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Fresh Kicks 207: Aletha

With a mix of minimal thumpers, trippy techno and deep, driving acid, Manchester’s Aletha steps up for the Fresh Kicks series, and speaks to Claire Francis about the formative influence of multi-genre festivals like Dimensions, her CITRIC party, and more

There’s something thrillingly addictive about Aletha’s sets. It’s partly due to the Manchester DJ’s propensity for zingy acid and electro cuts, but it’s also the way she makes seamless forays into breaks, UK bass, house, techno and even jazz and ambient. 

Since 2017 Aletha has honed her dexterous, genre-melding style through regular slots on radio stations including MAH Radio, Narr, Sable Radio, Worldwide FM and her current residency on Rinse FM. As she explains to DJ Mag, being an avid festival-goer for many years has also contributed to her wide-ranging music taste. “Going to multi-genre festivals was really important. Dimensions, in particular, was such a big influence on my taste. You’ve got everything from jazz on the beach, to disco and house, to techno, breaks and bass. I’d be there among all that, then I’d come home and try to piece together which sets I saw and when, to try and find more music like that.”

As well as racking up bookings at some of the UKs most celebrated clubs and parties, including fabric, Wire Club, Village Underground, The Warehouse Project and The White Hotel, it’s on the festival circuit that Aletha is really hitting her stride. It’s fitting that some of her favourite career moments to date have been at Croatia’s legendary summer festivals.
“Love International was a big highlight,” she says of the B2B she played there with Amaliah. “And Dimensions — I’ve been going there for the last 10 years, and I’ve played for the last four or five years. Last year I played a peak-time slot on the Olive Grove stage, which was amazing, and also at Barbarellas Discotheque and a boat party. So it was three quite major sets that I haven’t had the chance to do there before. It was really special, because it’s one of my favourite festivals.” 

Back in Manchester, Aletha juggles her increasingly busy DJing schedule with her job as a town planner. She says that while it can be stressful balancing full-time work with her music commitments, she takes a pragmatic approach to the situation. “Coming from a working-class background, there’s a sense of wanting to have the financial security of a day job, while also being able to do what you love. I think it also helps, in terms of being able to be selective and pick gigs that are right for me.” 

It’s in Manchester that Aletha also runs her own party, CITRIC. The ethos behind CITRIC is to support people of colour who are female, queer, trans or non-binary, and create space for them to occupy headline slots.  “In the music industry, what you tend to see is headliners who are predominantly straight white men, and all the slots below get filled up by ticking off a diversity clause or quota. I want to flip it around, and build the line-up around it being diverse in the first instance,” she explains. 

It’s been challenging, she admits, “I’ve only done one party so far, because financially it’s difficult to run events at the moment. But I’m hoping to get another one out this year.” 

As well as aiming to empower those around her, Aletha continues to be encouraged by some of the women she admires most. “DJ Paulette is a big inspiration, being from Manchester. She shows how, even though we can be overlooked in the industry as women of colour, that persistence and perseverance will get us there in the end.”


Dustin Bones ‘Chapmans Choice’ 
Per Hammar & Malin Genie ‘Snel Dubb’
CLJL & Jamie Leather ‘Non Terrestrial (Spaced Mix)’
Theo Kottis ‘Take Control’
Anna Wall ‘Saturn Return’
Bertie ‘Carabiner (Ciel’s Reoriented Dub)’
Mabel ‘All Aboard Starship Universe’ 
Coffintexts ‘Activo’
LWS ‘Hedges’ 
Parris & Untold ‘Lip Locked’ 
Jack Smooth & Chicago Loop ‘Under The Influence’
Human Space Machine ‘Mopo’
Al Wootton ‘Xana’
Korzi ‘Salford Crunch’ 
Coffintexts ‘I Like The Way She’s Moving’ 
RTCHRD ‘Wait’ 
Farsight ‘ Empty Agent’

Check out Fresh Kicks mixes for ToribioMincy and Suze Ijó 

Claire Francis is a freelance music & culture journalist. You can follow Claire on Twitter here