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Selections: NIKS

In this series, Selections, we invite DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their collections. This week, NIKS spotlights ‘90s techno, vocal house and percussive club bangers

NIKS is the co-founder of the Black Artist Database — a website and initiative that promotes Black musicians around the world in all genres, and aims to challenge the inequality of the music industry. A skilful DJ in her own right, her sets encompass everything from percussive ’90s techno and jacking Chicago house to modern breakbeat hybrids, joining the dots through dance history up to the present day.

She grew up near Bath and got into DJing via her dad, who was into soundsystem culture, and her brother, who used to record jungle and garage sets from pirate radio, and collected records. Gaining experience DJing in Bath and Bristol, she later moved to south-east London, and today is a Rinse FM and Percolate resident with an increasingly packed diary of gigs across the UK and Europe.

“All of my selections are tracks that I have been playing out and on air recently,” NIKS says. “A combination of my digital and vinyl archive, these are songs that have been really making me groove over the past few weeks, and that I’ve been sharing with the world.”

Dive in below. 

Bakongo, Spectr
‘Off Guard’ [Hotflush Recordings]

“Over the past couple of years, Bakongo has been releasing on Hotflush, but it is this track that I kept drawing back to. After each break in the track there’s a new sound or instrument layered to make your head jerk and hips groove -  a real nice percussive, head-bopping, dark number."

Elektrochemie LK
‘Schall (Trevor Rockcliffe Remix)’ [Confused Recordings]

“Embarrassingly, I only discovered Trevor Rockcliffe after a recent phone call with Waajeed *covers faces in shame*. I immediately went onto his Discogs and fell in love with ‘Schall’, which I immediately purchased. This track depicts the exact, rhythmic high-energy late ‘90s/early ‘00s techno that I oh so adore and would love a modern day revival of.”

Nigel Hayes
‘Que Pasa (Dub Mix)’ [Shift Imprint]

“A recent vinyl purchase of mine from my May trip to Berlin from Cinthie’s 'Elevate' store – the basement level is where all of the original gems are. Similar to 'Schall', this is another percussive '00s track which I ripped upon my return and can be heard on my last Rinse FM show.”

Argy, DJ Said
‘Dope Track’ [Ibadan Recordings]

“It’s the vocals - ‘yo, that sounds dope’’ - coupled with the horns, hi-hats and constant bass that genuinely get me hypnotised into a real deep groove with this track. The additional random bleeps and horns – and if you listen close enough, the subtle ‘uhhh’ vocals, which go off throughout just keep the momentum going.”

James Bangura
‘Pinky Ring’

“Washington DC producer James Bangura sent me this track a few weeks before releasing earlier on this year, and every time I loop the intro sampled vocal, I watch the crowd getting hyped (a particular memory of the crowd at Gala festival) and ready for the drop – it’s such a simple yet high-energy breaksy track.”

Cajmere, Terence FM
‘Feelin’ Kinda High (Dub ‘94)’

“This lengthy house number has such a mysterious, weird and groovy edge to it – exactly what Cajmere is known for delivering. Plus we have the pleasure of hearing Cajmere’s infamous vocals in this track too. Perfect for an intimate club setting.”

‘3’ [Gudu Records/!K7 Records]

“The variation between that repetitive wiggly, alien sounding element, and the range of hi-hats and bass makes this one such a dirty head bopper for me – ‘just light up’”.

Genius of Time
'Voxshot’ [Aniara Records]

“I adore, adore, adore a hypnotic and repetitive vocal, and the extensive intro to this with the constant percussion, which layers and cleverly alters in bars halfway through, makes this one such a groovy rider for me. It sat oh so nicely at 9 PM midway through my B2B with Manami at Glastonbury.”

Point G
‘Too Va Do’ [Point G.]

“Probably the most simple track from my selection, this track is a wave rider, lengthy with the same beat and crazy oral sound and bleeps throughout, perfect for getting deeper into a set.”

Dance System
‘Flash Drive’ [Clone Jack For Daze Serie]

"Around two thirds of the way through this track is the bit that hooked me as it’s so unexpected. The BPM slows right the way down, then speeds up super fast, then drops back to the original BPM and the beat drops and gives off a really nice body groove feel."

‘Untitled A1’ [Fatcat Records]

“Now similar to Trevor Rockcliffe I must admit, it was only through a conversation last year with Tasha (Neighbourhood) that I discovered that Grain was the ‘90s alias of Artwork – crazy right!? When going through Grain’s discogs I stumbled across the infamous ‘Untitled’ EP and it was ‘Untitled A1’ that I was hooked to. Again, it has that proper ‘90s percussive and rhythmic techno groove and bounce that I really wish was being produced galore today. Anyways, I included this track in my recent RA mix and have been playing it out non-stop.”

‘My Love (Ralphi Roasrio Remix)’ [Moonshine Music]

“Wrapping up my Selections with this soulful, high-energy track with those powerful vocals – when I played this in May at Oxi club in Berlin, I looped the vocals for a good minute then let it drop and you could literally feel the energy of the room ascend.”