Among DJs, it’s still a man’s world. But that’s not the case Friday 7, when four fiercely talented women share Spy Bar’s DJ booth. The latest showcase from Spy Bar's Dino G and promoter Nadia Podolsky (VOLATL) focuses on the deep tech-house of Chicago highlights Kate Simko and Sasha Navarro, as well as rising Brooklyn star Deniz Kurtel and Cassy, a resident at Berlin’s famed Panorama Bar. We chatted up the night’s headlining ladies to learn more about how they cut to the fore of a testosterone-fueled industry.
After leaving Vienna, Cassy Britton, 37, emerged in the Berlin techno scene with a residency at hedonistic party mecca Panorama Bar that began in 2003. There the self-described “vinyl girl” made a name for herself with marathon sets that connected the worlds of minimal and soulful, techno and house.
Her start “It was actually another woman, Electric Indigo; she’s a great techno DJ. I was hanging out with her and coming along to parties, and it was more or less her idea that I should start deejaying.”
Aha moment “Subconsciously I knew that this was something that I could be really good at, but I never had this, oh my God, this is what I should be doing. I have that now. Now I’m like, fuck, this is exactly the right job for me.”
Producing “I’ve always been interested in it. I bought my first machine at some point and had the help of my friends in explaining certain technical aspects. Then it was just learning by doing. It’s been a long process.”
Essential listeningCassy in the Mix: Simply Devotion (Cocoon Recordings).
From the soul-sampling funkiness of Trus’me’s “Good God” to the sparse tech workout of her own “Magnificent Cat Won’t Do,” this DJ mix is a pristine snapshot of Cassy’s versatility as a selector and DJ.
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Deniz Kurtel couldn’t have started off further from where she is now. Born in Turkey, the 31-year-old moved to D.C. and then New York, following a path that led from economics at Georgetown to a master’s in public policy. After discovering LED art through Zev Eisenberg of Gotham City left-field house outfit Wolf + Lamb, she gave up academia to make art installations and music.
Her start “I met [Wolf + Lamb’s Eisenberg and Gadi Mizrahi] six or seven years ago at one of the first parties that they threw at the Marcy Hotel in Brooklyn. I just started hanging out with them and we clicked. I moved in with them and we’ve been friends, like family, since.”
Art and music “I’m sure it’s coming from the same place. I don’t push myself to be a certain way in either one. They are coming out pretty naturally, so it makes sense that they have a similar mood to one another.”
Producing “I don’t know if I have a conscious plan on what I want to do. Whatever comes out comes out. I get that a lot, that my music is a bit dark. I’m actually not that dark of a person. Maybe my dark side comes through the music because I suppress it in normal circumstances.”
Essential listeningMusic Watching Over Me (Crosstown Rebels). Kurtel’s debut record touches on vibrant deep house, quirky techno and even haunting 2-step. It leaves little doubt she’s found her true calling.
Cassy and Kurtel join Chicago’s female guard at Spy Bar on Friday 7.