This week we put the spotlight on some of our favourite female DJs and producers from Asia.
Peggy Gou (Korea – Berlin)
Born and raised in Korea, Peggy moved to study fashion in London and subsequently, Berlin where she now resides. 2016 was an incredibly busy year for the DJ as it saw the release of her debut EP, ‘The Art of War Part 1’, which also included a remix from Galcher Lustwerk (White Material, Lustwerk Music). Not long after, she released her fourth EP, ”Seek For Maktoop” which translates to ‘looking for destiny’ and it cemented her position as one of electronic music’s hottest new rising stars. Now with four EPs under her belt, 2017 will see Peggy, who celebrates her first year of being a full-time DJ and producer, not only releasing more music but will also embark on her first North American tour.
Jennifer Lee otherwise known as TokiMonsta is a beatmaker and producer, born and raised in the bay area of Los Angeles, California. Her name “Toki” derives from the Korean word Rabbit, while Monsta is a take on the word Monster. In 2010, TokiMonsta caught the attention of Flying Lotus and later became the first female DJ to be signed to the Brainfeeder label. She released her forth album, Fovere in 2016, featuring fellow Californian producer Krne as well as rapper Anderson Paak. She will be dropping her new compilation album ‘Young Art Sound’ on 3 February 2017 which will feature other artists such as Gavin Turek and Jesse Boykins III.
Chao Hsin-Lei (趙心蕾) aka DJ RayRay of Taiwan spun her way into the hip hop scene at the tender age of 15. The Taipei native, whose musical style can be described as hip hop, trap and bass, was crowned champion of the 2013 Red Bull Thre3style DJ competition and presented Taiwan to the international circuit in Toronto at the International DJ Championship. RayRay has since garnered a worldwide following, having been invited to perform at SXSW in 2013 and 2016, ADE in Amsterdam in 2015, Glastonbury UK Festival in 2016, and the Midem France Music Festival in 2016. RayRay is largely inspired by hiphop music and by counts artists J Dilla, DJ Shadow and Hifana as her biggest influences. 2017 will see RayRay working towards putting out an EP and to continue touring worldwide throughout the year.
Born in Korea and raised in Tokyo, YonYon originally started her career with her band, KOTOBA SELECT. The beatmaker, DJ and booking agent can be described as sounds influenced by the likes of R&B, hip-hop to the inclusiveness of Japanese indie pop and J-pop melodies, creating an innovative complex sound that is refreshingly simple. Her eclectic DJ mixes have since allowed her to amass global attention, playing at shows in Berlin, Shanghai, New York and more.YonYon is also the director of “Bae Tokyo”, a creative agency that emboldens women by providing for DJs and artists regardless of race, ethnicity and sexual identity. Spring of 2017 will also see the release of YonYon’s new EP.
Jayda B (Japan)
Jayda B is a radio personality, DJ and music curator originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She moved to Japan in 2009, having enrolled at the Tokyo Temple University and hasn’t looked back since. With a strong background in radio, having interned at Hot 97 radio station in her home city of Atlanta, it propelled her to start her own radio platform DENTRADIO, focusing on showcasing new talent on a global and bilingual platform. Jayda is also the founder of the “Bae Tokyo” project, bringing the movement from Atlanta to Tokyo. 2017 is shaping up to be a busy year for their crew, as they start to prepare to go on tour to promote their ‘Bae Tokyo” brand.
Serene Ong aka DuriO is part of Singapore based all female DJ collective Attagirl together with A/K/A, Jaydah, Empyreal (VJ) and Fatim from KL. Her curiosity for DJ-ing was sparked off at an early stage and she was the given the opportunity to be mentored by some of Singapore’s prominent DJs under the FFF Girl DJ Bootcamp.
DuriO’s musical repertoire ranges has varied over the years, but she says is now mostly made up of Bass-centric genres under the UK Bass umbrella such as UK Garage, Grime, Jungle, and a touch of Reggae-Dancehall. DuriO recommends other female DJs Madam X (UK), Amy Becker (UK) as well as all-female DJ collectives such as Bae Tokyo and Riot Girls from Japan and Bichinda from Korea. Her music has taken her globally, playing at events such as the Outlook Japan Launch party and Zoukout in 2016 and most recently Seoul Community Radio.
Sonia Calico (Taiwan)
Born and bred in Taiwan, DJ and producer Sonia Calico was originally one half of Taiwanese electronic female rock group Go Chic. With Go Chic, Sonia managed to win various international awards including The Golden Indie Award for “Best Electronic Music Album 2014” and played at huge music festivals including SXSW, Summer Sonic and Fuji Rock.
After Go Chic went on a hiatus, she ventured out to do her solo project under the Calico moniker, blending an edgier sound comprising of chill trap, bass, hip hop, grime, footwork etc. Sonia’s musical influences include labels such as N.A.A.F.I,Her Records, Qween Beat and producers like Florentino and Sinjin Hawke. She has also helped with the formation of music collective UnderU as she helped to promote and nurture the scene by throwing unique parties featuring acts such as Beijing’s Howie Lee, Singapore’s Darker Than Wax and UK’s Deadly & Murlo to name a few. We can look forward to the release of Sonia’s debut EP as well as afro-rhythm productions coming our way in 2017!
Amber Akilla (Australia)
Amber Akilla is an up-and-coming DJ from Perth, Western Australia who was born to Chinese parents from Fujian. As a huge fan of artists from from labels such as Brainfeeder, Bromance, Dohits, Ninja Tune, Trekkie Trax, the DJ’s sets usually consist of musical genres of contemporary hip hop, R&B, grime, future dance and bass music. Amber is also a huge fan of female and LGBTQI MCs such as Princess Nokia, Cakes Da Killa, Nadia Rose and Dai Burger to name a few.
Having recently graduated with a double degree at University, 2017 will see Amber exploring into the deeper realms of Asia; China, Japan and Korea in particular to produce more works and music.