“I’m always thinking about pace, and creating opportunities to get lost in the rhythms and melodies,” says LORA, the London-based DJ whose increasingly busy gig calendar and monthly radio slot on Balamii have turned her into a hotly-tipped name on the capital’s club circuit. Though originally a resident DJ at the legendary hip-hop party, Livin’ Proof, her sets these days are irresistible excursions into house and techno, inspired by her “mind-bending, truly moving and empowering” self-education in the genres’ Black roots in Chicago and Detroit.
“Being adventurous and creating euphoric dancefloor moments,” is what it’s all about, she says, while flourishes of UKG, blissed-out breaks and deep, bassy grooves leave ample room for “plot twists, excitement, and moments to catch one’s breath”. It’s a style she’s demonstrated on platforms like BBC Radio 6 and HÖR, and she’ll be taking it to Secretsundaze’s Hackney Wick festival this month. She’s also recently launched her own party, FLOORJAM, in South London’s The Carpet Shop. Get acquainted. Eoin Murray
For fans of: Raji Rags, Galcher Lustwerk, Analog Soul
‘90s trance, progressive house, acid and, depending on the situation, donk; this is what you can expect from Mercorn, aka Megan Nolan Walsh. The Dublin-based DJ, textile designer and member of Ireland’s Skin&Blister collective is coming into her own. Following her London debut with ADONIS in 2022, Mercorn recently returned to the city, where she played for Big Dyke Energy and Fast & Bi-Furious. This year, she’ll play at Macadam in Nantes, France and Fuinneamh Festival in Louth, Ireland, and continue running the nomadic event TENDER with co-founders Bull Horris, Andrew Shannon and Gary.
Using DIY spaces and venues in Dublin, the foursome promote parties to foster a sense of community for queer people and allies to dance and express themselves under one roof. As a designer, Nolan Walsh makes clothing for both DJs and clubbers, combining breathable materials, psychedelic colours and playful designs. Check it all out on mnw.ie for a pleasant sensory overload. Niamh O’Connor
For fans of: Sedef Adasi, Saoirse, Marie Malarie
Nondi_’s brisk rhythms and dreamlike electronics resemble no one else’s. On her debut album ‘Flood City Trax’, recently released on Planet Mu, she concocts intricate ambient reveries and mixes them with beats that borrow from footwork and breakcore, resulting in an otherworldly blend. Based in the isolated factory town of Jonestown, Pennsylvania, Nondi_ (real name Tatiana Triplin) draws on influences she’s heard only online, stitching together these disparate sounds into vital new forms.
“The sound of ‘Flood City Trax’ was a deliberate creation,” Nondi_ says. “The first thought I had in mind while creating it was a combination of classic juke rhythms and new age music. ‘Flood City Trax’ is the first time it’s come together as a full project rather than just one-off tracks.”
Channelling inspiration from footwork/juke artists like RP Boo, DJ Rashad and Jlin, and the conceptual electronica of Oneohtrix Point Never, Nondi_ has arrived at something unique. Keep an eye on her label HRR, and be assured that whatever comes next from her, it will be “something that sounds completely different. I like keeping people on their toes, including myself.” Ben Murphy
For fans of: Jlin, Oneohtrix Point Never, Xyla
As a founding member of Denham Audio, Leeds-based Groovy D, aka Jon Coxhead, has always had his finger on the pulse for breaks in all their shapes and forms. His solo efforts touch on that essence, while drawing from the vibes of UKG past and present: think 2-step beats, warping basslines, and verses from MCs like Trim, who featured on his single ‘BadderDanDem’ that came on Time Is Now. He’s just released an EP called ‘Phase Shift’ on Gimme A Break Records, which harks back to his UK breaks roots and also experiments with off-kilter rhythms and electro. The EP has already been lighting up the clubs and airwaves with support from Emerald, Tan and Jaguar to name a few.
