BIMM University / It's Your Future / Music

It’s your future: Liv

5th July 2024


Liv, a third-year student at BIMM Music Institute Bristol, shares her journey and experiences in the world of electronic music production and DJing, highlighting the creation of the Female Non-Binary DJ Society and its evolution into Bad B!tch Dubz.

“Hi, I’m Liv, a third-year student at BIMM Music Institute Bristol, where I study Electronic Music Production. Outside of my studies, I produce and DJ, a passion that has grown immensely over recent years.

Before joining BIMM, I spent about two years as a bedroom DJ. When I joined the course in my first year, I was one of only four girls on the entire Electronic Music Production course. We were quite outnumbered, and I didn’t know how to break into the scene. The industry is quite cliquey and hard to enter. I wanted to participate in open decks, but they weren’t very accessible. From the pictures and videos I saw, it was mostly groups of boys, and I didn’t want to just show up and ask to join.

So, my friends and I decided to start the Female Non-Binary DJ Society at BIMM. We thought it would be a good way to create a collective and community with the backing of the student union. Initially, it was just for fun, so we had a space to DJ together, but it turned into what is now Bad B!tch Dubz.

Bad B!tch Dubz is a female and non-binary DJ collective and events label, soon to be a music label as well, because many of us produce. We’re planning to release our music and do dub packs. It’s an inclusive, safe community for people who want to experiment with DJing or pursue it as a career. We support each other and act almost like an agency, promoting all the residents as individual artists, not just as part of a collective.

Electronic music has always been dominated by men. Creating more female-led promoters and events will naturally create safer spaces. At university, we’d go to events with maybe one girl on the lineup if we were lucky. In Bristol, there’s more gender balance, but at home, I never saw female DJs. The scene is improving, with more promoters and events aiming for gender balance, and Bristol is up-and-coming for that.

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I love performing. Initially, it was nerve-wracking, and I still face challenges as a female DJ. I get a lot of comments, things thrown at me, and people questioning my abilities. Unfortunately, I’ve even had experiences of people being physically inappropriate when I’m playing a set, which is a really difficult aspect of being a female in the industry. But when I’m performing and having a good time, especially with my girls, it’s the best feeling. Performing as a group creates my favourite moments.

Playing at Eldorado last summer was when I saw the vision of Bad B!tch Dubz coming together. It was just a society before that, with few takeovers, but Eldorado is my favourite festival, and it was a great experience. The crowd was amazing, and it felt like everything came together.

Looking forward, making Bad B!tch Dubz a music label is the next natural step. I don’t want to focus too much on running events, as they can become money-driven, and it’s hard to stand out in Bristol’s saturated event scene. I want to create a community and take inspiration from collectives like Girls Don’t Sync and Saffron Music. Eventually, I’d like to focus on educational workshops as part of our collective, breaking down industry gatekeeping and making education accessible for women in production and sound engineering.

Today, we have a workshop and masterclass with A, a DJ and producer from Bristol. She’s doing an interactive Q&A, explaining CDJ-2000s, mixers, and Rekordbox. She’ll encourage everyone to try it out. All experience levels and genders are welcome. I’ve also asked if they would open it to some non-students, and they agreed to a few spots. It’s important to open these spaces to the wider community because Bad B!tch Dubz is about collaboration beyond just BIMM students.

Being on the BIMM Bristol campus has been a great experience, especially in the third year. The first two years were overwhelming, as I didn’t have much production knowledge and felt behind my peers. But starting the DJ society gave me a purpose. I still produce, but this feels more like my purpose. The new building on campus has been great too.

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In the first year, I was new to a lot of the software we were using. Now, I’m much more confident and have a better grasp of my sound and how to put my ideas into practice. Uni has pushed me, and now I have a lot of ideas, though I’m still working on finishing them. My tutors have been amazing, especially the female lecturers who are DJs and sound engineers. They were inspirational, and I’m still good friends with them.

Bristol has become home for me. Initially, I struggled to feel part of the community, but now, living on Gloucester Road and being in Stokes Croft, I love it. The community and access to music and events are amazing. I feel like I’m creating a space for myself here, something I didn’t expect in my first year.

To sustain living in Bristol, I’ll likely need a job or freelance work in the music industry. I want to work with brands and labels in Bristol, learn from them, and continue prioritising Bad B!tch Dubz. I’ll need a real job, but I’ll always make time for the collective.

Regarding the society, we’ve been fortunate to secure various funding opportunities, which has been beneficial. For our inaugural event, they assisted with venue hire and other expenses, which was a great support. The BIMM Student Association (BSA) has also been instrumental in supporting our society initiatives. On a personal level, the student well-being team has been invaluable to me. I’ve been seeing a counsellor for the past three years since my mum passed away six months before starting university. Initially, I was struggling mentally and questioning my purpose here, but she has provided tremendous support, helping me stay grounded and navigate through challenging times. I’m grateful that I persevered through those tough moments.”

Liv’s story is a testament to the power of community, perseverance, and the importance of creating inclusive spaces within the music industry, as she continues to make her mark both at BIMM and beyond.


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