In recent times, there has been a rise in female collectives aiming to turn the tide and highlight the stigmas and stereotypes that the female part of the British population endure.
Not Bad For A Girl are one of them, born out of Strawberry Jam – a night created by Fuse FM and the women’s group Bloody Good Period. The night hosted an array of female talent, young and old, veterans and newbies to create a sense of female community whilst raising money and donating sanitary products for female refuges.
Daisy Wilson McNeil, known as DaiSu, was one of those newbies. With only a few months of experience and a determination to do more, Daisy has always possessed a musical gene which was switched on when she had her first taste of playing an instrument – the humble recorder.
As we sit in my kitchen we discuss all things from turmeric tea (which I’d bought on a whim because it was half price), to Dickies clothing.
Interestingly, Daisy revealed before she picked up deejaying she’d experienced a lull in her relationship with music. “I didn’t really do anything music related for a while, but I always fancied giving DJ-ing a go.”
“Then a friend who was a keen musician, who I lived with, helped me learn the basics. It was fun and once I started, I began engaging with music in a different way. I don’t mean that in a pretentious manner; you notice elements that you didn’t before and that can be the same for a lot of musicians. It makes you pay attention to those elements – you pick up on all these layers and that’s probably why a lot of people who DJ also produce.”
Specialising in house and disco, Daisy feels that it’s impossible for her to stick to one genre and takes the opportunity to branch out whenever she can, testing her musical prowess.
“Disco is so widely liked and it’s had a bit of revival which I really really enjoyed. It almost has a weird overlap with house music in some ways, you get a lot house producers remixing disco songs and it works so well, the two genres mesh so nicely. I’m now sort of moving into techno, it’s a progression.”
Many aspects of life and society evolve over time, especially music. Unfortunately the people behind some of the biggest tracks continue to be overwhelmingly male. The same can be said for the DJ scene itself, typically viewed as a male role, this fact is only strengthened when looking at mainstream DJs in today’s music.
“I’ve become more aware of it since I’ve started deejaying, you look at line ups and it is all just men or there’s one woman. On a local level it’s not super inviting if you’re a woman, but it seems more inclusive the higher up you go, it’s harder to break into but I think people assume the reason women aren’t in [the] deejaying [industry] is that women aren’t interested and it’s more that women are socialised in a way that tells them that deejaying and producing is what boys do.”
“Women aren’t socialised in a way that encourages them towards those things in the same way that there aren’t many women in engineering.”
It’s because of this that Daisy and fellow female DJs; ThtGrl, Kiana, Maracuya, Velmz, Moll and Egg on Toast created the Manchester-based, all female DJ collective, Not Bad For A Girl. Dedicated to providing a space where women can hone their craft together and support one another it embodies the concept of strength in numbers.
“It was nice meeting other female DJs all of them had been doing it longer than I had and it was really good to speak to them.”
Strawberry Jam was a night of firsts in another way for Daisy, as she played her first set live to the public. Though there were a few technical hitches it gave her valuable first hand experience of what can go wrong but also how deejaying can be a blast.
“It was traumatising for the first few minutes but I was like you know what everyone has told me that the first gig is something that goes horribly wrong. Having that happen just meant my next event at Hatch was so chill and straightforward.”
The power of having a female collective in this scene is that it allows like-minded women grow and fight the stereotype that men are only the DJs and women only sing the lyrics. Meaning that women such as Daisy can reach their full potential without fear of unnecessary scrutiny.
To see what all the fuss is about, Not Bad For A Girl will be collaborating with the supreme, Me Gusta, at YES on August 31st.
To keep up-to-date you can follow Not Bad For A Girl here
And see our after-video for A Strawberry Jam here.