In The Que: Celebrating the Que Club looks back at some of its most iconic ravesContinue reading...
Having already run through all the best sounds of 2022 (DJs, breakthrough DJs, live acts, tracks, albums and mixes), it’s time to look forward. There’s an exciting energy in the air at the start of each year, knowing that a whole new wave of exciting music and dancefloors moments are soon to be experienced. If you’re looking for a guarantee of good times, keep your eyes on our 24 artists to watch in 2023 (listed below in alphabetical order).
A multifaceted creative, AyChibs likes to push boundaries. Built from his own love for collaboration, he founded the visionary collective ABOE (A Bit Of Everything), an environment encouraging people to explore their talents across the creative spectrum. Connecting people and communities through expression, ABOE has spearheaded many projects and ended this year with a Christmas party for young freelancers. As a DJ, you can catch him across London playing a collection of R&B, hip hop, house and more. To capture a taste of his sets, tune into his ABOERADIO show on No Signal. He also produces music, with 2022 seeing the release of ‘5%’ with Careless and double single ‘Patience/Gardenia’ with Weyland Mckenzie. Beyond music-making and uplifting fellow artists, Chibs also works in video. From directing music videos to creating visuals for the Sugababes and Top Boy, he’s bound to pop up in your 2023.
[Photo: Bernice Mulenga]
In 2022 our imaginations, and dancefloors, transported to Miami. TraTraTrax alum Bitter Babe, who’s based in the city, has, rightfully, been riding that wave — delighting the stateside masses with her eclectic perspective on Latinx dance music. She’s just as comfortable traversing frenetic reggaeton and techno as she is manoeuvring swelling grooves and bolshy rollers, all with a focus on striking percussion. Hailing from Bogota, Bitter Babe is a member of Julianna’s ECO and Latitudes projects — both working to shine a light on the work of women/non-binary artists within Colombia and the wider Latin diaspora. Last year saw her release a collaborative EP, ‘Delirio’, with fellow Miami juggernaut Nick León, as well a track on the much hailed TraTraTrax compilation ‘no pare, sigue sigue’. This year, we’re expecting to see her make a plethora of knockout appearances on this side of the Atlantic, with Brussel’s festival Horst having already locked her in. We’re not Bitter, Babe.
Imprinting his name on line-ups up and down the country, Bluetooth’s vigorous fusion of techno and breaks makes him stand out from the crowd. In 2022 highlights include being at fabric twice, Dimensions Festival alongside Batu and Djrum, and keeping his weekly Rinse FM residency on lock. On top of this, his own label INFA RED was launched with his single ‘Jinx’. 2023 looks exciting with more releases due to come on INFA RED, alongside music from his new partnership with Jossy Mitsu, Blumitsu. There’s even rumour of an A/V show to be ready for later this year.
Clavish doesn’t attack the mic, he commands it. His flow is unhurried and casual, but listen intently and you’ll hear some of the most formidable wordplay in UK rap right now. Active since 2018, he’s already turned many heads, dropping a string of first-rate freestyles (see: his Mad About Bars w/ Kenny Allstar and Daily Duppy) and singles, including recent D-Block Europe collab ‘Rocket Science’, which have attracted millions of listens. With his debut mixtape ‘Rap Game Awful’ dropping this January and a sold-out UK and Ireland tour following in March, 2023 looks primed to be the year Clavish joins the top table of UK rap.
London-by-way-of-Canada DJ Club Fitness has easily become one of the sets to catch on any line-up bearing her name. While her residency at Corsica Studios has treated the South London masses to a swish selection of dynamic doors-open burners, delectable rollers and up-tempo house and techno — she’s also played further afield, with lusted after slots at Lisbon’s Lux, Love International, Waterworks, Copenhagen’s Ved Siden Af and many more. Holding a real talent for getting bodies moving, Club Fitness ensured that even those at home got in on the action last year — from prickling melodies in her CRACK mix, to sharp house in her Dimensions podcast, to the all-out espionage fantasy in her Mixmag Mixes of 2022 featured Mixtape Club offering. It’s New Year, New Me szn folks — and we’re about ready for a workout in 2023!
