American house music was literally spawned out of the ashes of disco. As certain electro-historians have it, the infamous "Disco Demolition" that took place at Chicago's Comiskey Park in July of 1979--where baseball fans were invited to decimate all of their "disco records" in one giant explosion--was one of the seminal events that set into motion the retreat of dance music, pushing it back into the gay, black underground clubs. Now that culture has evolved and reemerged stronger than ever, and Chicago has an unparalleled pool of house talent, bringing up pioneers like Derrick Carter, DJ Sneak, Mark Farina, Frankie Knuckles, and Green Velvet, to name a few, as well as one of the most profiled female DJ collectives, SuperJane.
Shannon Lalongo, a.k.a. DJ Dayhota, is one of the founding members of SuperJane--along with DJ Heather, DJ Colette, and Lady D. After playing together in clubs and loft parties throughout the mid-'90s, the women decided to form a collective to elevate and inspire each other. It wasn't long before the women of SuperJane were getting attention for their DJing talents individually and as a whole, putting out tracks and mixes on labels such as Seasons, Afterhours, Classic, and Nordic Trax, getting featured in such magazines as Urb and Xlr8r, and touring nationally.
DJ Dayhota is known for representing Chicago's bangin' tech-house style, understanding that the bottom line is cooking the dance floor until it's well done, using ultra funky bass lines, futuristic techno principles, and classic house arrangements. Dayhota is also known for playing barefooted. She says she started out removing her shoes because in the early days, it helped her to feel and match beats when she was mixing records, and now it's a habit. I just hope she asks for a case of Tinactin on her backstage rider.
I'm sure the SuperJanes are tired of answering questions about being female DJs, but they have covered some unprecedented ground. A good portion of my dancing buddies tend to be female because many of my guy friends are just too insecure to dance or they're still learning the difference between their left and right feet--so it's always exciting to see female openness and intuition move from the dance floor to behind the turntables. More specifically, within house music (which is fundamentally thought of as an all-accepting form of music because of its gay/minority roots), women are finding a more equal, respected voice for their technical and artistic abilities rather than receiving attention solely on the novelty of being female. NICOLAE WHITE
DJ Dayhota w/the Hit Girl Collective--Julie Herrera, Ginger Vaughn, and Special K--on Sat Aug 31 at the Baltic Room, 1207 Pine St, 625-4444, 9 pm, 21+, $10.