The secret shame of Vegas clubs is that it’s almost never ladies night behind the DJ booth. Evidence:
■ Krewella is the only female-fronted act at Mandalay Bay’s Light nightclub and Daylight dayclub. That’s one out of 23 featured star acts, or 4 percent.
■ At MGM’s Hakkasan nightclub and Wet Republic dayclub, the only international female DJs are Nervo and Bambi — out of 19 featured stars. That’s 11 percent female.
■ At The Cosmopolitan’s Marquee nightclub and Marquee Dayclub, the number of major acts seems murkier, but it’s something like 20 male stars in ratio to the duo of Rebecca &Fiona. That would be about 5 percent.
■ And there are zero women among 44 international stars at Wynn clubs XS, Surrender, Tryst and Encore Beach Club. Yes, 0 percent.
For sure, several clubs employ respected local women DJs such as Tina T, DJ 88, Jessica Who, Girl 6 or Alie Layus.
But the male-lopsided situation among international star DJs actually is not a masochistic product of Vegas. Instead, this bizarre problem belongs to electronic dance music at large.
It’s rare when women decide to get into the DJ business anywhere around the world.
Why? I have asked Nervo’s Liv Nervo. She wasn’t sure. I have asked Rebecca Scheja of Rebecca &Fiona. She didn’t know.
Finally, Jahan Yousaf ventures a theory. She is one-third of Krewella, who are performing Sunday at Daylight.
“I think women think it’s harder than it actually is,” Yousaf says.
“A lot of women put image, and appearance, and fashion, and photos first — before the actual music,” Yousaf says.
Yousaf and her sister Yasmine comprise the Chicago trio of Krewella, along with Kris “Rain Man” Trindl.
“Yasmine and I really noticed things started taking off (for Krewella) when we started developing our skills and craft,” she says. “We really honed in on that. We said, ‘(Expletive) it to beauty and glamour and manicures and fashion and looking good.’ ”
Vegas’ other billboard female DJs took different paths to stardom. The Nervo twins — Australia’s Liv and Mim Nervo — studied music in school, then wrote for pop singers such as Ke$ha before getting into DJing.
“I love those girls. They’re such talented writers,” Yousaf says. “That’s a great way to get your foot in the door as a female artist.”
Rebecca &Fiona ran a nightclub in Sweden before writing their own songs and going into DJing.
“I would love to see another female DJ rise up in this whole scene — not only a DJ, but another girl who performs and sings and writes her own music,” Yousaf says.
Krewella has made a splash in the music scene for songs such as “Alive” and “Killin’ It.”
But also they know how to promote themselves. Some fans ink the word “Krew” inside their lips. And Krewella gives attention to fans who send them devotional images via Facebook and Twitter (@Krewella).
“You’re creating a whole brand. You’re not just singing someone else’s songs and pushing buttons. You’re creating a whole empire. You’re an entrepreneur,” she says. “You’re not just an artist. You’re creating a business.”
The marketing side of Krewella has come naturally by forging an identity, not by adhering to a forced marketing plan, she says.
When it comes to exploiting their seductiveness, they step on the gas. The name of their tour is “Get Wet.”
“We’re dirty girls,” Yousaf says merrily.
Here’s a come-hither description of an upcoming music video they shot at the Mandalay Bay clubs:
“We played a show at Daylight dayclub. We’re sweaty. We’re girls. We don’t even shower. We go to our rooms to take Wet Ones — clean our chest and arms off — and then we go straight to the nightclub.”
But she stresses their appeal evolves from their music. They are on a sweaty tour now.
“We’ve been working very hard on this for months, not only by preparing the music for it, but everything from building custom stage production to telling an entire story in 90 minutes — taking people on a journey.”
The trio’s first full-length album, “Get Wet,” comes out Sept. 24.
“I’m itching to get to the next level every time we accomplish something,” Yousaf says.
“Once we finished the first full-length album, I was like, ‘Let’s move onto the second. What are the next songs that are going to go on it? What vibe do we want to go into it?’
“I really embrace success. And I like the challenge.”
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.