When we talk about the new wave DJs who’ve been taking the UK by storm, Yazzus dominates the conversation. The Londoner’s bombastic rave sound is a cyclone of knockout techno kicks, dreamy footwork jungle and breakbeat hardcore mayhem, slapped with neon go-faster stripes and astrological nods. It all hints towards the transcendental side of raving, with a joyful silliness at its heart. As she puts it: “You can have a spiritual awakening, but laugh about it.”
As a DJ, Yazzus’ star has been rising for the past half a decade. Originally a grime kid, she found a new passion for ’90s hardcore music while at university; she studied rave subcultures for her dissertation. “The rave scene promoted peace, love, unity and respect, so you know they’re nice people,” she says, “it’s generally a wholesome subculture.”
The past couple of years have seen her rise up as a producer too — even scooping a Breakthrough Producer nomination at DJ Mag’s 2020 Best of British awards. Almost two years ago to the day of this feature, she shared her first forays into production, turning heads with a pack of bootlegged DEEP MEDi MUSIK tracks — switching up dubstep classics into full-throttle footwork jungle. More hyperactive anthems followed in ‘Experience 5D’ and her ‘Voltagem’ EP, drawing on a wide range of dancefloor influences and decorating them with the splashes of pink and green that have become part of her whole rave aesthetic.
As her DJing schedule got busier and busier, bolstered by her UK tour as part of supergroup 6 Figure Gang alongside Jossy Mitsu, SHERELLE, LCY, Fauzia and Dobbs, so too did the demand for her productions. Heading into 2020 all guns blazing, Yazzus popped up on Hospital Records’ annual ‘Sick Music’ compilation and dropped a solo EP for Diplo’s Mad Decent label, while the Rave Litany party she co-runs was steaming ahead with whopping great line-ups at London nightclub The Cause.
Of course, we all know what happened next for clubbing. However, for someone who’s so outspoken about her love affair with raving, Yazzus is surprisingly chipper about the year that never was. “Obviously it has been really weird, but I’m just trying to take things to my advantage,” she says when we ask how she coped with 2020. “Whatever situation you find yourself in, it’s not about the event, it’s about how you process it and how you deal with it. So for me last year, obviously the DJing side was super quiet, but it just made me focus more on production.”
The evidence of that is plain to see. Utilising several Bandcamp Fridays — the ongoing monthly event when the music marketplace waives their fees, giving artists a chance to make some much-needed extra money — Yazzus let loose a flurry of bootleg productions. In May she dropped ‘It’s Ya Girl’s Bootlegs’ — a whopping 30-track compilation of edits, about half of which were made in the week leading up to the release. “When I’m in the zone, I’m IN the zone,” says Yazzus, explaining that she works better with the pressure of a deadline. Another compilation — this time remixing music from her favourite anime shows — followed shortly after, and she rounded off the year with a celebratory EP reworking some of the women who’d dominated 2020, like Megan Thee Stallion.