This summer is looking to be a scorcher for him already: he’s going to drop ‘Groovy Dubz Vol. 2’ on his own imprint, which focuses on club-ready dub versions of well-known vocal cuts, and has remixes coming on Time Is Now and French label [re]sources. As well as playing key venues in Leeds, he recently played for the first time in Tbilisi and Paris, plus in June will be making his debut at fabric in London. Anna Wall
For fans of: Interplanetary Criminal, Overmono, Holloway
The Greece-raised, London-based producer Leena Punks is soaring on a hot streak of high-profile accolades. Last year, she nabbed a spot in the BBC Radio 1 Future Fan Club Best Of 2022, graced the line-up at Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy Weekender over the summer, and stayed hot during cooler months when Lane 8 featured her dreamy cut ‘Mirage’ on his latest Winter Mixtape. But those were all just precursors to a banger-filled 2023, in which she’s already nabbed her second BBC Hottest Record of the week as well as dropped a number of cuts on the UK house and trance imprint Stress Records — the most notable being ‘Make Me Better’, a booming dancefloor stomper that puts a refreshingly modern spin on big-room stylings.
But rest assured that the pounding sound represents just one corner of Leena’s diverse range. Those who caught the rising star at Printworks earlier this spring already have a sense of where her releases are headed next, as it was there she premiered her collaboration with Amy Wiles, ‘Sweet Feeling’. The rest of the world will hear its ascendant synths and dripping melodies when it drops via Anjunabeats later this month, and we expect it to be a favourite throughout festival season, too. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Above & Beyond, Ben Malone, Lane 8
Over just a few months and three tracks, all released on the new Soul Quest label, London’s Max Sinàl has seemingly mastered the art of the deep and jazzy groove. ‘Crawling’, released this past March as half of a split EP with Slxm Sol, has a subdued grace punctuated by an addictive Rhodes chord progression; his latest, ‘Let Your Hair Down’, backed with ‘Let You In’, comes out on July 7th and amps the jazz factor to the max, thanks in no small part to the work of vocalist / keyboardist Hutch The Great and poet Melodi Marsh.
It’s accomplished stuff — so it’s no surprise that Sinàl is actually a veteran DJ and producer who’s been releasing music semi-anonymously for years, as M.A.X and one half of Kincaid & Sinàl, among other noms de musique. But working as Max Sinàl, it feels like his music has grown into what it was meant to be — it’s mature and musically rich work, and we can’t wait to hear more. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: Nick Holder, Aqua Bassino, Andrés
When it comes to tough and propulsive techno, the LA-based David Castellani keeps getting better and better. Over a series of releases, beginning with 2021’s ‘Alpha Gamma’ EP, on his own Noetic label, he’s honed his sometimes proto-trancey material into a crisp, hugely impactful warehouse weapon, a style that begs to be heard over a massive sound system. A modular-synthesis enthusiast — he makes heavy use of his own creation, a sequencer module he calls the Precision Disrupter — he creates the kind of music that’s already brought in the likes of Ken Ishii, Redshape, and Matrixxman as remixers on his previous releases.
The ‘Balloonatic’ two-tracker is Castellani’s latest output, and it continues the producer’s upward trajectory: The title cut attacks like a rubbery gut-punch, while the 303-laden ‘Asphyxia’ is a hard-charging beast of a tune. “For this release, I wanted to push the sound into a bigger, more driven space,” he says. “Most of my music tends to lean into a headier, technical side, and though I wouldn’t call these tracks simple, I approached them with a more direct vibe in mind. My focus was on delivering a high-energy ride and pushing the listener to move on the floor.” He’s succeeded. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: James Ruskin, DVS1, Helena Hauff
il:lo in tough times, either by watching their Anjunadeep Live performances in stunning locations like Montpelier and Canyon Du Diable, or by immersing themselves in the twosome’s melodic discography, are certain to find some peace. Healing awaits in their ‘Myriad’ EP, which arrived last month via Nettwerk Music Group. The project encapsulates Dejan Dejado and Andreas Schütz’s long-distance collaborative process, wherein the artists approach each piece like a two-way conversation — a necessity, given one member is in Montpellier, and the other is in Berlin.
By allowing each composition room to breathe, they’ve formed a collection of organic soundscapes that will lighten any listener’s heavy day. The seven-track EP plays back chill, jazzy, and profoundly emotional, especially the lead single ‘Shifted’, featuring a warm-toned Fractures on vocals. Another lyrical stunner, ‘Peaks And Valleys’, is on the clubbier end of the spectrum, proving that an untraditional approach can reap vast rewards, and calmer vibes, too. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Christian Löffler, Bonobo, Howling