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Fresh Kicks 178: Amy Dabbs

Fresh Kicks 178: Amy Dabbs

Amy Dabbs records a mix of uplifting, festival-ready house for the Fresh Kicks series, and speaks to Kamila Rymajdo about overcoming uncertainty to seize her moment as a DJ and producer

London-born Amy Dabbs grew up around music. On the way to school, her dad — a Northern soul DJ from Blackpool — would play Motown records, and she got her own pair of decks for her 18th birthday. But after university, Amy knuckled down with a career in advertising, and music took a back seat. She first dabbled in production around 2014, but wasn’t satisfied with the output.

“I was trying to do all this fancy stuff, but I was sitting there with very basic knowledge and then I got distracted by other things, meaning I didn’t go hell for leather,” she recalls over Zoom. “But there’s always been something in my head saying, ‘You need to do this’, and that nagging never really went away.”

In 2018, Amy moved to Berlin and became immersed in the club scene. “I was living my 18-year-old life again — out constantly,” she remembers. The following year, Amy decided to rent a studio shared with three other people. “When I first got there, I would just sit and cry going, ‘I’m so rubbish’,” she reveals. But hitting that creative rock bottom led to a period of intense learning. “I watched tutorials about every single effect in Ableton,” Amy says, describing how the experience created momentum, which led to her starting to make music again. When lockdown hit, it felt like a sign to keep going.

By May 2020, Amy had finished her ‘Girl Like Me’ EP — a house record — and turned her hand to jungle and drum & bass. With her newfound Ableton mastery, Amy decided to write ‘Allure’ completely from scratch. “I programmed every single snare and every single cymbal and hi-hat,” she says, enjoying the ownership that doing it that way gave her. She entered the track into a competition held by Paul Woolford, which led to it being pressed to vinyl. “That gave me confidence. I thought, ‘If a legend like Paul Woolford thinks I can do it, then maybe I can’.” 

Soon after, she sent ‘Girl Like Me’ to London label Lobster Theremin. Blending Chicago house — Amy cites Larry Heard as an inspiration — soul and jazz, ‘Girl Like Me’ is music that makes you feel good from the off. Amy’s ‘Places’ EP, released in October 2021, is similarly uplifting, with high-pitched vocals that pepper walking basslines and classic stabs over four tracks that make you long for summer.

“I feel really happy with the way that I’ve changed and the way that I’ve grown making music, and I think maybe that happiness is coming out in the tracks,” Amy says. “When people hear my music, I want them to be putting their hands up and grabbing their mates. I know it’s really hard and you can’t get that with every track, but that’s the ambition.”

Most recently, Amy collaborated with fellow Lobster Theremin artist Coco Bryce for ‘Slightly Involved: Volume 1’ — reworks of each other’s most high-profile releases to date. Amy’s takes again prove her to be versatile across different genres, offering a melodic drum & bass version of Bryce’s ‘Twenty One Lies’ and a homage to the UK’s early rave era in her remix of ‘Ma Bae Be Luv’.

“‘Twenty One Highs’ [the title of Dabbs’ rework] is probably one of the tracks I’m most proud of. The stems he gave me were phenomenal anyway, but I made it quickly without trying, because things just came so naturally. It was such a pleasure,” Amy says, revealing that she’s usually a meticulous perfectionist who’ll be in the studio “for 27 hours”.

Attention to detail also characterises Amy as a DJ. “I don’t plan the set — I’ll probably prepare my first couple of tracks and then see how the crowd reacts — but the playlists that go into the preparation, it’s ridiculous. For [her debut at] Fabric, I had about 20 different playlists,” Amy shares, explaining how she’ll usually prepare individual breakbeat, hardcore, jungle and drum & bass playlists, and then single out big tracks as well.

June will see Amy launch her own label, Dabbs Traxx, with her own ‘Four Track Mind’ EP. Keep an eye out on DJ Mag this month for a track premiere from that. She’s looking to play festivals as well as local shows. With her calendar getting ever busier, Amy says she’s feeling a sense of urgency to keep grinding at the level she has been since that breakthrough writing ‘Girl Like Me’.

“My mates are like, ‘You can have a weekend off, you haven’t even got a deadline’, but it’s like this voice telling me to keep pushing as much as I can.” Having conquered her insecurity, Amy Dabbs knows this is her time.


Space Ghost ‘Time Station’ [Pacific Rhythm]
Lis Sarroca ‘Driven’ [Maai]
Luma-G ‘After The Fog’ [Chineurs de House]
Baby Rollen ‘Peripheral Visions’ [Semi Delicious]
Matthieu Faubourg ‘Poly’ [Smile For A While]
DJ Steaw ‘Inner Beauty’ [House Puff Records]
Amy Dabbs ‘Til You See’ [Dabbs Traxx]
Sweely ‘Good To Be Back’ [Lobster Theremin]
Baldo ‘The Morning Song’ [Permanent Vacation]
Cinthie ‘Organ’ [!K7]
Freak DaFunk ‘Music’ [Deep Trouble]
Amy Dabbs ‘Four Track Mind’ [Dabbs Traxx]
Eliphino ‘NSPG’ [Meda Fury]
Cromby ‘Acid Trifle’ [Phantasy Sound]
AK Sports ‘The Humans Are Dead’ [Lobster Theremin]
Subjoi ‘Count It Off’ [Lost Palms]