Fresh Kicks 116: DJ Plead | DJMag.com Skip to main content

Fresh Kicks 116: DJ Plead

Middle Eastern-influenced, percussion-led club belters from DJ Plead as part of our Fresh Kicks mix series

“It’s a blessing to do this” DJ Plead says. He’s sitting by a canal in East London on a bench, hitting his JUUL while in the middle of a punishing five-week European tour.

The half-Lebanese, half-Swiss, Melbourne-based producer is finding himself riding an unprecedented wave of success after the release of his recent percussive-heavy EP, ‘Pleats Plead’, out via Nervous Horizon.

The EP features an agile blend of genres, with the Sydney-born producer concentrating more heavily on the dancefloor than before. “Some of the tracks were a collection of old ones,” he explains about the EP. “I filled in the gaps of the record with stuff that I thought [Nervous Horizon] would like, that would echo in the back of their minds.”

After initially delving into producing music on Fruity Loops, Plead found that his work with

BV — his band that features close friends and fellow artists Cassius Select and Marcus Whale — gave him the confidence to explore his sound further. Noticing how a track he produced, ‘The Hunted’, became popular, Plead developed a laser-focus. “I started drawing back into my childhood,” he says. “These Arab drum rhythms and sounds, which I’ve really cultivated for the last few years.” 

What shines through on ‘Pleats Plead’ is the 29-year-old’s Arab identity, a facet he’s rediscovering. “I think that it’s really important that I’m half [Lebanese]. It made me want to make up for that lacking half,” he acknowledges. “Growing up, it wasn’t something I was flashing around — I was ashamed that I was not particularly proud of it. Being half, you kind of feel a bit disconnected from it, because you feel like you aren’t a proper participant in it — the diaspora or the culture — so music for me was a way to really prove somehow that I do have a connection to it.”

In recent years, DJ Plead has also started his own label, Sumac, alongside friends and collaborators T.Morimoto and Jon Watts. Founded as a place to release their music, it was the ‘Logic 1000’ EP that brought attention to the small indie imprint. “The plan right now is to keep releasing friends and people overseas who we’re in contact with,” he mentions of the label’s future. “It’s really popped off since this ‘Logic 1000’ release became popular. That’s given us a good boost. I would eventually like to release my own work on there.”

Rediscovering his identity within a world that desired to wash him of it, Plead’s creativity has been rejuvenated, and he hopes to take that energy into the coming year.

“I want to keep releasing music, desperately,” he says. “I just want to keep it fun, which is what this tour has kind of encapsulated. It’s about keeping it light and fun and not being too serious.” 

Last track that blew your mind?
“Pop Smoke ‘Welcome to the Party’”

Last film you watched?
“Long Day's Journey Into Night”

Last DJ that blew your mind?
“Jeremy Elphick”

Favourite album to relax to?
“Guerre ‘E X N I H I L O’”

Favourite producer?
“Cassius Select”

What record is top of your wishlist?
“Joy O ‘50 Locked Grooves’”

What's the best club you've played at?
“Robert Johnson”

Tracklist:

Bergsonist ‘Middle Ouest’
Lurka ‘Let’s Stay Together’
DJ Plead ‘???’
Diyei Rosalío ‘Me Kero’
JV & Palf ‘Nyx’
Leila Samir ‘Beginnings’
Sieta Catorce ‘Sal’
Toma Kami ‘Saturday Night’
DJ Plead ‘Lee's Shuffle (VIP)’
Bakongo ‘Goulbap’
Strict Face ‘Count Them’
Leonce ‘Vesper’
Cop Envy ‘Rat Break’
Cassius Select ‘Besserion’
DJ Plead ‘???’
Cop Envy & DJ Plead ‘Deep Dey’
DJ Plead ‘???’
Utility ‘Flooot (DJ Plead Utilisation v1)’
Jon Watts ‘Now it's done’
Shabjdeed ‘MTAKTAK - متكتك’
DJ Plead ‘???’
Fake ‘30 bounce’

Want more? Check out our recent Fresh Kicks mixes with Bergsonist and Amazondotcom

Dhruva Balram is a freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter @dhruvabalram

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