Not Just A Boys Club: A Talk With The Jane Doze About Why The Dance Music Isn’t Just For Dude DJs
“This is our first original [song] and we’ve been wanting to put out an original track for a long time.” Claire is one half of up-and-coming EDM group The Jane Doze. “We started writing with that intent probably over a year ago, but we wanted to make sure that the song really spoke to who we are as a brand, the fact that we love pop music and great toplines. So I think it took some time to get there, but when ‘Lights Go Down’ happened we knew it was the song.”
In 2013, Claire and Jen — the other half of The Jane Doze — set out to have music be their full-time careers. “In 2013 we quit our day jobs to pursue The Jane Doze full time and that was the riskiest decision we’ve ever made,” says Jen. “’Lights Go Down’ and its lyrics speak to that in a sense. The lyrics discuss the realities of life — how bad things occasionally happen and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise. These moments make us who we are and teach us how it important it is to show up and be there for other people when they’re having their own ‘lights go down’ moments.”
‘Lights Go Down’ is a statement record not only meant inspire fans, but also to signal that these two ladies know how to throw down.
“We saw an opportunity. Dance music in general is a boys club. When we started The Jane Doze, we didn’t see many women who we felt like we could personally relate to, so we set out to create this sort of accessible girl next door kind of vibe.”
In an exclusive interview with BroBible, The Jane Doze share sentiment about these systematic imbalances between female and male DJs, which Claire says, “it’s something we [The Jane Doze] feel really passionately about.” With several forthcoming releases, and an upward trajectory in the world of dance music, The Jane Doze are artists to keep on your radar.
BroBible: What is the vision behind your latest single “Lights Go Down?”
Claire: This is our first original [song] and we’ve been wanting to put out an original track for a long time. We started writing with that intent probably over a year ago, but we wanted to make sure that the song really spoke to who we are as a brand, the fact that we love pop music and great toplines. So I think it took some time to get there, but when “Lights Go Down” happened we knew it was the song.
Jen: In 2013 we quit our day jobs to pursue The Jane Doze full time and that was the riskiest decision we’ve ever made. “Lights Go Down” and its lyrics speak to that in a sense. The lyrics discuss the realities of life – how bad things occasionally happen and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise. These moments make us who we are and teach us how important it is to show up and be there for other people when they’re having their own ‘lights go down’ moments.
What were you doing before you started DJing and then which factors pushed you into dance music specifically?
Claire: I was at a music management company. This was back in 2010. I was still in school. Jen was at a record label, and we had a mutual boy band. We met through that band in the summer of 2010 in a recording studio. The Jane Doze started as a fun hobby, just us making music together, and then about 6 months later we came out with a name and a logo. Somebody was like “where can we see you live,” which hadn’t even crossed our minds. That’s when we went out, bought DJ Gear, taught ourselves how to spin, and it kind of took off from there.
Jen: We saw an opportunity. Dance music in general is a boys club. When we started The Jane Doze, we didn’t see many women who we felt like we could personally relate to, so we set out to create this sort of accessible girl next door kind of vibe. It’s not heavily centered around partying or high fashion. It falls somewhere in the middle – and we hope other women that are considering doing this can look at us and see something accessible and attainable.
Did you guys see a niche for The Jane Doze before you decided to leave your day jobs and go with music full time?
Claire: Definitely. We did then and we still do. Like we said, we didn’t really see ourselves represented by anybody who was out there, so that’s why we kind of set off on this journey and we’re still kind of forging that path and trying to be that kind of role model for somebody else.
Who were some of your influences growing up? Which artists and styles of music did you listen to the most?
Jen: We had different upbringings musically speaking. There was a crossover in the pop space, and that’s something we both still really love. I grew up with my dad always playing Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, and Fleetwood Mac.
Claire: My dad had CD cases full of every Motown compilation ever created. That’s what I grew up listening to. My mom was more the Joni Mitchell, Eagles type. But I definitely listened to a lot of radio when I was younger too. I think everybody has those moments where songs bring them back to something – that’s what I like about listening to popular music – it’s like a timestamp. I remember the song Meredith Brooke’s ‘B*tch’ being the first song I ever loved, so hearing it takes me right back to a very specific year.
