Fresh Kicks 184: Ngoni Egan
Electro’s breakout star Ngoni Egan demonstrates his boundary-pushing sound for the Fresh Kicks mix series, and speaks to Claire Francis about paying tribute to his familial roots in Botswana with the ‘Re Teng’ EP
Ngoni Egan’s inventive forays in electro have marked him as one of the most exciting emerging names of the genre in recent times. As well as flexing his powerful, spacey grooves with releases on All City, THRUST and Winthorpe Electronics, the Dublin-raised DJ and producer is behind the city’s electro-focused Lepton club-night and collective, and he has been a key player in championing the sound there.
“Electro is just class,” he tells DJ Mag with a laugh. “When I hear electro, it’s really next level, it just beats everything else. When it comes to my influences, a lot of people would say Drexciya, that’s the obvious one. But for me it’s actually DynArec, the French artist. There was a track that I heard by him years ago called ‘All Automatic’, and there was another record — I’m just going to talk while I look for it, I have my records here — I bought this DynArec album called ‘User Input’, and I couldn’t stop playing it.”
Having just made his debut on Carista’s United Identities label with the dynamic ‘Re Teng’ EP, Egan takes his affinity for classic electro and pairs it with a fresh, forward-thinking compositional approach and an experimental sound palette. He skilfully blends electro, techno, ambient soundscapes and bold percussive jams, combining analogue hardware with a self-produced sample pack, colourful synth lines, and even his own whispered vocals. ‘Re Teng’ was recorded between Dublin and Rotterdam, where Egan is now based. “I moved there during the pandemic,” he explains. “I’m definitely a spontaneous kind of person!”
The five-tracker is a testament to his water-tight production skills, as well as a tribute to his family heritage. “There’s a sound studio in Rotterdam called Worm,” Egan says. “They have a lot of really rare vintage synthesisers and drum machines. I also made my own sample pack in there. Then I went back home to Dublin over Christmas, and I was talking to my mum about my family’s background, and the different places that my grandparents came from, and which tribes they came from. I was looking more and more into my family history.”
Egan’s family originates from Botswana, and the track titles on ‘Re Teng’ reference his cross-cultural ties. Opener ‘Kalahari To Fingal’ nods to both the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and Fingal, Co. Dublin, while the mood-lifting bangers ‘Phase 2’ and ‘Gaborone West Groove’ both allude to the capital of Botswana.
“I haven’t been back there in 11 years, which is too long,” he explains. “Now that I’m a bit older, and I’ve travelled a bit, and I’m getting the opportunity to travel more for DJing, it’s the number one place on my list that I want to go.
“I would really love to play some gigs there one day,” he continues. “That would be like a dream come true. It would be a lovely thing to reconnect with Botswana through my music. The only thing is, the country has quite a small population. There’s like two million people there, with only 400,000 in the capital city, so my kind of music might not be that common in terms of venues that play techno and electro. The electronic scene in Botswana is similar to South Africa. There’s a lot of house music. But who knows, there could be an electro producer there, I just haven’t found them yet!”
It’s clear that familial connection is at the heart of Egan’s music. “My mam’s really proud,” he chuckles. “She always listens to my music anyway. With insights on SoundCloud, you can see which profile has listened to your music the most, and my mum for years was my number one fan. Sometimes she tries to give me advice, like, ‘This track has a lot of groove, you should try to do that more often, I think people will dig that more’.”
She obviously knows what she’s talking about. “Definitely! That’s my secret,” he laughs.
Listen to Ngoni Egan's Fresh Kicks mix, and check the tracklist, below.
Cyphon ‘Red Zone’
Serge Geyzel ‘Palindrome’
DJ Nerdiboy ‘Back in The Day’
Robotek Reagan ‘U-Space’
/DL/MS/ ‘Accelerated Frequency Dub’
Hermeth ‘Hey Kitt’
Jensen Interceptor & CYRK ‘Metawave’
AISHA ‘Twilight Zone’
False Persona ‘Danger Close’
/DL/MS/ ‘Trusted Funk’
AE35 & Shun ‘Slice Strings’
PTHGN ‘West Coast Freak’
Moma Ready ‘Step Into The Light’
Detroits Filthiest ‘Secure The Bag’
Shinedoe ‘Roots Are Calling’