2017)