In February 2020, Ploy shared a bill with Batu and Loraine James, celebrating five years of Batu’s label, Timedance. Playing the closing hours of the party, Ploy’s ferocious set spanned techno, grime, footwork, breaks, gqom, edits of FKA Twigs and Nina Sky, and everything in between. Six months later, he shared two hours of the set on SoundCloud. Early in the year, Ploy said in the caption, he’d reached a particular aesthetic with his DJing that he was happy with — captured in this set from Manchester’s The White Hotel. He fittingly described it as “rough and ready with bags of energy” — just what was needed halfway through the first year of the pandemic.
Soon after, in October 2020, Ploy quietly released his debut long-player, ‘Unlit Signals’, on Ron Morelli’s L.I.E.S. label. A marked contrast to his previous releases — like 2018’s Timedance-released percussive techno cut ‘Ramos’, which found itself on many a ‘best of’ list that year — the album was full of dark, moody rhythms and atmospherics. He describes the production process as a years-long “laborious slog” that began long before Covid-19 hit, but the resultant mood — this time sombre, as opposed to uplifting — was once again an ideal fit for the times.
Speaking to DJ Mag on Zoom, Ploy often refers to his use of themes and reference points in his creative process. “I’m consciously trying to inform the music I make now by all my other musical interests and influences,” he says, “thinking about how referential I want to make it and how to do it in the best way. I’m more interested in stuff outside of the UK, taking inspiration from other dance music scenes from various other places and putting it back into my own thing.”
In an interview with No Symbols in August 2021, Ploy described what he likes best at a party — “unapologetic dance music hammering out, intense at times but [with] so much groove and soul”. Informed by baile funk from Brazil and the rhythms of dembow and kuduro, Ploy’s most recent EP ‘Rayhana’, released on his label Deaf Test, rings true to this want for hammering club music with soul.