Six emerging artists you need to hear this June
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to top this month. From left-field pop, krautrock and techno to melodic UKG and ice-cold UK rap, here's June’s 2021’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of
“When looking for music, I’m always on the hunt for wacky guitars or weird noises that make you go ‘Whaaaaat?’” says Tia Cousins. “I love that feeling when a tune just makes your jaw drop.” The London- based selector started mixing five years ago at friends’ houses and parties, interspersing dance music with the jazzier cuts she gathered. However, it was putting together shows for NTS, Balamii and, most recently, NARR Radio which led Tia towards the more gnarly analogue sounds she’s now best known for.
Reserving the heavier material of her formative years for the club, her radio shows weave together noisy post-punk and krautrock with left-field pop and chugging downtempo. This shift to angsty guitar-led music makes sense to Tia as she’s “always angry now,” she says, half-jokingly. From her off-kilter repertoire to her frank attitude, she’s a breath of fresh air in the world of DJing.
For fans of: Kirsty P, Sofie K, Kiara Scuro
Russian DJ, promoter and multi-sensory graphic designer olesia is a strong presence in London’s techno scene. Alongside fellow artists Caroline and Myles, olesia heads up Technomate, aka TM8, a collective, party, podcast series, editorial platform and bi-monthly radio show on Threads.
Her drive for highlighting female, lesbian, inter, non-binary, trans and asexual (FLINTA) talent and creating a safe space for up-and-comers to thrive is integral to every TM8 event and project she co-curates. From booking local names like Lockhart and Samantha Togni for TM8’s next party at Colour Factory on 17th July to rinsing tracks by FLINTA artists, olesia aims to break down barriers for those making their first steps into the world of promoting and DJing. TM8 plans include expanding their educational approach, and next up, olesia is booked for Lobster Theremin’s Lobsterfest this September.
For fans of: Hyperaktivist, Tygapaw, Nene H
Since their 2019 debut, Leicester duo Y U QT have built a strong reputation for ultra-tight, dancefloor-ready garage. Leaning towards the melodic end of the UKG spectrum, they’ve released on South London Pressings, Warehouse Rave, Kiwi and Time Is Now, and self released a handful of heaters too. Their latest release is a remix for BBC Sound of 2020 runners up, Easy Life. The duo have known each other since childhood, but it was 12 years ago that Darryl and Cooper started making garage and house together.
“When Cooper started getting into house music, I couldn’t believe he was listening to anything other than hip-hop,” recalls Darryl. Their longstanding friendship shines through on the pair’s monthly Balamii residency. The Y U QT On The Radio Show is “basically us laughing until we cry and playing some music under it” — it’s a good time, trust us.
For fans of: Riz La Teef, Peaky Beats, Dr Banana
London-based John Dunk, aka Cameo Blush, first came onto the radar via his debut on Nick Höppner’s Touch From A Distance imprint in 2019. The ‘Murky Waters’ EP introduced his eloquent, electro-laden production finesse. Influences of IDM, techno and electronica are also prevalent in his explorations, and earlier this year he appeared on the first release of the white label-style series Unknown Untitled, receiving DJ support from the likes of CCL, Moxie and more.
His latest endeavour further displays his ability to meld genres, drawing from ‘90s hardcore and rave, and marks a debut on Ross From Friends’ label Scarlet Tiger. ‘Lucky’ is all about the trance-y lead, big pads and breakdown euphoria, while ‘§§§§§’ and ‘Hubris’ focus on heavy 808 kicks and broken beats. Cameo Blush also has a live set, first put together for Field Maneuvers festival in 2019, which is sure to get plenty more outings once the festivals are back in full swing.
For fans of: Scuba, Floating Points, East Of Oceans
BXKS first made waves in 2018 with an icy drill-leaning ‘Next Up’ freestyle that caught the attention of Skepta, before taking a step back to hone her craft. Six months ago she dropped ‘Packed In’; the Luton-based rapper shelled down the booming production with a grime-y, screwface-inducing flow and bars loaded with memorable references to BBK, early noughties legend Ratlin and Tesco meal deals. The track’s accompanying green-screen visuals really capture her anime-loving, playful energy.
She connected with underground wordsmith Kish for follow-up ‘Work’, doubling down on the nostalgia with nods to Ed, Ed & Eddy, ‘Jenny from the Block’ and Rizzle Kicks over a dreamy, soulful sample. Her debut EP ‘Full Time Daydreamer’ lands in June, capturing the full-scope of her malleable delivery and sharp wordplay. Influenced by her Jamaican heritage, and the island’s duppy-any-beat MC culture, BXKS establishes herself as one to watch amongst the current class of genre-bending artists lighting up the UK rap scene.
For fans of: Enny, Finn Foxell, Kam BU
Since the release of his first single ‘Nowhere But Here’ back in 2018, Singapore-born Halal Sol has displayed a talent for deep, groove-laden house music that reflects the sound of the ‘90s. His latest EP, out on Singapore imprint Darker Than Wax, displays yet another side to his productions. Pacier tracks like ‘Don’t Feel The Bass’ reveal hints of techno, while ‘Lives In The Future’ returns to the sounds of classic Chicago house and he dips into old-school 303 acid for ‘Rotund’.
The EP firmly cements Halal Sol as a name to watch. A fan of the Roland TR-8S — the piece of kit that he incorporates into his live sets — he’s also made a mark on the event circuit, having played esteemed venues such as Headquarters in Singapore and Studio Lam in Bangkok. Recently he’s been continuing to play to the masses via platforms such as United We Stream Asia. Keep your eyes and ears on Halal Sol.
For fans of: Rick Wade, Rimbaudian, Baltra
Words: Safi Bugel, Niamh O’Connor, Dan Brashaw, Anna Wall, Rob Kazandjian
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.