Pacou Tries In Vain To Help Women In Techno

German producer gets no response to offer of money and record deal to female producers.

A recent ploy by German minimal-techno DJ/producer Pacou designed to promote women who make

electronic music is proving to be ineffective.

Last month, Pacou (born Lars Lewandowski) offered $700 and a

distribution deal to a female DJ/producer who submitted the best track

to his label, LL Records. So far he has received zero submissions.

"This music [techno] is kind of rough and extreme, so it's more likely

to find a cool female jazz piano player than a techno producer," Pacou

said. "Not much can actually be done about this, so I thought it would

be a good move to offer something and challenge creativity."

Pacou made the offer on a Web forum discussing the issue of women in

techno on the Axis Records site, www.axisrecords.com. Axis Records is

run by revered pioneering Detroit techno pioneer Jeff Mills. (This month's topic is drugs and

raves.)

Only a small fraction of electronic musicians are likely to see the

offer, Pacou noted, so it is difficult to draw major conclusions from

the incident. However, discussions on the site have prompted Pacou and

others to further examine the issue. (Pacou said he would extend his

offer another month. Female DJs/producers can write pacou@pacou.de for

more information.)

Of the nearly 50 postings on the Axis forum, several blame the lack of

women producers on the high tech gear used to create techno music.

Others believe a drug-infested scene may be scaring women away —

one woman cites "steroid head college guys who only go [to dance clubs]

for the bar and to pick up chicks" as a hindrance to women involved in

dance culture.

"It seems to be true that women prefer other things in life than dealing with EQ compressors and drum machines," said Pacou, who just returned from the "male-dominated" Sonar electronic-music festival in Barcelona. "It's somewhat idealistic to ask for a 50 percent female contribution, but we are not in Hollywood here."

Dinky, a female techno producer from Chile now living in New York, believes that women are slowly gaining interest in creating electronic music as the equipment used to make it is becoming simpler to operate.

"Women are never educated in electronics and machines," Dinky (born

Alejandra Iglesias) said. "It's always thought of as sort of a 'boys'

thing.' But it's not. It's actually really simple — based on

physics and acoustics. I learned everything by myself. It took me a

year, but I have to say that it's not as hard as I thought it would be."

Dinky is releasing an EP, titled Miss Dinky, on the small but

influential Cologne, Germany, label Kompakt in August, and will follow

with a full-length release in December, along with several singles for

various American and English labels.

The Berlin-bred Pacou, 28, also has recorded under the moniker

color="#003163">Agent Cooper (taken from Kyle MacLachlan's

character in "Twin Peaks"). He released the experimental album State

of Mind, his third, in February. His 1997 debut LP, Symbolic

Language, was a well-received exercise in banging minimal German

techno.

"If I don't get any responses I will ask a friend of mine [to submit a

track] — his artist name is 'Female,' " Pacou said. " 'Cause I got

to go on with my label and won't wait forever."