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Fresh Kicks 172: Sobolik

Sobolik_Aubrey Jowers

Brooklyn’s Sobolik records a whirlwind mix of leftfield techno, breaks and bass for the Fresh Kicks series, and chats to Eoin Murray about participating in Martyn’s mentoring programme, building IRL and online music communities and more

“Things really accelerated way quicker than I could have ever imagined,” says Sobolik, who made a splash in 2021 with their colourful club productions. Speaking from their home in Brooklyn, where they’ve lived since June, the emergent producer and DJ is catching their breath at the end of a year that’s seen them release their first EPs and play their first club sets. Their tracks on labels such as Turin’s early reflex, London’s All Centre and Martyn’s 3024 have earned support from reputable selectors including Anz, Ciel, Facta and SHE Spells Doom; their take on music for the dancefloor plucks lovingly from styles across the hardcore continuum, bathing their sub-bass foundations and intricate rhythms in a distinctive neon hue.

It’s an effervescent sound that’s mirrored in Sobolik’s own demeanour. Since moving to Brooklyn, they’ve thrown themselves excitedly into the borough’s bustling club circuit, connecting with like minded folks and making new friends within the scene. Their ‘Iris’ EP, a buoyant four-tracker released on All Centre in December, was written over the summer after lockdown, usually in the early morning hours after returning from the club, when the post-rave afterglow fuelled their creativity. “It really contributed to the sound,” they say.

Sobolik DJ’d Happy Hour slots in the now sadly shut Bossa Nova Civic Club during the autumn, and spent the year’s penultimate night there with Sorry Records, playing alongside founder Nick Boyd, DRUMMy, Swap MEET! and Boo Lean. They’ve been thrilled to hear their own tunes played out unexpededly too, in venues like Good Room, where DJ Amelia Holt, who they’ve admired for some time, dropped their bubbling remix of diessa’s ‘fuck me’. “Watching people dance to your shit is really special because you can see how it's affecting them in their faces, or in what they do with their bodies. That’s when it feels real, because it's impacting them in real time.”

As they speak, Sobolik’s stories are peppered with effusive praise for their friends and peers, such as DJ Lychee and Tri Music Group’s Brian Thabault. It points to a rising artist for whom dance music is a communal endeavour, where mutual elevation and support takes precedence over personal gains. “I’m so new to the scene I’m in. I want to focus on just contributing to that, and being part of a community over trying to put out a smash hit record,” they say. “What it should really be about is facilitating everyone to be a part of these things, and express this music together.”


Before moving to Brooklyn, Sobolik was living with their family in upstate New York, having lost their job at the start of the pandemic. They’d been producing beats for a few years, but the sudden glut of free time that Covid afforded them allowed them to really throw themself into it, often working on music for over eight hours a day. A breakthrough in confidence came after they sent a few tracks to London-based producer and DJ object blue, who played their track ‘Camille’ in her BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix in May 2020, a year before it was released on an early reflex compilation. “I thought, okay, nobody would do that unless they really believed in the tunes,” they remember. “From then on I was more interested in sharing my music with people.”

Sobolik went on to participate in Martyn’s online mentoring programme for electronic music producers, an experience they describe as an “incalculable blessing”. While they’d spent their college years driving over two hours to attend raves in Washington DC, from where they were studying in Virginia, the 3024 programme was the first time Sobolik felt like an active participant in a dance music community. “[Before] coming into that programme... I was connecting and getting into this music in a sort of parasocial way,” they say. “It was just me consuming mixes, getting into different artists, making tunes and mixing in my room, playing the occasional house party for my friends. But it was a one way mirror, you know? I could see what was going on, but I had no feedback.”

“Martyn opened up his philosophy and his production process. He gave a lot of interesting perspectives on making music for the club that I benefited from immensely,” they continue, emphasising the camaraderie that developed between its participants. “It's just been super dope to see some of my peers do really great things and progress their music. When we give each other feedback, it's always really helpful and kind. It's just a good environment.”

Sobolik is now striving to create similar spaces for others to learn music production using the Discord digital community platform. They were such an active member of All Centre’s server that they were eventually asked to run it. They’ve since helped run and curate production workshops, masterclass-style streams, sample pack contests and remix competitions, with much more planned on that front in the coming year. 

Looking ahead, Sobolik is plotting their next release, and as the year’s begun they've been DJing more regularly. They also plan to run more editions of Inside Voices, a midweek party they launched recently in Brooklyn’s Jupiter Disco venue with a set from Slink co-founder K Wata. They hope the party will provide a space for artists to showcase the weirder, deeper sides of their record bags. “I want there to be more spaces for people to be able to colour outside the lines,” they say, highlighting their excitement to keep sharing these experiences with their peers, and evolve alongside them in the process. “That's what it's all about at the end of the day,” they say. “Because that's the only way that music can mean something. Otherwise it’s just tunes.”


flaty ‘november hords’ [anwo]
object blue ‘cerco de deus’ [tt]
dybbuk ‘co-op’ [forthcoming causal chain]
k wata ??? [unreleased]
outsider ‘yay’ [pressure dome]
sputnik one ??? [unreleased]
destrata ??? [unreleased]
despina ‘weird angel’ [all centre]
benbo ‘ready when you are’ [loosee]
fraxinus ‘proponent’ [powerplant]
sirr tmo ‘low end saga’ [forthcoming fade to mind]
xen chron ??? [unreleased]
duswunder ??? [unreleased]
sha ru ??? [unreleased]
hassan abou alam ‘kesibt’ [banoffee pies]
james bangura ‘pinky ring (extendo mix)’ [self-released]
scratchclart ‘drmtrk’ [drmtrk]
sister zo ‘screw cheek’ [scuffed]
huna + joe polar ‘tengo’ [cloudcore]
nguzunguzu ‘wake sleep (total freedom winter park homicide edition)’ [fade to mind]
errorsmith ‘make or break’ [errorsmith]
sepha ‘kirby club’ [unreleased]
tah ‘beat it up like’ [self-released]
calvo x thunderbird juicebox ‘21 questions’ [self-released]
ikava pii ??? [unreleased]
alptrack ‘ultra cunty’ [self-released]
diessa ‘the belfry’ [szns7n]
alec pace ‘permutations’ [forthcoming early reflex]
dj double oh! ‘burst’ [forthcoming all centre]
keplrr ‘esoteric functions (syz refunction)’ [control freak]
henzo ‘finola anthem (florentino vs manuka 3baleteo remix)’ [yco]
xen chron ??? [unreleased]
llx ‘nice one (klahrk remix)’ [audio bambino]
alec pace ‘lanes’ [forthcoming early reflex]
toumba ‘115’ [all centre]
talik ‘unease’ [forthcoming femme culture]
laced ‘silkscreen’ [forthcoming causal chain]

Want more? Check out Brooklyn DJ Ayesha's Fresh Kicks feature here

Eoin Murray is DJ Mag's deputy digital editor. You can follow him on Twitter @eoin_murraye

Photo credit: Aubrey Jowers