He’s been around for a minute, but having spent the past few years crafting a unique, intangible bass sound —this Egyptian-born, Washington DC-based DJ/producer is about due his moment in 2023. Named after one of the early pyramid-builders in ancient Egypt, Djoser’s distinctive and energetic approach to low-ends takes inspiration from his love of off-kilter percussion, dubstep and his own studies of Nubian music. As part of DC collective/party-starters L.E.N.G, he’s helped develop the city’s burgeoning club scene — bringing in overseas acts such as DJ Lag, Ploy, DjRUM and Martyn, the latter of whom invited Djoser, aka Shady Daoud, to release on his 3024 label in 2020. 2022 saw Djoser release a new EP on Loose, as well as a killer mixtape for Ransom Note.
Originally hailing from Pakistan’s capital city of Karachi and co-founding the Forever South (FXS) collective, Haamid Rahim AKA Dynoman was a key player in spotlighting the region’s underground electronic music scene over the past decade. Now based in New York City, heading up Rare Frequency Transmissions with Zara Dekho, he’s been bringing his well-travelled, well-developed sound to NYC. Flicking through classy house grooves, rampant techno, ghettotech, breaks and more, sprinkled with seasonings of Pakistani rhythms, his DJ sets and productions are never static or similar. With more releases and gigs locked in for the year ahead, NYC and beyond should keep their ears out.
As a consistently excellent producer, label head and DJ who co-founded Dublin-based record label Pear along with Nev Jio, last year saw the continued evolution to Fionn Fahey AKA Fio Fa’s sound, topped with the launching of new label Sunset Drifters. More heads-down, proggy and groove-heavy than his earlier work, expect to see him get dancefloors shaking in 2023, as well as his productions continue to find their way into the record bags and USB sticks of DJs across the world.
Euphoria with a capital E, Peggy Gou protégé fka.m4a is most certainly someone you should have on your radar for 2023. Describing themselves as a “child of generation HÖR”, the Berlin-based DJ combines surgical precision with the joy of warm vocal house, sizzling techno and Italo disco — creating dancefloors that are overflowing with emotion and queer bliss. Having only started DJing three years ago, they were booked for the New Year’s Eve countdown spot at Panorama Bar — just one signifier in their dizzying progression. Mixes for HÖR, Mixmag, Boiler Room and Honey Soundsytem have only further demonstrated their potential for world domination — while bookings at Circoloco, Nachtiville, fabric and DGTL are hard evidence. We expect you’ll be VERY familiar with fka.m4a before the end of this year.
[Photo: Darren Black]
As a resident of the notorious .TAG club in Chengdu (nicknamed Chengsterdam within China for its liberal party scene), HAO has a reputation for high-octane techno sets with unwavering rhythmic flow. He pulls dancers through pneumatic beats up to blinding trance-inflected climaxes with a sense of momentum that’s relentless and exhilarating. Through curating the SiS B&C and Seafood parties, which take place across China and feature similarly charged selectors, he’s an electrifying presence on the country’s club scene, and has made waves further afield with mixes for the likes of NTS and Honey Soundsystem. Following the recent lifting of China’s strict lockdown restrictions, he’s raring to go in 2023. “I look forward to traveling more, meeting more people, talking totally freely and getting inspired,” he says.
[Photo: Yan Yufeng]
Garage is the best genre ever, as we’ve previously declared, thanks in part to its versatility across varying moods and speeds. Any artist who can master the full stylistic range garage offers is immediately essential, and LA-based DJ and producer Introspekt has that on lock. Whether she’s artfully blending summery UKG, charging through raucous Reese basslines or chopping vocals amid sultry 2-step beats, Introspekt’s DJ sets and tracks flawlessly traverse the “128-175 BPM” spectrum of garage and bass music. Her radio shows on stations such as Threads, Rinse and Balamii are all must-listen, and with projects on the way across labels such as T4T LUV NRG and Time Is Now, her production career looks set to step up a gear in 2023. Count on Introspekt for music that makes you feel fucking fantastic.
