On Our Radar: August 2020

Welcome back to On Our Radar, Beatportal’s monthly roundup of the DJs and producers we can’t get enough of. This time, with rising talent chosen by our guest editor for August, Ash Lauryn.

8 min
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Aug 21, 2020
Ash Lauryn
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Atlanta-based Zaida is steady on the rise, and at two just and a half years into her DJ journey, she’s on her way to becoming a household name in the city. Taught the craft by close friends in the industry, she says her itch to DJ stems from a love of clubbing and nightlife. As a trans-femme, Zaida makes it a point to prioritize “the girls” during her sets, and wants to create an atmosphere that “femme queens can be comfortable in.” You can catch her playing everything from trap to R&B edits to Detroit techno.

Before the pandemic, she got a taste of life on the road playing the infamous A Club Called Rhonda party in LA and San Francisco, putting her twist on club sounds. Her recent mix for Discwoman was featured as Resident Advisor’s “Mix of the Day” and also selected for their July 2020 roundup of best music. With close friends and collaborators like beloved Atlanta producer Leonce on her team, the possibilities are unlimited, and Zaida is actively making her mark as one to watch.

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The AM is a Detroit-based DJ that lives and breathes Detroit techno and electro. Gaining her first exposure to electronic music at Detroit raves during the ’90s, The AM’s approach to music is rooted in her early days on the dancefloor. After a short stint in Miami, she’s been back in her hometown for just under a year, and has been putting the majority of her focus on music. Since back in Detroit, she’s teamed up with the legendary live act Scan 7, DJing as a duo with group member Mr. Hooper on occasion.

The AM’s unapologetic affection for harder sounds sees her steadily building a name for herself, performing at this year’s DEMF virtual festival, and garnering attention from fans stateside and abroad. Her DJ mixes for NTS Radio, Wokoundou, and Scan 7 have been well received and showcase her in-depth knowledge and understanding of the timeless music birthed in her hometown. If you’re looking for hard-hitting, high energy sounds do yourself a favor and get familiar with The AM.

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Hailey Dukes (AKA Father Dukes) is a Detroit music journalist turned DJ, who is part of an exciting new generation of DJs coming out of the city. As with many other Detroit DJs, Duke’s sound is genre-bending and pulls from many different inspirations including house, techno, hip-hop, funk, soul, and disco. As a member of the Seraphine Collective, a network for women, femme, and non-binary DJs, Duke represents Detroit’s inclusive artist community and enjoys uniting people through dance. Her often vinyl-focused DJ sets take place at popular local venues like Marble Bar and TV Lounge. Most recently, she played an excellent b2b set with local virtuoso Shigeto on The Lot Radio.

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NYC DJ and producer Devoye is hot, and has been doing his thing longer than some may think — his Soundcloud dates him uploading his productions as far back as 2014. His work includes house, techno, disco, ambient, and even some edits of beloved tracks like Cherelle’s “Saturday Love.” Brooklyn’s dance music scene has seen an influx of talent over the past decade, and while Devoye hasn’t received a lot of press like some of his counterparts, his contributions are equally relevant.

As of 2020, he’s still actively pushing the boundaries with his project “Withered and Blooming,” which he said was inspired by reading the book The Secret Life of Plants. The tracks make for an ethereal experience in sound; a journey into a celestial realm that soothes the soul. A must listen to those more into the experimental side of music. He most recently dropped an acid influenced track called “Outcha Mind,” which instantly reminds one of the group Phuture back in their heyday. He’s also regularly DJing throughout NYC, including being a resident DJ of Brooklyn’s Half Moon Radio.

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London’s Niks Delancy may be a newcomer to the game but is quickly staking her claim. As one of the organizers of “Black Bandcamp,” a crowd-sourced list of Black artists on Bandcamp, Niks plays a crucial role in the sites day to day functions, including screening submissions, which she says are sometimes “though the roof.” Niks also recently partnered with Mixcloud for her series “Niks Presents,” where she hosts some of her favorite DJs for guest mixes accompanied by interviews held on Mixcloud’s Instagram Live.

While her behind the scenes work is essential, her skills as a DJ prove to be equally commendable. She hosts a monthly show on Bristol-based Noods Radio called ‘The House of Delanancy’ where she showcases her love of dance music, playing everything from house classics to more electronic left-field sounds. She’s also no stranger to the guest mix realm, most recently dropping mixes for Machine Woman‘s Rinse FM show and SheSaidSo Radio on Dublab. Her fantastic mix for SheSaidSo pays homage to the black women whose voices play an integral role in modern dance music.

Atlanta-based DJ and writer Ash Lauryn is Beatportal’s Guest Editor this month. In this letter, she explains why she took this role, as well as her thoughts on the current race reckoning, and what she hopes we can accomplish next. Follow her on Twitter.