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Poll 2022: KAKA

From: China

DJ style: “Mainstage house and dance; music that makes you happy.”

Best known for: “‘Needs’.”

Fave tune of 2022: “‘Moth To A Flame’ by Swedish House Mafia feat. The Weeknd.”

Rising star DJ/producer of 2022: “KREAM.”

Although KAKA has been a respected pioneer for female DJs in China since she emerged in the late ‘00s — not to mention a Pioneer DJ champion in 2015 — this year was something of a breakout year for the DJ. It's easy to see why: her DJing moves fluently and fluidly from chopped-up pop songs to reassembled club monsters. Running throughout all her sets is a delicate sense of balance. Her selections behind the decks are just as likely to be filled with broody bass that sounds like it’s about to break through the stereo as sky-searching melodies — perfect for lonely drives home. This style of DJing has gotten her accolades both in her native China and internationally, with the likes of Laidbuke Luke tapping her for a guest mix, and a festival itinerary that saw her criss-cross Europe and North America. 

KAKA's interests are not confined to mixing records. She has also dabbled in China's fashion world, making cameos across fashion week, and 2021 saw her take some time to learn production with her debut, ‘Needs’. She's followed that release up with the pulling-on-your-heartstrings ‘Be With You’, another track that gives us a teaser of her skills in the studio. DJing, production and fashion — a perfect cocktail for an exciting 2023.

What’s the best DJ set you’ve seen this year?

“Vintage Culture at EDC MEXICO 2022.”

Name one great festival you played for the first time this year…

“Ultra Europe/Japan/Korea had invited me, but due to the pandemic it was a pity that we couldn't make this happen. I hope we can do it next time, maybe in 2023.”

What’s the longest DJ set you’ve ever played?

“I played a special techno set for 150 minutes in an underground party held in Shanghai, which included the best Chinese techno DJs, during the national holiday. I played a very house/techno set to show the totally different part of me.”

What’s one piece of studio hardware you wish you owned?

“I wish I could own the NEVE 5088 and PMC 8-2, or QB1 XBD-A.”

What’s the last tune you bought?

“Recently I focused on melodic techno/house, as mentioned above. I would like to create something which I seldom try before, and to do some fusion.”

What’s the next big sound?

“I have been communicating with some famous labels recently. This year, I want to bring some different music, which will integrate some new elements with my past style and bring you some special new singles.”