Jacana People have been on a steady come-up since their breakout single ‘Fauna’ in 2020, but according to the pair, last year was a particularly “mad one for us”. In 2022, the Buckinghamshire-hailing duo played supporting shows alongside the likes of George FitzGerald and O’Flynn, and joined Manchester outfit Porij on their UK tour before taking to their own debut shows at Printworks and Lost Village. To close off the year, they got back into the studio to work on new music following their recently released and much-loved three-track single release, heading into 2023 with the foundations for an enormous year.
KYRUH deals in the type of full throttle techno that’s endlessly energising and cathartic. You can almost feel your soul being cleansed in the presence of her sets, which pull no punches in their exploration of the rawest, darkest beats going in a style that manages to be uplifting. Based in the cultural hotbed of Brooklyn, she’s made her name playing in the best nightspots around New York City such as Nowadays, Good Room and Bossa Nova Civic Club, alongside earning bookings around the US and in Berlin. This year she looks primed to take things up a gear, with a new residency at Infra Boston, slot at the revered Dweller Festival in February, and dates across Europe in April, including England, Germany, the Netherlands. If you’re not yet familiar then get to know, KYRUH is the perfect DJ to kickstart your 2023 — blowing your head off and the cobwebs away as you face the new year head on, revitalised.
With gigs at most venues in the UK’s capital one can list off the top of their heads, Loa Szala spent most of 2022 ingraining herself among London’s underground music best. Bringing her bottomless record bag that spans deep electro, dusty ‘90s trance and groovy techno, as well as a smooth mastery of the 1s and 2s, she’s shared line-ups with heavyweights including Raresh, Radioactive Man and VTSS, as well as taking multiple visits to Berlin, Barcelona and her native Poland. Now joining the roster on influential party-cum-label-cum-booking agency Picnic, as well as a planned foray into production, 2023 should be the year she breaks well and truly beyond the M25.
Having dropped 70-minute production mixes of her own music in both 2021 and 2022 where every track is a standout, it’s fair to say LUXE has an impressive catalogue of tracks to her name. She immediately caught our attention with her debut cut ‘Falcon’s Rise’ on a Bannoffee Pies comp in 2020, blending breezy pads, stirring vocals and rambunctious breaks into a fresh and impactful hybrid sound. Stylistic blends have carried through her releases and mixes since then, informed by merging electronic interests with her classical training in flute, piano and voice. Ranging from sleek melodies to screwface bass wobs, it’s a sound that works both inside and out of the club, which bookings at the likes of fabric and Waterworks alongside composing for Hollywood films reflects. Next year is already looking massive for LUXE, with collaborative EPs with Tom Place and Angel D’Lite coming via Dansu Discs and GODDEZZ respectively, as well as a solo EP on Planet Euphorique and fabric Originals compilation. A classical-electronic live album she has scored with a chamber orchestra is the cherry on top, paving the way for a future live show that will no doubt be special.
Reprezent Radio host Melle Brown has had a stellar year. From debut international shows to a run of mixes and appearances on the likes of BBC Radio 1, the DJ, producer, and vocalist has had a huge trajectory since the release of her debut EP ‘Intersection’ on Jamz Supernova’s Future Bounce. In 2022, Melle Brown scored the winning spot for Defected’s Unsung Heroes competition and became a resident DJ for the house label before ending the year with a huge collaborative track with Annie Mac, which saw the Irish presenter provide vocals to a track for the first time in history. This year, the producer gears up to perform her own show at Night Tales, play alongside Kerri Chandler and continue her residency with Defected, amongst much, much more.
[Photo: Peter O’Sullivan]
Picking influence from her Venezuelan roots, Miami-based singer, producer, and DJ, MJ Nebreda is one of Miami’s most unique artists, blending delicate vocals and hard, choppy club rhythms. In 2022, MJ caught wind with a steady flow of releases spanning raptor house cuts, dembow beats, and reggaeton vocals, producing two four-track EPs and a string of singles in collaboration with some of Miami’s biggest producers. As well as working with the likes of Danny Daze and Nick León on the former’s recent V/A chronicling the history of Miami music, MJ also performed at the last edition of III Points, headlined a show in Puerto Rico, and made her Boiler Room debut in Austin, Texas throughout 2022, with plenty more to come this year.