Jen: The cool thing is that when Claire and I were getting to know each other, we learned about our different musical backgrounds. We started out in the mashup space I think this diversity made our tracks unique. Things Claire would think to put with other things weren’t necessarily what would’ve come to mind for me. Between the two of us, we have a pretty large music library.
As artists where do find your inspiration for songs like “Lights Go Down” or other mashups that you make? Is your music just for specifically for the club or do you have festivals in mind too? Where do you see your music going or what do you have in mind?
Jen: It depends on the track. We make edits for our sets because we’re trying to cater to college and club crowds, so music that people can really dance and lose their minds to. I think for our originals, especially “Lights Go Down” we were trying to create a little something more. It does have that Jane Doze drop, but in the topline we were really trying to say something meaningful, something with pop sensibility. I think some people are scared of that mainstream sort of radio success and to us that’s what we’re after. We would love to hear something we’ve written and produced on the radio.
Claire: Going back to what inspired us, we spend a lot of our time on blogs, on hypemachine, and we have a lot of friends who are musicians. We’re surrounded by a lot of great music and people. We love keeping up with hypemachine and finding new artists, new songs, and new sounds. We’re also glad to live in New York and be able to see live music every night of the week.
Jen: I so agree with that. You’re going to see a lot of that influence on the stuff that will be coming out within the next few months. We’re trying to bring new voices into the dance space – we’ve worked with a lot of vocalists in the indie-pop space. “Lights Go Down” is the most progressive leaning track we have. The rest will be exciting because they’re a little different.
Besides your own music, do you have a favorite song or artist right now?
Claire: ‘Lovesick Fuck’ by Mura Masa is amazing. That’s my like current jam.
Jen: I am super into this band Prinze George from Brooklyn, New York. They have this song called ‘Victor’ and it’s awesome.
Claire: All we listen to when we’re together is “Lean On.”
So, DJ Snake and Diplo were both at Ultra. Ultra was a great time, but I think one thing that you notice about the lineup is that even Krewella wasn’t DJing. NERVO was in Miami, but they weren’t at Ultra. Could you just talk us through reasons why the explosion, in EDM, hasn’t attracted more female DJs?
Claire: Sure, we would be very happy to speak to this. It’s something we feel really passionately about. The first thing I want to clear up is the misconception that there’s like a lack of female talent. That’s just not true. There are so many talented women making amazing electronic music and I think the lack of female representation at festivals has less to do with a deficit of female talent and more to do with the fact that EDM is a boys club. Booking agencies represent far less female talent than male talent and festival bookers kind of perpetuate that discrepancy. From personal experiences we can tell you that it’s not uncommon for booking agencies to rep 15 similar looking guys who make and play the same sort of music, but only want to represent one woman because they feel like she’s the marquee female talent. So there’s this idea there’s only room for one woman at the table, which is just not true and needs to change. Women have to work twice as hard. It’s important for women in the space to foster a collaborative (and not competitive) environment.
Jen: Totally. We worked with a really talented videographer on the video for “Lights Go Down,” which is coming out soon. She also does some graphic design work. Something we worked on together was just taking a bunch of big festival line-ups from this year and created a ‘before and after’ – what the lineups would look like when you remove all of the male talent. It’s pretty insane to look at.
Claire: Counterpoint has no women on its main lineup this year. There are a few playing the silent disco.
Jen: The thing we’ve noticed specifically on this topic, is that there seem to be a lot of men at the top of the game who take younger guys under their wing in a mentorship capacity. You have Alesso with Swedish House Mafia, Dyro with Hardwell. You see less of that with women, though there are a handful (Mija and Skrillex, Tigerlily and Tiesto). It really does help when someone who’s already made it gives you their stamp of approval.
Back to your point that women don’t collaborate enough. Do you feel that if maybe more pop female stars were to collaborate with female artists that we would see more female talent DJing at festivals?
