While on holiday earlier this year, Bristol-based dubstep artist Enada came up with a concept that would give womxn across the entire bass genre a chance to be seen and heard. Dynamics is a new database designed to showcase artist profiles for womxn in 140-related bass music and drum & bass.
Created by a woman, for womxn, this platform has been built from scratch in the hopes that it will offer a comprehensive overview of all womxn artists across bass music. Enada, real name Deanna, feels that Dynamics is a necessary tool to elevate the names of underrated and established womxn in the scene. With artist profiles, social media links and an ever-expanding catalogue, this site has been designed out of love for not only successful womxn, but great music too.
UKF spoke to Deanna about her shiny new website and why she feels it is a necessary tool, for now, to encourage an entirely equal industry.
Tell us all about Dynamics!
I’ll start from the beginning and how it came about – it was a bit random. Me and my housemate went to Croatia just after lockdown and we were lying on the beach talking about womxn in the industry. I sat there and tried to think about how many womxn producers I could think of across drum and bass. I could think of a fair few, but not loads. I’m mostly involved in 140 and dubstep and there’s barely any womxn in that scene compared to drum & bass, so I just couldn’t think of many producers at all.
It bothered me at the time that I was a woman in the industry that didn’t know more. I’ve always been very supportive of womxn, but I felt like I should know a lot more. I kind of made it my quest when I got home to start a spreadsheet. The more I went into it, the more I thought that it could be so much more than a spreadsheet. There were so many amazing womxn on there that deserved to be put on a platform, so I wanted to turn it in to a website.
Originally it was just going to be a database, a website that you could break down by DJ, producer or vocalist, and then look under a particular genre such as the drum and bass section or the dubstep section. Then I thought, it would be really nice to use the platform as a blog as well, so I’ve managed to get a team of writers to write about various things, I’m leaving it quite free, whether it be feminism, new releases or just general music. I’m trying to design the website to be as user-friendly as possible. It has a gallery as well of womxn performing and I’m crediting the photographers so that they can receive appreciation, too.
Is it just going to be the website, or are there plans to expand?
At the moment I’m looking into running two launch events, a drum and bass one and a dubstep one. I want to get more womxn on line-ups as well and showcase all the amazing womxn that we have on the site, because there’s so many. With coronavirus, it’s proving a little bit difficult to secure a venue and get artists at the moment as everyone is wary of cancellations. I’m also doing a collaboration event with Keeno for one of his mix sessions in Bristol, I’ve got a few people from the Dynamics page to come on that line-up as well.
Everything is more difficult at the moment!
Yeah, but I do also feel that if coronavirus hadn’t happened, I don’t know if I would have come up with this idea.
A blessing in disguise in some ways…
It has been. I think across the scene there has been a few instances where there has been more discussion around womxn in the scene throughout the pandemic, as people have had more time to talk about it and push the narrative. It’s been really great to see.
Our feature on female artists came earlier in the year and also triggered those kinds of discussions.
These conversations need to be had around womxn in the scene. I saw the comments on that piece, and it bemused me that some people didn’t agree with the message. It has made me nervous to release Dynamics, because I am fully aware that my approach with the website might not be to everyone’s taste. But I am really excited to release it, but there is a part of me that is feeling a little bit anxious about the way it could be received by certain people, but that’s fine. I’m not expecting everyone to agree with me.
Those who don’t agree with or support your movement won’t be welcome in your community anyway. There’s nothing ‘woke’ about wanting everyone to have a platform and a voice in this scene.
Exactly. One of our values as a part of Dynamics is ‘Equity now and Equality tomorrow’. We believe that by being fair and impartial now, it will lead to equality across the scene in the future.
You were also a member of KCDC, a collaborative group with three other women in the scene. Has being a part of such an empowered group motivated you to do more?
Working with such independent and strong women really fuelled a fire in me to want to help womxn that are rising through the ranks as well. When I joined KCDC I was actually fairly unknown – it was the people that I was working with that were quite established. It felt really amazing to be given an opportunity by these women and they sort of took me under their wing. I felt very supported by them, so I want to do the same with Dynamics for other womxn. We are going to put quite a strong emphasis on helping people that want to raise their profile and give them opportunities to have features on their music so that they can be showcased to a wider audience.