Blending traditional Arabic music with harder electronic influence, Egypt-born, Australia-based Moktar has been causing a stir with his sonic mashups over the past few years. From his first London show in 2022 alongside Mr Scruff and a succession of UK gigs to the release of his second EP ‘Immigrant’ at the end of the year, Moktar described 2022 as “an absolute monster for me”. Seeing in the new year, the DJ and producer kicks off on tour around Australia and is set to take over his debut Boiler Room show at Melbourne’s Sugar Mountain this month.
Showcasing music from the global diaspora, Rare Treat ironically provides many treats through her exceptional taste in music. Mesmerising audiences with the twists and turns of her sets that run the gamut of genres, Rare Treat spotlights the creativity that is coming from across Africa and the Afro-electronic dance scene. One place you can regularly catch her sets is on Ghana’s Oroko Radio. More recently, Rare has been expanding her artistry as she uses sonic practice in her music and sets to amplify movement and raise vibrations. As well as DJing, Rare Treat also runs the musical and spiritual collective AfroTherapy built to allow listeners to unwind with mixes and listening parties.
With four records under their belt in the space of just three years, Seoul-based duo Salamanda – individually Uman Therma and Yetsuby – have had a relentless output since their formation in 2019. Self-described as a leftfield ambient outfit, the pair put together countless new tracks and mixes throughout 2022 splicing genres and club sonics, including singles for Facta and K-LONE’s Wisdom Teeth imprint and New York label Human Pitch. Last year alone, the DJ and producer duo held down residencies on LYL Radio, NTS, produced a special 100 BPM mix for Rinse FM, and performed at Boiler Room’s first weekend-long event in Asia. As the duo head into 2023, we can expect a barrage more as they ready-up to bring their unusual electronic stylings to Europe, perform at Barcelona’s Primavera Festival, and continue an excellent run of shows in South Korea.
The sensational SamRecks is putting his own spin on UK rap slick lyrics that melt into lo-fi beats. The London-based Nigerian caught the spotlight this year with his self-released single ‘Love & Attention’ in which he narrates a story of modern love. Said to soon be embedding a deeper meaning in his lyrics, fans are intrigued for all to be revealed. Not only adored for his music, Recks is also known for his popular TikTok page and polished sense of fashion. All signs point to a successful 2023.
DJ and broadcaster Tara Kumar is the Irish-Indian-Malaysian music-minded phenomenon that is taking over our airwaves. From the age of nine Tara began learning a spectrum of instruments from the saxophone to the mandolin, before studying music for 10 years with a mission to showcase global artists. Before concentrating on her own career in music, Tara worked as a journalist interviewing the likes of Skepta, Dua Lipa, and PinkPantheress to name a few. As a DJ, she’s played Irish festivals Electric Picnic, Longitude and Forbidden Fruit Festival as well as supported Cher’s Dublin arena tour. Since moving to London, Tara recently became a BBC Radio 1 Christmas presenter for 2022 covering Clara Amfo’s Future Sounds show.
Having played from Amsterdam to Seoul, and many places in between, Velv.93 – long time affiliate of influential Russo-Berlin party The Volks – has been establishing himself as a unique talent on the world’s electronic music scene. In 2022 he released his excellent debut album ‘Vollsma’ – a searching trawl through the breadth of the enigmatic Swedish producer’s style. With DJ sets that are similarly atmospheric, often spanning ambient, shoulder-swaying downtempo, groovy deep techno and hypnotic electro, he’s not to be missed if he comes to a town near you.
Originally from Kashmir in India but now based in Goa, DJ and producer Zequenx has been making waves with her raw-yet-refined productions and DJ sets, having released on labels such as Reel Long Overdub and Regenerate, while charming crowds at DGTL India and Keep Hush in London. Her hefty style – that incorporates gritty acid, UK techno, ‘90s influenced breakbeats and anything across the headier end of the dance music spectrum – is translatable to dancefloors anywhere on the globe. On top of gigging, in 2023 she has a number of fresh EPs lined up, including on long-running New Delhi imprint Qilla Records.
Written by: Tim Hopkins