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Credit: George Heming

Fresh Kicks 200: Sabrina

London’s Sabrina channels classic rave NRG in her high-speed, peak-time mix for the Fresh Kicks series, and chats to Becca Inglis about growing up in the squat party scene, developing an expansive sound, and her dreams of supporting The Prodigy

For Sabrina, dance music is a family affair. Reluctant to be apart from his young daughter, her dad — who raised her after her parents separated — kept her close, even when his job threw him between Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. As they travelled together, he imparted his favourite music. “He took me clubbing when I was 10,” she recalls. “He raised me on EDM — not the cringy EDM you hear now, but the old-school bangers.” Basshunter, David Guetta, The Prodigy and Raquel comprised Sabrina’s early music education, which she remembers dancing to with her dad in their Bali apartment. “That’s where my love of music came from. He really loved music, clubbing and raving.”

But when her dad passed away, Sabrina moved to live with her cousins in London, where she gained her first taste of drum & bass in the UK’s squat rave scene. “I used to sneak out and come back at 8am in my rave wear,” she says. “I didn’t question where. I just wanted to know who was playing. Before you know it, I ended up in Maidenhead, Reading or near Paris in a field.”

Sabrina didn’t always plan to DJ (it was a toss up between music and law at first), but during lockdown she quit uni and bought some decks, which she spent hours practising on in her garden shed. When restrictions lifted, things moved quickly. One moment Sabrina was playing an open-decks slot in Brixton; the next (within two months), she was mixing at fabric. “I used to sneak into fabric when I was younger,” she marvels. “This is where I grew up.”

Sabrina gained a foothold in the scene playing liquid but, as an avid student of rave culture’s history, she’s dug deeper into hardcore, acid and electro. “160bpm, I suppose, is where my heart has always been.” Her tastes may have broadened, but the common thread is ’90s rave. “I want to make people feel like they can’t not dance to it,” she says. “I want to play music that hits the soul.”

In 2022, Sabrina secured her first international booking in Copenhagen via d&b institution Metalheadz. “It was nerve wracking because I don’t know the crowd,” she says. “I spoke to Goldie, and he was like, ‘No matter where you play, you’ve got to stick to what you want to play’.” 

She’ll take this philosophy into her next radio residency on SWU.FM and a stint abroad with Worried About Henry at Eden Ibiza. “They said experiment as much as you want, so that’s exciting.” It feels natural that her playful genre-blending should lead her into production too. “If someone asked me, ‘What music are you making?’ I could not give you one genre,” she says. “That’s part of experimenting, mixing old acid house with jungle, but they all link at the end of the day.”

Looking forward, Sabrina is determined not to be pigeonholed. “It’s all rave music to me,” she says, citing the likes of Chloé Robinson’s successful transition from bass music to a more expansive sound as inspiration. “I don’t want to be Sabrina the drum & bass DJ. That’s not me anymore.” As for where her career takes her, Sabrina has a singular vision. “My dream is to support The Prodigy,” she concludes. “The day I support The Prodigy, I will retire.”

Want more? Check out Fresh Kicks mixes from AK Sports and KYRUH

Becca Inglis is a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter here.