Joyce Muniz on EDM Gender Politics: "It's About Music No Matter Who's Behind It"
An accomplished vocalist, producer, and DJ, Joyce Muniz is as consummate an artist as you'll find on today's global electronic dance music scene. Born in Brazil, she spent her formative years in '90s Vienna, soaking up the European underground house, techno and bass music which she would later put her own sultry original spin on.
Thanks to a formidable growing discography with chart-topping releases on labels like Exploited and 2020 Vision, Muniz has emerged as one of the most hotly tipped artists of either gender on the scene.
Ahead of her Miami debut performance at FDR Delano on Friday, we here at Crossfade spoke with Joyce Muniz about her musical roots, new releases, and views on the gender politics of the dance music industry.
Crossfade: You were born in Brazil and spent your early childhood there. How do you think your Brazilian background informs what you do as an artist? Do you think your sound draws from any Brazilian musical influences?
Joyce Muniz: When I started to do music, many of my productions had to do with Brazilian sounds -- due to the fact that I was doing vocals by that time, for others, and they have been in Portuguese. So I think there was a big influence. Hence, nowadays, my sound developed to get international dance and house music.
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Was your move to Vienna in your early teens the turning point for you as far as discovering electronic dance music? How did you first get drawn to this type of music? When you did you first get into DJing and production?
Electronic music of Vienna has absolutely influenced me, although my very first electronic music tape was from my neighbor in Brazil. Vienna had a great impact to me, I came at 12 to vienna, and at 15, I started to collect vinyls, and by that time Vienna was a city with its very own music style. It was mostly downtempo, but as a DJ, I started to do drum 'n' bass, jungle, and techno. I was collecting music for a very long time and was DJing for a very long time before I started to produce.
You're best known as a DJ-producer, but you've also done a lot of vocal work for other artists like Cusmos, Munk, and Skero -- the latter for which you received an Amadeus (Austrian Grammy) award. Are you a natural-born singer, or did you have to develop the skill over the years? What inspires you to get involved in projects as a vocalist, as opposed to production?
I am a natural-born singer. After some releases as a singer, I started to take courses and get more skilled, for example in a jazz vocal course. Because I had a different voice, producers asked me to sing for them, but producing on my own was no topic yet. After some feature releases, I started to be interested in my own productions. I was very lucky that my former roommate was a producer at Vienna Scientists [Recordings], he taught me a lot!
Despite your success, as that of other female artists, the electronic dance music industry remains very male-dominated. Did you personally find it challenging to gain acceptance as a woman in this scene? What advice do you have for other women aspiring for your level of success?
Nowadays there are more women in the business. Generally, there are more women now as producers, singers, journalists, bookers, managers -- but I think it is still dominated by men. I don't think it will change a lot, but you shouldn't weigh that so much, because at the end of the day, it is about music no matter who is behind it. You shouldn't think about this. When I produce a track, I don't think about what gender likes it -- I just do my thing.
What's next for you on the production front? Any forthcoming projects or releases we can look forward to?
I did a remix for a new band called Santa Maradona -- release is next October. As soon as I come back to Vienna off my US tour, I will finalize a remix for Steve Bug and work on my next EP for Exploited. There is more to come, just stay tuned!
So what can we expect during your Miami debut performance on Friday? Do you have any preconceived notions about Miami crowds and planning a set accordingly?
Mostly I carry a lot of sounds with me and listen to the sound of the resident DJ. And the audience in Miami is very strong, there are a lot of things happening in the music scene: clubs, producers, parties, etc. I think this city likes my sound -- I am very excited!
Joyce Muniz. With Ben Finx and Jonny Eso. As part of Notes From the Underground. Friday, October 3. FDR Lounge at the Delano Hotel, 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. Call 305-672-2000 or visit delano-hotel.com.
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