Text JF. Pierets Photos Peter Jan Kok
She’s an international female Dj, but also a producer and Dj teacher. Active in the club scene since 1996 and currently spending her time between hometown Amsterdam and Cologne, the city where she lives with her wife Giselle. Dreaming of Shanghai and with a preference of playing for the male gay population: a conversation with Dj Bo Monde while she’s preparing for the very first Misfit Festival in Groningen and a gig at the legendary Milkshake.
Tell me how you became a DJ.
I started when I was a kid. I was always occupied with music. Busy playing vinyl’s, making mixed tapes.
For those who still know what tapes (cassettes) are.
Indeed! I still have a lot of those and it was really quite fun. I always wanted to entertain people. I guess it was kind of an escape for me. I had a bit of a hard youth and I always felt good when playing music. It was a way to express myself, to soften the rough edges.
How is it as woman in the DJ-world? Are you treated differently from men?
Definitely! People are like: Oh, a woman? You actually play well ‘for a woman’. Or they say I am the first woman they ever heard playing. Still? Yes, still. And not only in the Netherlands. Currently I am having a lot of gigs in Germany, in Cologne, where my partner lives. I am always on the road for multiple DJ bookings, yet even here, people are surprised that women can do this. You have to prove more since you are always in the minority. You have to work harder. Stand up and show you really want it.
Is that why you are often to be found playing in the drag scene?
I used to organise parties called Getto Girls together with Drag king/performer Sexy Galexy and you can say that the ‘scene’ found me. Before I knew it I was the first woman to play at Club Church (a gay cruise club in Amsterdam).
I love Club Church!
Same here! It was instant love between Church and me. And since they are also the main sponsors of the Drag Olympics, they asked me to play there also. I’m now in my fifth year.
And what’s your favourite audience?
All those who like to party , and those who are really good at that. Like gay men! Because they can let go when they party. They really go into the music, they feel free. People really get loose on those sex and fetish parties. Which is very different from women, who always want to keep control.
Is that the reason why there is no such club for women?
I also think it’s because women have different needs in nightlife. Gay guys have more motivation, libido, stamina, more money. They also spend more on tickets and everything that comes with going to a party. Women like to chat up more. No doubt there are many women who like to dance too, but in my experience that’s not quite as frequent as men do.
Doesn’t it feel weird to play at a sex party for men? As a woman, that is.
In the beginning you have to get used to it, but it didn’t take long before it went very naturally. But it’s indeed kind of special to play for a group of naked men. That’s kind of special. But I am there to play music and I feel honoured when I see people feel free, partly because of my music.
Any funny story?
Sometimes I arrive at the club and the doorman says: ‘sorry, no women tonight’. Then I reply: ‘Ok, no DJ tonight!’
You get across quite shy in real life, yet on a stage you totally aren’t.
I know. It’s something I have to conquer, this shyness. Even though you are shy, you should try to have fun and not be so serious all the time. Making and playing music is something that makes me happy, and it’s always great when I can share that. People also expect a bit of a show. If I’d play with a sad face, it wouldn’t be very uplifting for the partygoers. I very much had to get used to the fact that people are actually looking at you.
I recently had a conversation with a DJ and it disturbed him that nowadays everyone is a DJ. Even Paris Hilton stands on a stage, flickering her iPod, and 2 million people are jumping like crazy. How do you feel about this?
It’s a free profession so everybody can call himself a DJ, just like you can call yourself an alternative doctor. Being a DJ is very popular these days so therefor you have to distinguish yourself. I try to focus on quality and the power to ‘explode’ both small and large parties, music wise, that is. Paris Hilton is a celebrity and that has nothing to do with her DJ qualities. I also give lessons in deejaying and I can tell you that it takes a lot of time to become good.
‘My favourite audiences are all those who like to party and those who are really good at that. Like gay men! Because they can let go when they party. They really go into the music, they feel free.’
How does this work? Do you practice at home?
I used to, yet I’ve been playing non-stop for 15 years now. I play three to four sets a week, sometimes even double, or multiple shows on a day. I like to save the energy for the show itself instead of practicing. But I do spend time looking for new songs and making new sets. I’m constantly checking out new gear, new software. My life evolves around music.
And what about the nightlife? Do you like it?
I like it a lot! It’s a bit more difficult with my wife because she wakes up between 6 and 7 am. She is working a regular job at the moment but she is about to start a B&B in Cologne. So that will all work out fine. By the way, did you know that there live one hundred thousand gays in Cologne?
I had no idea.
It’s a city with a million people, and one hundred thousand of them are gay! The atmosphere is quite special here and it’s nice to feel that you are more protected here, as a gay person, than you are in Amsterdam. I feel very much at home.
What are you future dreams, as a dj?
I would like to play more for the gay scene. It really clicks between gay guys and my music. And it would be a dream come true to play at the pride of Shanghai. And if it all goes according to plan, I will be lined up next year.
It speaks to me. And I would like to see how the scene works there. Being gay has not been accepted yet, it’s something that allegedly does not exist. So it’s all very underground. I myself am from Amsterdam and my city has been really important when it came to gay-emancipation. When you travel, you bring pieces of your own culture to share, but you also get pieces back. There is much to learn.
How will the audience react, next year, in Shanghai?
With enthusiasm, I think. Most places I go, people react enthusiastically. Even if I meet people from China, they are enthusiastic. How nice is that?
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