Another thing that changed for me was when I moved to Bristol. I lived in Luton before and it’s a small place with barely a music scene, except for the amazing Katie Koven, so when I moved to Bristol I was suddenly surrounded by really empowering womxn. I’ve never really been around womxn who are doing the same things as me, so it opened up a new world to me and it felt like ‘wow!’. I did also see the bad side of it. I was also witnessing a lot of amazing womxn that weren’t getting the opportunities that I felt they should be getting, so it was quite a conflicting feeling. I wanted to do more, and I wasn’t really sure how until Dynamics came about, which was like a lightbulb moment for me. I’ve had so many lovely messages from people saying thank you for creating it.
That’s what it’s about! You need to be with likeminded people so you can work together to make positive change.
I’ve had great opportunities to be around great womxn. For example, Collette Warren, she’s a very good friend of mine, and my housemate Kyrist as well. They have been massively supportive of me.
Do you think the concept of Dynamics is something that you would’ve benefitted from when you were trying to break through?
Yeah. I think that having somewhere that people can go and see all of these womxn in one place can only be a positive thing. You could be looking for somebody in particular or generally just scrolling to find someone who plays a specific style or is close to you geographically, but then stumble across somebody completely different and think they are amazing. Having a platform where you can find all of these amazing womxn will be really beneficial, especially for those who are trying to get more exposure as they can end up next to some established artists on the same platform.
You hinted that there is a real lack of womxn representation in other scenes such as dubstep. As a 140 artist, was it important that you bring other womxn in underrepresented scenes into the limelight?
Definitely. 140 was always my first love in music, and drum and bass came as a secondary thing for me. There is no exclusion in 140, it’s not like that, there just isn’t the conversation around womxn in the way that there is in genres like drum and bass. There are a lot fewer women in 140. In drum and bass there are organisations like the Hospital group, Red Bull and lots of other amazing pages, but there is nothing at all like that in dubstep.
When I contacted a lot of womxn in dubstep, they have all been really grateful that something like this has come around for them. I’ve never felt like I’ve been pushed out in dubstep at all, but because there isn’t the conversation going on, I think people maybe don’t think about it as much. Unlike in drum and bass, where it is quite a hot topic and there are lots of people writing and talking about it.
Hopefully Dynamics can trigger those conversations within difference scenes.
I would say that this is probably the first proper platform in 140/dubstep – there are small groups online, but nothing like this.
It’s even more important that it’s coming from a female artist within the scene itself – I think that makes it more authentic.
Yeah. Another thing with Dynamics is that I’m funding it all myself and I haven’t taken any money from anyone – it’s not something that I ever really want to make money from either. It’s just there as a resource to help people.
How do you think this platform will encourage all womxn, not just cis women?
I have contacted a lot of non-binary people and the website is advertised as womxn and non-binary. I really hope that this will give people the opportunity to get involved – I completely welcome everybody. There is a contact form on the page that people can input all of their social media info, name, SoundCloud links and any messages on, and then send it to the Dynamics email address, which we will be constantly checking to see who is submitting. It’s important to remember that this is a work in progress. We are always going to be uploading more profiles. I hope that all types of womxn will contact us so that we can upload their profiles as that’s what we really want – more people from the LGBTQ+ community.
What is the end goal for Dynamics, or are you just letting it naturally evolve?
To be honest, I hope that the database doesn’t need to exist forever. I hope that it won’t be necessary in a few years’ time and we will be in a place where there will be complete equality and a database isn’t needed, as people will have listened to the conversations and spoken up. I hope Dynamics will form into something completely different and we can get rid of the database – maybe a magazine or a label? I don’t know! I really don’t want it to be a database for too long. While it is necessary, we will keep adding people and keep advocating for womxn.
It’s a bittersweet concept – it’s a shame that these things are necessary, but you can only focus on the positives and hope that it encourages good.
Once the narrative changes, there are so many different things that Dynamics could turn in to. I don’t know yet, but I am open to changing the dynamics of it!
When can we expect to see the site launched?
It’s live right now. We’re just polishing things at the moment. We have contacted over 200 people as I wanted to specifically ask each individual for their permission to use their profiles and ask for their press packs. We have pretty much uploaded everything now and most people got back to us. I’ve had to postpone the launch twice already due to the volume of work and there have been points where I have thought ‘what have I done’, but I have really enjoyed doing it and I’ve been introduced to so many amazing womxn as well. It’s been a lot of work, but I have had help from Collette Warren, my housemate Kirsty (Kyrist) and my friend Averil (Averse). I think it’s important that I mention them as they really helped me get this off the ground.