Local DJ Colby B was knocked out by illness when I conducted the roundtable interviews with the women of Ladies' Night featured in this week's edition of Rocket Queen. She's back on her feet and ready to hold down the decks at Neumos tonight (she also spun at the first Ladies' Choice, back in February), so we took some time today to chat about her background, style and observations about the obstacles faced by women on the DJ scene.
How long have you been DJing in clubs? How would you summarize your style?
I've been DJing since 2002, but in the industry since approximately '93. I started [within] the electroclash movement...a bit of the underground, some rock 'n roll, a dash of art, and a lot of beats.
I have evolved and generalize my style as electro, only due to my need for speed (I prefer around 130 bpm) but like any good DJ, I'm open to--and play--all genres, preferably all in one set. You tend to tailor to the event your playing, while working hard to add your own signature...something that leaves a mark no matter what. I've played with hip-hop greats (Spinderella of Salt 'n Pepa), local stars (Modest Mouse), indie cross-over acts (the Presets, La Roux, Ghostland Observatory), '80s legends (the Pet Shop Boys) and electro giants (Deadmau5, Moby), just to name a few. They have all helped mold my career to where it is today.
How was your first experience DJing Ladies' Night?
AMAZING. I'd heard a lot about all of these groups, but it was my first time experiencing most of them, and I was blown away. The crowd also impressed me. Sometimes it's hard to keep people involved and active during an event, and they gave 110%, just like the ladies. It really opened my eyes to a whole new pool of talent here in Seattle, something I should have been more aware of from the beginning.Do you think it's still a bit of a boys' club on the DJ circuit, or are you seeing more space for women to make their mark?
Definitely. I worry that it's a part of the culture, and female DJs are discouraged by the stigma. I'm a strong believer that it doesn't matter what your sex is, what your color is, or who you sleep with, as long as you are passionate about what your doing and your doing it well. Unfortunately, not everyone sees things this way. It's a worldwide problem, being noticed, brought to light and hopefully [addressed]. I attended a panel based on the subject at the Amsterdam Dance Event (Europe's biggest electronic music conference) last year, and it's a struggle being battled everywhere. I feel lucky to have had my roots in the Seattle music industry for so long, being supported, and earning respect along the way. In the past few years, women have been showing their mark on the industry in various ways, hopefully it will continue in this direction and create a more equal playing field for the future.