Phoenix isn't the town from Footloose. If you got the urge to cut a rug, you don't have to secretly rage-dance in an abandoned warehouse. Instead, you can tap into your inner Kevin Bacon and freak out the squares with your sweet moves during any of the Valley's many, many dance nights.
Whatever your poison is, someone in town is mixing it. From goth nights and hip-hop happenings to '80s parties and '90s nostalgia trips, there are DJs ready to put that flava in your ear.
Not sure where to start? Here's an introduction to some of the best women DJs in the Valley. And it's by no means definitive. There are newcomers and scene vets alike who are doing great work but aren't on here. That said, these are the eight DJs we'd call up first if we had to assemble an Ocean's 8-style crew of turntable masters to steal the show.
If you listen to Power 98.3 or 101.9, odds are good you’ve heard DJ Javin on the ones and twos. A fixture in the Phoenix and Scottsdale clubs, DJ Javin also shows off her mixing skills on the radio with two weekly gigs. Monday through Friday, she mixes from 6 to 7 p.m. on Power. She also gets in the booth for Pitbull’s Globalization (Sirius XM CH. 14) at 9 p.m. on Mondays. Able to cut and mix with ease, her work is knotty, intricate, and guaranteed to get you moving.
Where you can hear her play: When she's not on the air, you can find her spinning at Paris Pride Thursdays, rocking the pool deck at W Scottsdale, and playing at various clubs in Phoenix and Old Town. For more info on where she'll be next, see DJ Javin's website.
For lovers of ghoulish and grim sounds, Phoenix is a great place to get your dance on. The Valley’s had a vibrant goth scene for years now, and you can find different dark music in places like Stacy’s on Melrose, The Rogue Bar, and Palazzo. If you’ve been to dance nights like Necrotek, Cupcake!, or LILITH, you’ve likely seen Shelly Winergarner (a.k.a. //she//) do her thing. The DJ cut her fangs at house parties and Sadisco. Currently on a “classic EBM kick,” //she// can be heard spinning groups like Youth Code, Boy Harsher, and Libknecht in her sets.
When it comes to putting down grooves, look no further than Stoneypie. The nom de guerre of Tara Lopez, Stoneypie has been a familiar face during club nights at Bar Smith, Crescent Ballroom, and Bikini Lounge (where she first got her start, guest spinning at Djentrification’s long-running 602’sdays). A multiformat DJ, Stoneypie mixes genres with wild abandon. Soul, house, disco, electronic, footwork, and dozens of other rhythms get baked together to make Stoneypie’s sound.
Where you can hear her play: She's been a resident DJ at Crescent Ballroom for some time now. Check out Stoneypie's website to find out where she'll be next.
A Claire Slattery
As the brains behind the Vanishing Show concert series in Tempe, A Claire Slattery has already made her mark as a community organizer and music producer. But she's also a formidable DJ. Getting the DJ bug after learning how to mix for a Halloween party at Cornish Pasty Co., Slattery has gone on to spin at a dizzying variety of dance nights. While she favors using vinyl whenever possible, she'll dip into digital tracks, too — especially when she's playing "guilty pleasures" like TRL pop, Britney, and boy bands.
DJ Jen Jones
DJ Jen Jones lives in Arizona, but she originally hails from a land down under. The Aussie-born DJ and producer has been making waves both here and abroad for years now. In addition to playing residencies at Talking Stick Resort and Maya Day & Nightclub, Jones frequently gigs out of state. She’s played the Soundwave Festival, spun shows for Skylar Grey, and rocked houses in Shanghai. Her mixes are hit-heavy and high-energy — perfect for a night out when you’re partying with adrenaline junkies with champagne tastes.
Where you can hear her play: Degree270 Nightclub in Scottsdale.
The beauty of nightlife is how permeable the barrier is between consumer and creator. One minute you're dancing at an '80s night; the next, you're running the '80s night. Briannin Gross knows all too well. She got her start DJing and party-promoting when she and some friends got frustrated that the Phoenix dance nights they loved weren't happening in Tempe. Working as part of collectives Mutiny Phoenix and Bloody Basin, Gross put on parties at places like Yucca Tap. Now, she's focusing on goth, dark wave, and her new favorite genre: witch house.
Where you can hear her play: Spellbound at The Bikini Lounge.
If Ol’ Dirty Bastard (a.k.a. Dirt McGirt, a.k.a. Big Baby Jesus) was the king of name-changing, then Betty Blackheart is the queen. Specializing in all things darkwave, industrial, and techno, she’s been known over the years by other aliases, including Suzy Homewrecker and Defense.Mekanizm. A tireless show producer and promoter, she’s put on monthly dance nights like Fallout.Shelter and the fetish-friendly Cupcake! parties. Her events are a lot like her mixes: unpredictable, alluring, and not to be missed.
Where you can hear her play: Cupcake! at The Rogue Bar.
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Miss DJ MJ
Miss DJ MJ wrote the book on radio success — literally. In addition to working as a financial advisor and booking frequent gigs as a DJ on-air and in clubs across the country, the Phoenix-based mix master also wrote a book called Ammunition for Radio Submission about how to get your jams played on the air. Spinning at events and celebrity performances alongside big names like Ludacris and Taylor Swift, Miss DJ MJ is the real deal.
Where you can hear her play: Keep your eye on Miss DJ MJ’s website for more info about her upcoming gigs and radio appearances.