9 Women in Hard Techno You Should Know
While the adage, “it’s a man’s world,” is entirely tiresome, it still begrudgingly has a hint of truth to it. While women and non-binary artists are gaining more recognition, it’s still difficult to avoid prejudgments based on gender, especially in the music industry.
Today we’re here to celebrate some of the industrious women of the genre. Some women on this list have performed under male-skewing monikers to avoid criticism and fight against harsh stereotypes. These women are an inspiration, not just for female producers but for all artists in the modern techno scene.
Stella Bossi is impenetrably cool. This German DJ is part social media star, part hard techno producer, and–most recently–part record label owner. With dark sunglasses permanently fixed to her modelesque face, she deadpans her way through joyous rave-kid activities on Instagram. Hot boxing inflatable bubbles, leading unicorns into the club, and napping in supermarket freezers are just a few of her specialties. Internet humor aside, her new label, The Beat Must Fuck has a truly innovative approach. She taps her virtual community to vote on which tracks will get a deal. All her releases, including her 2021 hit “Molly for Breakfast,” were released there.
Amelie Lens is a Belgian techno DJ, record producer, and owner of the imprint Lenske. She’s always had a broad taste in music but cites a 2006 festival as the start of her obsession with techno. She started immersing herself in the history of electronic music, clubbing regularly, and teaching herself how to mix. In 2014, she left her career in fashion to pursue music full-time. In 2016, she debuted with her Exhale EP on Italy’s Lyase Recordings. As a resident at Labyrinth Club in Hasselt, she began to curate her own club nights, also under the name Exhale. She’s since taken Exhale experiences to festivals around the world and recorded a mix for fabric London in 2019.
Lilly believes that music is freedom. Well-known for the intriguing energy of her live sets, Lilly Palmer wants, first and foremost, to create a bond with her audience. She became enchanted with the hypnotic rhythms of techno when she was a teenager and said the more she immersed herself in the scene, the more she became addicted. Though this German DJ and techno producer only started releasing original music in 2017, she’s in hot demand these days. After a breakthrough performance at a boutique Netherlands festival called Hrfst introduced her to a slew of new fans, Lilly felt her career began to surge forward. Now based in Amsterdam, she’s touring around Europe, sharing the music that set her soul on fire.
Deborah de Luca
As one of the most impressive talents to emerge from the international techno scene over the past decade, Deborah de Luca is unrivaled in her determination and passion. Raised in one of Naples’ toughest districts, this young Italian came from humble beginnings. She talks earnestly of her early days as a nightclub dancer, telling young artists that nobody should tell them what they can and can’t become. In 2013, the industrious artist launched Sola_mente Records and began releasing music rapidly. In 2018, she celebrated a decade in the business with her first full-length album, Ten. Now regularly referred to as ‘The Techno Queen of Naples,’ Deborah de Luca has left an undeniable mark on the music industry.
The musical career of Monica Kruse spans more than 30 years. In the early 90s, she played a massively influential role in the early Munich rave scene, and she was among the first wave of German techno artists to begin touring internationally. While her earliest sets slanted towards hip hop and funk, she listened closely to the budding techno and house music from the midwestern United States. At the turn of the century, she moved to Berlin and started her label, Terminal M. In the quarter of a century that the label has been active, she’s helped to cultivate some of the genre’s strongest modern talents. These days, Monika is seen as techno royalty and is held in the highest regard by her peers.
Charlotte de Witte
Charlotte is a pioneer, not just for female DJs and producers but for all artists in the modern techno scene. Born in Belgium, she started spinning in 2010. A year later, she won a DJ contest held by a local radio station, giving her a performance slot at the massive Tomorrowland festival. At the time, she was performing under the alias Raving George, attempting to avoid negative presumptions against female DJs. Though she continued regularly releasing music, she didn't use her real name for another five years. Her hits “Doppler,” “Sgadi Li Mi,” and “The Age of Love”–written with her now husband Enrico Sangiuliano–solidified her spot as a trailblazer in the acid techno movement.
Marika Rossa is not afraid to experiment, even if it risks causing a bit of backlash. She comes from the harsh underground of the Ukrainian techno scene, but she’s not held down by any mold. Her daring self-expression shines in her music and style, and it seems to be working. This bold producer, DJ, designer, and businesswoman has already garnered an army of loyal fans worldwide. In 2010 she joined the label Italo Business with the track “Loppestein,” produced together with Dandi & Ugo. Recently, she started her label Fresh Cut. In true “coming out swinging” fashion, Fresh Cut’s first release charted on the Beatport Hard Techno top 100 in less than a week.
DJ Mag once said about ANNA, “DJing feels not so much like something ANNA does, but something she is.” If said about anyone else, it might feel a bit cliché. But for ANNA, it feels fitting. Born in Brazil, she grew up in her father’s popular local nightclub. From a young age, she developed an irrevocable connection to music and permeated herself into the clubbing atmosphere. On the production front, she’s dropped critically acclaimed music on nearly every significant label in techno. In 2019, a richly deserved slot on BBC’s Essential Mix distilled her 20 years of experience into one remarkable masterclass in great techno.
Nicole Moudaber is more than a DJ. She’s also a record label founder, event promoter, radio personality, philanthropist, and advocate for the electronic music community. She began her career as a party promoter in Lebanon before she moved to London to establish herself as a DJ. In 2009, she caught the attention of legendary techno producer Carl Cox, who signed her to his label that year. She’s since started her label, MOOD Records, in addition to her award-winning radio show In The MOOD. With nearly 500 episodes, In The MOOD is broadcast weekly in over 50 countries to over 20 million listeners.
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