Photos by Erez Avissar
On January 8-9, 2015, dance music's coolest girl gang, Discwoman, threw a mini-festival in Mexico City with a killer roster of 11 female DJs. Since it was founded in 2014 by Christine Tran, Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson, and Emma Burgess Olson (AKA Umfang), the NYC-based platform and booking agency has been making waves by championing female-identifying talent within the male-dominated electronic music industry. So far, the unstoppable crew has thrown events with all-women lineups in Brooklyn, Boston, Montreal, Detroit, Philadelphia, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
For their Mexico City edition, Discwoman teamed up with local Mexican booking and creative platform Derré Tidá. 20 percent of profits also went towards the non-profit group GIRE, which works for the defense of reproductive rights—including access to safe and legal abortion—for women in Mexico.
The festival kicked off on Friday afternoon at a cozy hostel where many of the attendees were staying. Reinforcing Discwoman's emphasis on education as empowerment, local DJs Esamipau and Demian Licht conducted two free workshops on CDJs and Ableton respectively. At night, the action moved to a dark and steamy parking garage, where headliner The Black Madonna was joined under an installation of hanging neon lights by NYC DJs Umfang and Volvox, as well as Mexico's Nina Sonik, Demien Licht, and Jenice from Zombies in Miami. Their sets, which veered towards the harder, clanging side of the techno spectrum, were punctuated by whoops and cheers from the enthusiastic crowd; at the end of the night, one local girl breathlessly thanked DJ Volvox for bringing a gritty warehouse-style techno event to the city.
On Saturday afternoon, the festival switched gears to a laidback, daytime garden party at a bar called Jardín Chapultepec. With the scent of BBQ floating through the leafy outdoor patio, guests alternated between munching on burgers and dancing to groovy, Latin-influenced dance music like reggaeton and dancehall from Mexican DJs Esamipau and Puma, and New York's Bearcat, Riobamba and HD. When the festivities wrapped up at 10PM, those left standing headed over to speakeasy-esque nightclub Crom for an afterparty called Asphyxia, where NYC transplants Zakmatic and Nightcoregirl blasted standout sets of screeching hardstyle and gabber.
"I loved seeing how the Mexican talent and production team meshed with what we do in NYC. The Black Madonna's enthusiasm and encouragement made it even sweeter," Umfang said, reflecting on the festival. "Seeing people collaborate on a global level like this is so beautiful and inspiring."
"The team of women in Mexico who worked on this with us just killed it. Lucia Anaya who led the organization team was instrumental in creating the vision we wanted," added Decaiza Hutchinson.
"We couldn't have asked for a better experience here in Mexico," concluded Tran. "It's continually inspiring to work with boss women around the world to make these Discwoman events happen."