5 Standout Tracks From Elkka's Award Winning Essential Mix
May 11, 2023
5 min read
Every artist in the world of club music would celebrate the opportunity to contribute to the legendary Essential Mix series. Still, Elkka has even more reason to celebrate in this regard. In 2021, the London-based producer, live artist, DJ, label head, and event curator won Essential Mix of the Year with her first entry.
Like the other Essential Mixes, hers is a two-hour selection of tracks meant to demonstrate her own identity as an artist, and when it comes to Elkka, that identity goes deep.
Before diving into the world of electronic music, Elklka established a reputation writing pop songs for other artists. She was also a featured vocalist on a wide range of tracks, from trap to trance.
Then to launch her solo career, she started femme culture, an artist collective, event series, and record label that has shared music from artists like DJ Python, Octo Octa, and Coffintexts. And, of course, her solo productions are forces unto themselves being signed to the legendary alternative label NinjaTune while she remixes fellow first-rate talents like Kelly Lee Owens and collabs with the likes of TSHA.
Such a breadth of experience bursts through the seams of Elkka’s Essential Mix. Pop sensibilities, curatorial skills, and a salient production identity, these different elements make for a mix that is heady and exciting but also relatable and uplifting.
In 2021 she had tough competition for the top Essential Mix. Her fellow nominees included Ben UFO (whose entry featured Elkka’s “Harmonic Frequencies), Overmono, AceMoMa, and Eclair Fifi, and she was only grateful to be included on a list of such legends:
“Regardless of whoever wins I am just so stoked to be recognised amongst these unbelievable talented producers and DJs, people who I have looked up to coming up. It means so much to me. This year has been huge for me…feel like I have been living out my 12 year old dreams and this nomination and the reaction to my mix means the world!,” Elkka wrote in a Facebook post.
But it was she who ended up with the top spot. Listen to the full recording to see why, and take a look at five stand-out tracks from the award-winning mix below:
1. LCY - Shhh
Elkka has always been a champion for her fellow queer and non-male artists, and she has always been a champion of the full range of underground sounds. This track represents both of those missions. LCY is a nonbinary artist steadily ascending in their own right, and “Shhh” takes leftfield drums and pushes them even further to the left. The gyrating sounds seem to have no center, which makes it more impressive that Elkka can fit them so well into a mix.
2. Prince & The Revolution - Erotic City
There is never a wrong time to play Prince. Coming up very early in the mix, Elkka demonstrated right off the bat that she was taking it beyond the DJ booth in her two hours. As mentioned above, her CV extends out of dance music and into the pop realm, and Prince is the best of the best when it comes to pop, especially when his grooves are at maximum capacity, like in this classic.
3. Claude VonStroke, Justin Jay - Oh
In June of 2021, Claude VonStroke demonstrated his knack for innovation once again by launching the Dirtybird White Label series. These EPs would contain tracks that were a complete departure from the wacky house for which the label was known, perfect for a forum like Elkka’s Essential Mix. “Oh” sees VonStroke and Justin Jay, two artists revered for their house offerings, apply their talent to broken beats and glass-cutting synth work.
4. Elkka - Voices
Elkka’s Essential Mix came out just days before her full Harmonic Frequencies EP dropped on the NinjaTune imprint, Technicolour, so this mix was the first time many fans heard “Voices.” This intuitive track epitomizes why she has gained so much steam in the past few years. It defies genres, honing on minimal techno drums but implementing ultra-ravey melodics, while communicating a sense of emotional freedom, the kind of emotional freedom everyone is looking for on the dancefloor.
5. Britney Spears - Everytime
A change of pace from two hours of hard-hitting dance and an homage to her roots in pop music, Elkka closes things out on a rather emotional and sentimental note. Being born in 1989, Elkka was only 14 years old when Britney released this seminal ballad. She told Future Music in 2021 that “Everytime” was one of her favorite Brittney Spears songs and that pop music of the 90s was “brilliantly written” with “great production, so there’s a lot to be appreciated froma songwriting and technical perspective.”