When it comes to unexpected, dark and heavy music, JEANIE is the one to look to. The artist, legally known as Jeanette Kats, has undeniably made her presence known within the bass music scene. She has garnered the support of top-tier talents such as Excision, Zomboy, Zeds Dead and Alison Wonderland as well as released on in-demand imprints including Bassrush, Disciple Round Table, Circus Records and Welcome Records. In addition, 2023 marked her third original EP, Disturbing Data, which boasts skull-shattering drops, heavy-hitting beats and snarling synths, all made to dominate the dancefloor. This year, the tastemaker graced the stages of acclaimed festivals such as Tomorrowland and Rampage Open Air. Most notably, Kats will spin at Lost Lands, the mecca for bass music lovers.
The producer says her set at the renowned festival will feature new music, new edits, remixes and collaborated tracks. Her performance will take place on Sunday, September 24 at 12 a.m., an ideal time as it will be night, making the visuals and lasers even more intense. The sound designer adds that the nighttime vibe differs from the daytime atmosphere, with the evening set complimenting her bass-heavy and high-octane sound more.
The world of bass music has historically been known to be a boys club, and it still is in many respects. However, more women are breaking into the scene such as A Hundred Drums, GG Magree, Rezz, Whipped Cream, Level Up, VAMPA, CloZee, Lucille Croft and Jessica Audiffred. Kats says that when she started out, it seemed like there were so many men in the industry that it felt “almost impossible to grow in” as a female producer. Now, she feels there are many women represented on all sides of the business—management, promotion and production—and they are able to “lift each other up.” She believes it is currently a “really fun time to be a woman in music.”
While the scene has been making changes to become more inclusive, she thinks there is still more work to be done. Transparency, Kats says, is the biggest one that needs to be improved upon. At the beginning of her career, many men only shared with other men the secrets of the industry such as booking fees, samples and where they acquired production tools. She feels it is easier now as there are more resources. Despite these advances, she believes many female artists aren’t always given the recognition they deserve.
“I feel like, still, I see so many lineups where girls are always at the bottom [of the lineup flyer], opening the show—no matter what size they are, how talented they are,” Kats says. “I feel like people need to be more willing to help women grow.”
To help combat this issue, the creative founded GRL GANG, a community, record label and brand dedicated to expanding the presence of women and non-binary individuals in dance music. According to the label boss, she gives artists the recognition they might not get otherwise, which is done through spotlights on the brand’s social media, Spotify playlist features, imprint releases and more. She also assists these burgeoning artists by connecting them with others in the industry who might be able to help them and vice versa. Not only does GRL GANG put out music by female talent and non-binary acts, but it also hosts stage takeovers at music festivals. The imprint will be doing one at Lost Lands on Sunday, September 24.
“I handpicked an amazing lineup of artists that I think are amazing people, amazing deejays and producers,” Kats says. “I’m very excited for that, and I hope everyone comes out to support and has a good time.”
The bass music guru has a distinct sound and image with her JEANIE project, which she says is inspired by everything dark, Halloween-related and vintage. This is shown not only in her visuals during a performance but also in the artwork for her releases. She adds that she was a raver before she went into producing, and she always saw “music and shows as a way to escape.” Kats says her goal is to give her fans the experience of escapism when they listen to her music and attend her sets, which she aims to keep “high energy.”
One of her top hits, “Psychosis,” is among her favorite songs she has ever made, and she will be releasing a VIP version of it on September 21 via Space Yacht. She says both the original and the VIP came together quickly as she worked in a flow state, adding that she believes it’s an example of the distinct heavy-hitting sound she creates. Kats’ introduction to dance music even began in the realm of bass. Her friend showed her Adventure Club’s remix of “Lullabies,” which subsequently led her to take a deep dive into the world of dance music.
The Los Angeles-based deejay previously lived in New York City. She says living there on her own after college with little money and not much knowledge about what she should be doing is the biggest hurdle she has faced. She was getting more into production and deejaying during this time, though, so those tough years in the Big Apple aided in her finding the direction she should go in. She knew from this age that music was her calling, adding that if she wasn’t a producer, she would work in music in another format, such as being a manager.
As for advice she would give herself when she started making music: “I would say to stand up for myself,” Kats says. “I think when I started, it was really hard to know who to trust and to stick up for myself in certain situations, whether it be accepting shows or generally having people reach out to me. I feel like I wanted to take every opportunity that I could. Looking back now, I think I would have the courage to stick up for myself a lot more.”