Cardiff-born DJ and producer Elkka announced the upcoming release of her mix for the trailblazing DJ-Kicks series, out on April 26 via !K7 Records. The announcement lands alongside an exclusive new track - ‘Hands’ - one of two new Elkka tracks found on the record. Elkka will be celebrating the release of her DJ-Kicks with a headline live show at London’s Colour Factory – tickets are available here with full summer tour dates listed below.

Elkka’s deep intuition is the unifying thread throughout her illustrious career: vibrant releases for Local Action, Ninja Tune and her own label and party, femme culture, have marked her as an unstoppable force within the London underground. This recognition metabolised when she was awarded BBC’s prestigious Essential Mix of the Year in 2021, spotlighting her radiant blend of classic house, breakbeat and experimental electronica to the world over. As the next curator of DJ-Kicks, Elkka is voyaging through rave euphoria. “This is a really special moment for me because DJ-Kicks has been a formative part of my musical education,” she says. An intoxicating journey through Chicago house and disco, leftfield techno, UK bass and electro-punk, Elkka conjures up an atmosphere that is as primed for the club as it is the listener’s interior world. 

Elkka’s spellbinding DJ-Kicks mix starts with a simple whispered phrase: “Attention, lovers.” As ethereal synths gently undulate out of view, the life-affirming stomp of Shade’s 1978 disco classic Music Is the Only Way (I Can Communicate) comes into sharp focus. “I use track titles to communicate feelings. Often, I can’t verbally express how I feel, but through music, I can,” Elkka smiles. Specially-commissioned originals from artists Elkka admires inject a revitalising power into the mix. Pioneering experimental producer Herbert’s Keep Time (Nobody) is a percussive sound collage helmed by a supernatural, pitch-shifted pop vocal. “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.” London producer Breaka’s Living deploys d’n’b breaks over a syncopated synthline, whereas Villager’s Monocyclical invokes the bursting energy of its title, acid 303 bass swirling bouncing around a driving 4/4 beat. 

Elkka’s own exclusive DJ-Kicks contributions further this magpie-like approach, and uncannily ring out like sister tracks. Hands’ lead synth melody and rolling hi-hat is gloriously uplifting, summoning the euphoric physicality of its title. Body is darker, heads-down cut, its chuggy percussion eliciting movement that can only be found in the dance. “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.”

This sense of intimacy permeates Elkka’s DJ-Kicks mix. “You have to just trust your own feelings. That’s exactly how I do everything – making sure that my music has my DNA in it and I feel connected to it,” she asserts. This intuitive practice also embodies a message of self-acceptance and community building for the LGBTQ+ community and women, both groups that she has championed since the start of her career: the rapturous trance of Carli’s Lights & Strobes thrust us into peak-time, while Australian producer’s Surusinghe’s Bad Girls is a fast and unexpected ride through UK bass. “Women’s voices and queer voices are very important to me. They always find their way into everything I do really naturally,” she says. Above all, this is a brightly-hued universe for you to get lost in; a portrait of joy and connection, set to the heady sounds of Elkka’s making. “I wanted to make something that was euphoric and celebratory,” she beams, “of everything I love.”