Elkka Discusses the Inspiration For Her Vibey DJ-Kicks Mix Album
May 11, 2023
Ana Monroy Yglesias
3 min read
Since 1993, !K7 Records' beloved DJ-Kicks mix series has served as a sonic playground for DJs to showcase the breadth and eclecticism of their sound. And much like being tapped for a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, having a DJ-Kicks album to your name is a notable accomplishment. Getting the call from !K7 Records was a career defining moment for the fast-rising British DJ/producer Elkka, and the resulting compilation album is a joy to listen to.
"This is a really special moment for me because DJ-Kicks has been a formative part of my musical education," Elkka said in a press release. The 23-track mix is a euphoric journey of "rave euphoria" from day to night.
"I knew I wanted to make something you could listen to when you’re at home, cooking dinner, on your way to work – but can also get you warmed up for the dancefloor,” Elkka told Beatportal, noting she was “hyper-aware” of the mix sounding less club-focused—yet she still wanted to include some heaters. And that she did!
“I kept imagining someone sitting on their sofa at home in the afternoon listening to this,” she added. “That in itself was a challenge for me, as well as the weight of being asked to participate in such an iconic mix series which I have always adored.”
Elkka's original tunes for it, "Hands" and "Body," operate as sort of a rave yin and yang, the former a sparkly, synthy daytime tune and the latter a chugging late-night heater. She wrote "Hands" in her parents' home in Cardiff while decompressing after a busy run of shows. She found inspiration for it in all the music she connected with in the summer of 2022, and the special moments shared with friends at shows, "feeling very free and fulfilled,” she told Beatportal.
"You need both sides to everything. I wanted to write music that moves you and instantly evokes feeling. I've never connected with music that feels sonically 'cold' to me. That's not to say that warmth is always joyful, either—warmth can be anything that pulls you in, making you feel a connection," Elkka said in another press release.
There's another new original tune, especially commissioned by Elkka for the mix, from one of her idols, experimental British producer Herbert, and celebrate her love for '90s pop. "The vocals in it sound like Britney or Timbaland, who I obsessed over growing up. To have Herbert involved is like all my worlds in the naughties colliding at once," she added.
As a queer woman, it was important and natural for the Cardiff-born artist to highlight fellow women and LGBTQIA+ artists on her DJ-Kicks mix.
"Women's voices and queer voices are very important to me. They always find their way into everything I do really naturally," Elkka continued. "I wanted to make something that was euphoric and celebratory… of everything I love."
The stellar mix also features a 1978 disco cut from Shake, "Music Is the Only Way (I Can Communicate)," London artist Breaka's drum n bass-inflected "Like Water to a Fish," Aussie queen Surusinghe's UK bass-inspired "Bad Girls," and Swedish Carli's intoxicating "Lights & Stobes"—the album's eleventh track, which delivers us straight into a laser-lit dance floor.
DJ-Kicks: Elkka was released April 26, 2023 on !K7 Records.