22.10 Entertainment is Dubai’s first single-sex music collective. Becky Lucas meets the city’s female DJs
Last year, local DJ Lady Red Label (aka Louise Pyne-Jones) noticed that there were more female DJs in Dubai than ever – but she barely knew any of them. She decided to form a collective to promote, enhance and develop a network of female DJs from across the region, both to create a community and to put DJs in touch with potential clients. Now they hold a monthly night at Chi called Pink. Here we meet some of the members.
What was the inspiration behind 22.10? Lady Red Label: I noticed there were lots more girl DJs than ever before. So I thought: Why not try to get everybody together? Also, there was demand. Dubai is probably one of the only places in the world where you have single-sex parties. I was getting asked specifically for female DJs to play at these all-ladies events. Sister Rock: A lot of Emirati women have their parties at home. There’s all-female catering, music… everything.
What does the name 22.10 mean? Lady Red Label: You could say it’s a time – that it’s 20 past 10 and the club’s just kicking off – but it’s actually just my birthday. [Lots of laughing]
Apart from the obvious, what do you think is the difference between male and female DJs? Lady Red Label: Some male DJs are not as emotional, although there are a couple that are – their feelings come across while they’re playing.
How do people react to you as women DJs? Deejay Snezana: It’s funny. I turn up and my husband sets up my equipment and people are like, okay, so when are you going to start? And I’m like, ‘Actually, I’m the DJ.’
Sister Rock: We’re in the minority. Not just here, but internationally.
Do you experience any prejudice for being a girl DJ? Sister Rock: You often get guys hanging around the decks for the end of the night.
DJ Miss PM: Once, in Abu Dhabi, I was playing and some guy came up to me and just started chatting me up. My music stopped and I was so upset that I called security.
DJ Venus: You often have to prove yourself, because sometimes they book you just because you’re a girl.
Deejay Snezana: I think people are intrigued, overall, by DJs. Especially female DJs.
DJ Trina: But there’s always that question: can she really do it? Can she pull it off? Most people think: Oh, a female DJ is playing, she’ll be topless!
Deejay Snezana: At the end of the day, if you’ve got your technical game down, no one can touch you.
Do you face any prejudice from male DJs? DJ Miss PM: Actually, they welcome us. Male DJs always tell me: ‘You’re female – you’ve got an edge because there are not a lot of you guys, so use it.’
Which famous female DJs do you really rate? DJ Trina: I really got serious about DJing when I first saw DJ Shorty. She can do everything, from beat juggling with her elbows to doing everything with her back against the turntables. It was so inspiring.
How do you feel about requests? Deejay Snezana: I love requests. I’ve had people come up and ask for a song and it’s changed my whole night.
Sister Rock: I get annoyed when I do rock nights and people say: ‘Can we have some R&B?’ You have to tell them it’s not going that way!
Would you ever play ‘I Will Survive’? DJ Miss PM: I had to play that three times on New Year’s Eve. A lot of teenagers asked for it. And they took all the balloons and sucked out the helium and started singing in high-pitched voices like Chandler did on Friends.
Do you have a favourite female anthem? DJ Trina: Mine is kind of inappropriate, but for hip hop nights a lot of girls tend to enjoy Salt-n-Pepa’s ‘Push It’ – they go crazy!
Sister Rock: Salt-n-Pepa are so underrated! I played ‘Whatta Man’ the other day.
DJ Miss PM: And there’s really nothing wrong with a bit of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’.
The next Pink night at Chi is on July 6 with DJ Shadia from Virgin Radio Jordan, plus the 22.10 ladies featured here.
Deejay Snezana See her at: Models & Bottles at Club 8 in Abu Dhabi; M-Dek at Media One in Dubai
Lady Red Label See her at: Lots of prom and graduation parties, and is organising monthly Pink nights at Chi
DJ Miss PM See her at: Private events. Working on OFF the Cuff project (a monthly minimal tech night at Alpha)
Sister Rock See her at:Aussie Legends’ ’80s night every Thursday, plus various one-off events