In the electronic music industry, women DJs are few and far between. Director Stacey Lee looks at the issues women in the electronic music scene face in her award-winning 2020 documentary Underplayed.
From Wendy Carlos, who scored Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and The Shining, to Canadian DJ sensation REZZ, Lee interviews several artists who reveal their struggles within the DJ world to gain respect and recognition. There’s also the cold, hard fact that in 2019, only 5% of women were on the top 100 DJ list of the world. The women talk about motherhood on the road, creating a safe space for queer music fans of colour, and are always looking for ways to uplift musicians who may not have had the chance to thrive. Most importantly, the DJs make it a priority to preserve their mental health in a sea of male peers.
You’ll be spoiled with the music featured in this documentary. From drum and bass stylings by Britain’s Sherelle, Louisahhh’s industrial punk techno sounds, to progressive house duo Nervo, there’s something for every EDM fan. These women and their music defy categorization since they experiment and push the envelope with technology and inclusion. Underplayed is an important documentary for any music fan to learn about women’s contribution to electronic music and learn how they continue to make space for those pursuing their musical dreams.