By Winston Struye
The Jane Doze is quickly becoming the sound of a new generation of young females, activists and partygoers. Their DJ sets have spanned across New York clubs, the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and some of Invisible Children’s biggest events. In between flying around the world to make people dance and remixing songs for huge pop stars (one of their most recent remixes was for Miley Cyrus), Blindfold Magazine met up with them in Jen’s Manhattan Apartment to get the lowdown on the Doze.
BFM: So first off girls, I wanted to ask you guys about when you both decided to go ahead and quit your regular jobs and pursue your dreams full-time! I feel like that is something that a lot of people talk about doing but few have the courage to do it.
Claire: It was something we had been talking about for about a year before we actually did it. It got to be a lot, leading this batman-style life, especially for Jen; with her being at a major label she had less flexibility. There was one show in Chicago when I had flown out early, done the sound check, checked into the hotel and all that, then Jen worked a full day here in New York, flew to Chicago, played the show, slept in the hotel for about an hour and then got back to New York for a 9 a.m. meeting. It just got to be exhausting. But, I think overall the biggest thing was that we didn’t want to regret not trying it. We thought if there was anytime to do it, [it] was now.
BFM: I’ve heard you guys use the phrase “lean into it” in reference to you guys pursuing your dreams and such. Can you talk about what you mean by that a little bit more?
Jen: I actually have it tattooed on my ribs. We believe that when you start something, it’s about falling into it and regardless of what happens on the other side, you’ve got to totally give yourself to it. That’s how we think about this project. Who knows what’s on the other end, whether this is going to succeed, fail, or whatever, we’re just going to experience it and be present for the moment.
BFM: Do you guys think you were more nervous “just leaning on it” considering that you were two females jumping into a male-dominated industry? Or maybe did you see that as an extra incentive to show people that you could break those gender boundaries?
Claire: Our experience in the industry really made us aware that it was definitely a boys club before we got into it, and I think it definitely lights a fire knowing that we had an opportunity to break down these barriers.
Jen: I think it’s exciting to be in a position where you become part of this movement of changing the ratio. And now the most rewarding thing is to be going to all these colleges to play shows and having all these young women come up to us and say “I didn’t know there were women doing this and now I want to do it!” When you can inspire other people to want to do something that they didn’t know was accessible, that’s when you can start to change the game.
BFM: Those young girls who come up to you after the shows, the ones who look up to you as role models, what advice would you like to give to them?
Claire: Just to go all in. If there is something that they really want to do, to really pursue it and to not be scared.
Jen: I’d really like to show them how everyone should really be more collaborative, less catty, less competitive. Let’s make it more about community and less about trying to beat the other person. There is sort of still this stigma that exists that there’s only a spot for one female at the success table, and we’ve realized that there really is room for there to be more than one of us there.
BFM: It’s interesting, because I kind of feel like you guys are carving your career in a somewhat new territory. There’s very few female DJs, even less American female DJs. America is relatively new to this recent explosion of dance music, and even the genre that you guys primarily play, mash-up, has only really been around for a couple of years. So I’m curious about how much you guys kind of look for inspiration in those who have done this before, and how much do you forge your career in the dark?
Claire: Even though we maybe do have models, like Krewella, or Nervo (both international female DJs), it still really feels like we are forging our way ahead in the dark.
Jen: I do feel like dance music has been around in the US for while now though, it’s just this infiltration of mainstream culture that is new. So now that it has…it’s just about finding our unique sound and voice. In 2014 we’ll be releasing original music, thus far it’s only been remixes, mash-ups and 40-50 minute mega-mixes. So when we put out music we just want it to sound like us and be unique.
BFM: Can you talk what that signature Jane Doze sound is?
Claire: Well, a lot of the feedback we’ve gotten from some of the mash-ups and mixes we’ve put out is our music is really “happy.” Which I don’t think occurred to us as we were mak- ing it, possibly because we were too involved in it, but people listening always notice that. And our original music I’m sure will keep the same theme going. Our music is definitely vocal driven, often walking a line between pop and dance.
Jen: It’s interesting too that a lot of people automatically ask if we are going to singing on our track. Because thus far, every female that has “broken into” this space, does sing in their tracks. It’s kind of become this stigma now that to be a successful female DJ you also have to sing, but no one expects Skrillex or Diplo to sing on his tracks. It’s one of those things that we’ve kind of decided that we shouldn’t have to do that, you know, we want to do it our own way and just be authentic to who we are.
BFM: Can you talk a bit about some of the values that you started this project by?
Claire: The big one was to not be overly sexualized. It’s not hard to get a lot of Facebook likes by throwing up some scandalous photos, but we’ve never been the ones to take that easy route. We’re going to do it…the way we feel is the right way. It’s definitely harder but the payoff is bigger and more genuine.
Jen: I’d rather have fans and know that huge majority of them are engaged with us on a daily basis than 5 times more fan but no engagement.
BFM: Can you talk a little bit about this idea of wanting to create a community through your music?
Claire: We play really close attention to our Facebook page and our social media and we noticed that people from all over the country were commenting, or responding to comments, so it was clear that these people had this common bond of our music. So it just got a point where it was about creating a platform where all these people could see each other and reach out to each other.
Jen: I think in the beginning when we talked about creating this group and what could potentially come of it we always kind of en- visioned if the platform grew to a place where there was this mass audience, that we would be able to use it for good, to do good. Not just to say “cool, we have this many followers on Facebook,” but actually to do something positive with all those followers. So we do a lot of work with charities and try to give back to things that we feel strongly about.
BFM: Do you think we as 1st world, well-off, citizens have an obligation to help those less fortunate?
Claire: I think we absolutely have an obligation, I think it’s irresponsible to not use a platform like this for good.
Jen: One of our mentors in this space has been our friend, Sophia Bush. She’s a great example of someone who has this tremendous platform and is constantly using to speak out about causes and create awareness about things that she feels strongly about. And
a lot of people wouldn’t normally pay attention to some of these causes. She’s been a great example, for us, of how to use your following to promote good.
BFM: Speaking about giving back, can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Invisible Children?
Claire: We first got involved with them during the Move D.C. event about a year ago and we were introduced to Kenny (one of the founders of Invisible Children) and he put us on that bill, and then we came back for Fourth Estate (at UCLA).
Jen: I think Invisible Children’s philosophy [is] that music plays and essential role in giving social movements momentum, and we totally agree. It’s really been an honor that we’ve been able to participate in two of their major events to raise awareness of issues.
BFM: Can you tell me about some of the lessons that you guys have learned, since you guys have starting pursuing your dreams and began on this uphill climb?
Jen: No matter what kind of entrepreneur you are, there will be extremely high highs and crushingly low lows, and if your in a business relationship, make sure that you’re in it with a partner that you are going to want to go through both of those things with. And always set size alarms for early flights.
BFM: What are some of your plans for the rest of 2013 and onto 2014?
Claire: the rest of this year we are going to continue putting in a lot of studio time. We’ve spent many hours in the studio this past summer. And we’re also going to be on the road for the rest of the year.
Jen: I think we’re most excited for the new year and putting out some of our new music. We’ve also got a lot of big remixes coming out too!