DJ MINX with ,b>LYPHE , CHARLIE HUSTLE , NYX and SLIPPERY at Surface (12 Brant), Saturday (November 29). $10. 416-379-2179. Rating: NNNNN
When DJ Minx (aka Jennifer Echols) first started out, female DJs were objects of both scepticism and curiosity. She started out as an on-air voice hosting radio shows in Windsor and Detroit, including the much-missed Deep Space Radio, which featured techno legends Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Juan Atkins.
"A friend of mine used to take me over to the Windsor station, and sometimes I'd talk on the mike. They eventually gave me my own show," Minx recalls from her Detroit home.
Eventually Saunderson called her to host Deep Space Radio after his first choice didn't work out l. The show got quite big very quickly and attracted phone calls and listeners.
"That was when people started getting me to play at their parties, and my name got out there as a DJ."
She'd been honing her skills long before she became known as a host and quickly overcame the preconception that woman DJs can't mix. Initially the resistance was huge, though. Her frustration drove her to start an all-female DJ collective and booking agency, Women on Wax.
"People would say that you couldn't mix and want you to give them a tape to prove yourself. I'd tell them that I wouldn't send any tapes; they'd have to book me and see for themselves.
"Women on Wax was a good concept, and people took to it well. But there are so many female collectives out there now that I switched to being a label. If someone wants to book the collective, we'll still throw something together."
So far, the releases on WOW Records have been by Minx herself, but the next will feature a man, Pirahna, collaborating with her on Animal Trax. The focus of the label is on techno and house, steeped in the Detroit tradition but upbeat enough to work well overseas, where Minx sporadically tours.
"Europe is a different world, very nice. Germany is the best for me - I feel like a mega-star over there. Over here I'm just a regular girl."
Her life as a touring DJ has slowed down a bit in the past few years, partly because of the changing economy but mainly due to having a second daughter.
Putting her energy into production and running the label allows her to spend more time in Detroit, where she still plays regularly. She recently quit her long-time job at the local General Motors plant to concentrate on music and family, while her supportive husband continues to work in construction to make ends meet.
Soon she'll be stepping back into the world of radio, this time in Windsor. She's also got a release coming out on Richie Hawtin's Minus label, and her WOW label will be putting out two more EPs over the winter (one the aforementioned Animal Trax, the other an all-girl compilation).