Jen: It’s just about female DJs embracing working with other female DJs. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but I think we all feel that pressure of: if there’s going to be one female on this bill, we want that spot. It’s going to take some banding together to change that notion. We’ve had people come to us and pitch the idea of doing an all female lineup. To us that’s equally sexist. The point is that women deserve to be represented equally amongst their male peers.
Claire: Someone in a power position has got to take responsibility, be accountable, and work to make change. We’re trying to be vocal about it, and it’s important for other women to be vocal too.
You mainly mention booking as one of the barriers. What are some of the barriers to like record labels? Have you shopped “Lights Go Down” to any of the majors or do you intend to?
Jen: We made a decision to self release “Lights Go Down” – it’s our way of being in control of our own destiny. Having come from the record label side of things we know the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s definitely not something we’re opposed to, [but] it’s just going to take the right conversation with the right people. There are certainly cheap routes that you can take to get more likes, more follows – like over-sexualizing the brand and really playing up the fact that’s it’s two women. We believe in more of a grassroots approach. If we’re going to spend all this time, and take this huge risk, then we might as well try to create a brand that’s lasting rather than grab people’s attention for the moment. I’d rather build something that’s going to stand the test of time… something we can really be proud of.
Do you feel like a lot of women play it safe? Like when they graduate from college, they get a safe job, and don’t really want to DJ. Do you feel that’s a trend for women right now?
Claire: I don’t know that it’s so DJ specific. I think there are other factors involved in the career choice you make when you graduate. Having family and friends that push you to pursue a passion is really important – that support can be the difference between pursuing a passion or not. That said, this career path is definitely not for everyone.
Jen: I think it’s a really exciting time, in general. In middle school, I remember jobs still being discussed so traditionally – being you could be a teacher, you could be a nurse, or whatever. Now things are different – tech is so huge now there are women who are interested in engineering, and things that I hadn’t imagined, or knew existed when I was younger. Not chasing a dream doesn’t mean taking the easy path. Sometimes we get encouraged by others to play it safe. It’s honestly been one of the most rewarding things when people come to us and say “I chose to take a leap to do X, Y, Z because of you guys.”
How’s life on the road been in general, and what are some of the craziest things that are positive that you’ve seen at one of your shows?
Jen: It’s been crazy because we get to see cities, states, and countries that otherwise we may not have without this project. We get to see it together. I don’t think this is something that I would want to do solo. Having a partner is great because not only do I get to experience these different places with someone else, but I also get to experience moments at live shows with someone. When something crazy happens at a show, I can look over next to me and see Claire. As far as the craziest thing we’ve seen at one of our shows…one time the room was still filling up so we could very very clearly see everyone. I don’t know if everyone’s aware of how well we can see them from where we are, but we definitely saw things that night that were better for the bedroom than for the dance-floor. I’ve been grabbed in inappropriate places during shows, and had to tell someone that was not ok.
When you go on tour, and you said you’re going to Iowa and Nebraska. Do those influences sort of play into your pop sound, dance sound, or cross-over that you’re going for?
Claire: I think it’s important to remember that we kind of live in two bubbles. The first is New York City, and the second is this snobby dance music world. I think as soon as we leave New York and go pretty much anywhere, especially for me going to my hometown in Pennsylvania, it puts it all in perspective.
Are there any artists out there that would be your dream collaboration? Who would you love to collaborate with the most?
Jen: My top two would be Robyn, and Haim.
Claire: My top two would be Alison Wonderland and MNEK.
Is there a festival that love to play the most?
Jen: Coachella Sahara tent, Lollapalooza, Life Is Beautiful in Vegas, Firefly in Delaware.
Where do you see The Jane Doze in five years?
Jen: Hopefully we’ll have a bunch of original music out at that point. Like I said earlier, I’d love to hear something we’ve written and produced on the radio. We’ve just been on the road for a while now playing one off’s all over the place. Not just in the U.S., but in Mexico and in Europe. We would love to be on our own headlining tour – that’s the dream. We also wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to open for some huge pop star on an arena tour.