Nadja Brenneisen's recent piece on Thump immediately caught the attention of the electronic music world, detailing the "art project" for which she successfully faked a career as an EDM DJ. I respect the hell out of the endeavor, bringing to light the pitifully low standards that are far too pervasive in the commercial EDM world. But I'm not the only one who noticed the crucial details she didn't bother to mention, am I?

"Our 'art project' had been created to prove that it really is that easy to make it as a DJ with just a bit of show, spectacle and some technical skills. We had proved the point."

Um... She had a previously established career as a promoter. She had a well connected, successful friend in the scene to manage and book her. She had the budget for professional photo shoots, graphic design, and whatever other marketing and branding she chose to not detail in her story. She had access to an "improvised studio" with expensive DJ gear to learn and practice on. She was born with model-level good looks, and it certainly seems like she had professional hair, makeup and wardrobe staff on hand. And she was already writing for VICE as the project was starting to take off.

It feels to me like she proved that a very beautiful woman with a bit of technical skill, solid industry connections, and a significant budget can launch a career as a DJ by pandering to the lowest common denominator. Is there anyone on the planet that would call this a revelation?

(And please don't assume that because I mention her looks, I'm pushing the sad bastard, men's rights activist drivel about life being so easy for hot women. Fuck that shit. Patriarchy is real, and all women face absurd barriers to entry in the music industry, because their presence threatens insecure man-babies who have too much power and not enough self-esteem. I have bad ass producer/DJ friends who happen to be chicks, and seeing the bullshit they deal with on the daily makes me want to scream. I only mention Nadja's looks because being physically attractive will affect anyone's chance of success in the music biz, and it strikes me as disingenuous that she never acknowledges it.)

I wanted her story to be a razor-sharp dismantling of the shallow and corrupt back end of booking, marketing, and hype building. And it seems that Nadja wanted the same thing. We obviously feel the same about the "DJs who contribute to the super-commercialization" of the music we love - the music I've dedicated my life to. But in failing to address the vital details about the resources and access she had at her disposal, she undercuts any real significance her story could have. I'd love to see her come out with some deeper details about the money and the connections that went into the project, to give the world a more meaningful insight into the shallow, shady world of manufacturing fake DJ stars. But I don't think she will, because doing so would undercut the narrative she obviously wants to present. I hope I'm wrong.

[See our previous coverage here]

[Image: DeadCow Graphix via VICE]

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Chris Cox

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