Welcome to my new interview part of my website called “The State Of Things”
The” state of things” is an interview series conducted by industry veteran Jenifa Mayanja, label owner, producer, singer, songwriter, and dj to showcase a wide range of diverse viewpoints of working as a woman in the music business .
Whether our views converge or diverge this series aims to get to the heart of many burning mysteries and inspire, enlighten many more while create an interesting conversation between as many people who love, listen and work in the music industry as possible.
We are honored to begin our Interview series with DJ/Producer Esther Duijn
Esther Duijn Interview
Our guest this chat is Esther Duijn. I have known of Esther through mutual friendships and socially on facebook probably for two years.
Esther Duijn has released numerous tracks alone and together with her musical partner Steady Douglas as Duijn & Douglas and she has played some of the best clubs in the world.. I share a kinship with Esther as a woman who is shares my wacky sense of humor and as a respected producer who happens to be a woman doing her thing..
So Esther, how would define yourself professionally? If someone asked what you do in the music field how would answer?
I have been involved in electronic music from 11 years old. When I got my first acid tape I was sold and my life changed accordingly.
When people ask me what I do I answer that I make, play, release, live the music I love which is and always has been the deeper side of electronic music. I am thankful I can do the thing I love the most professionally.
Do you have a moment or moments that have shaped how you see yourself as a woman making music.
The thing is, I don’t see myself as a women making or playing music but as a music lover doing music. I don’t define my gender in my sound.
I don’t sell myself as a girl artist though some befriended boy artists sometimes say: “girl you should sell your femine assets more, you are a purty looking girl and you should flaunt it.” If I just only knew how,,. Lol 😉 ..
No I don’t think it should matter whether you are a boy or girl, the most important thing is quality, whatever you do it should be quality wise top notch.
What is the most surprising reaction that you can remember you have gotten upon arriving to a venue for a gig.
It happened, and still happens, that when I come with one of my friends and he happens to be a guy, the artist or promoter shakes his hand, welcomes him and ask him when he is gonna play. I just laugh, let it play out and smirk when they find out it’s actually me they should ask these kind of questions too. I don’t care, it’s just really funny.
Okay lets get to nuts and bolts, it seems nowadays that the terminology “female producer” and the definitions that come with it seem to a trendy thing to support, I have noticed many lists popping up lately with so called top 5’s of the best of the best of whatever the genre, what do you think is driving this trend, boredom or just the natural progression of things?
I am so sorry, I never check these lists and charts and top whatevers.
When there is a release out (my own or the collab releases with Steady Douglas as Duijn&Douglas) – and it pops up (high) in a chart my friends always mail me saying: “heeyyy good job, your release has hit the charts blabla” .. and I am like: “what? Oh yeah?!! AWESOMEEEE!!”
Of course it’s really cool to hit a chart, it shows people appreciate your work but it’s not a driving force in my and our music. Though you want to sell out the vinyl that has been pressed for sure, you know.. For top dj lists and the best of the best, that is just a relative thing isn’t it? There are so many music lovers out there never filling in any forms or shit like that.
Does this gender of being female have a bearing on you consciously or subconsciously in how you formulate your ideas/concepts for your music production?
No… or that is what I think. People do say that girls in general will add sexyness and more emotion to music. But I think there are emotional and sexy boys out there doing the same.. LOL
Sex as a tool has been used through the course of history to advance all types of agendas, do you have an opinion on whether is a truly useful long term weapon in an arsenal of self-promotion or a tiresome distraction or neither of those..Is this something that as women in any profession especially something like the music busines is just part of the terriority
Yeah, it’s true that when you flash your titties you can up your fee with a couple of thousand euro’s / dollars, and if girls want to use thoose assets, why not?
As a women you are automatically jugded more on your looks but in the end it really, really doesn’t matter.
You can be a pretty girl doing good music, you can be a pretty girl doing shit music, you can be normal looking & doing exceptional and you can be normal looking doing shit… simple, right?
Changing gear just for a moment, have you ever experienced a scary moment while traveling as a dj/producer or at a gig
No, really not at all and I have been to Syberia and the Middle East, Canada (not the U.S. though….!! shame shame). And yes, I travel alone but as an artist you do have a privilegde, you get picked up at the airport and people who you never met take good care of you. Also I don’t take dodgy bookings, my booker takes care as well.
Do you feel with other women you know professionally that there is a supportive energy amongst those women or a everyone for themselves kind of vibe..Sometimes it appears some women actually want to run for the hills when other women are also involved in something they are as if this is now going to automatically become a “girls” thing..How does this affect you?
I cannot speak for the global industry of course, I can only speak from what is happening in my world and here the women support each other. For me working together is regardless whether you are a girl or boy. I have been happily working with Steady Douglas for years and he’s a boy. And he is one of my best friends. He could have been a girl but his mum and dad rubbed it the other way, now he’s a boy. LOL.
For doing exclusives based on gender only, that does seem weird to me though. There are a lot of girls out there making totally different kinds of music so there is no need for me to collab with them. I did do remixes for female artists, Johanna Knutsson and La Fleur and that was fun.
If you have to care about what everyone else thinks you probably go nuts. I let the people think what they want, I know what I do is genuinely and made with love, and that is what counts.
Anything else you want to elaborate, any words of advice especially to other up and coming producers..
WORK HARD, NEVER GIVE UP!! EVEN WHEN YOU THINK THE WHOLE WORLD SHITS ON YOU KNOW YOUR STRENGTH, YOUR QUALITY AND KNOW YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Thank you for time Esther
Anytime Luv ❤
Look out for Esther new releases:
Esther Duijn / V.A. release / label TBA (U.S.)
Duijn&Douglas / E.P. / Tact Recordings (DE)
Duijn&Douglas / LTD. 10” (with Aybee Deepblak rmix) / Feelharmonic (GB)
Rick Wade / Funky One (Duijn&Douglas Funky Bunch rmx) / Frole Recordings (IT)
Esther Duijn Upcoming gigs
1 juni Woodlands festival // Retro stage, Alkmaar, NL
14 juni Griessmuehle, Berlin, DE
15 juni Sisyphos, Berlin, DE
22 juni TBA, Stuttgart, DE
29 Juni Full Moon Festival, Tilburg, NL
29 juni After TBA, Amsterdam, NL
6 july All We Want Festival, Graefenthal, DE / NL
13 july Kletsnat Bootrave, Amsterdam, NL
20 july, Sisyphos (TBC), Berlin, DE
28 july TomorrowLand, BE
2 aug Wanted Festival, Chalet, Berlin, DE
The state of things is written by Jenifa Mayanja..