Raised in South-East London, relocating to Bath since(spending days between there and Berlin) Niks Delanancy aka NIKS has become one of the prominent names in the UK club scene today. She is also the founder of Black Artist Data base which is the platform she created to promote Black Artists around the world. Now working on the next stage of B.A.D.’s evolution. The label will be launching to accompany the existing platform, releasing music that aligns with its mission. NIKS will be managing the label as well as acting as A&R.
Being raised with a father who was a guitarist in a band and her brother who was an avid music collector in the heyday of London’s garage movement, NIKS has been surrounded with a musical ear all of her life. With an ear that touches from classic deep house to the driving percussive UK stylings of Hessle Audio so it doesn’t take long to figure out how NIKS’ diverse pallet has seen her play clubs all over the world and helped the artist bag a nomination for “Breakthrough DJ of the year” at the Mixmag awards last year as well as seeing her knock out mixes for Resident Advisor and The Warehouse Project to name but a few, it’s this diversity we see in this club ready mix for Phonica 105. We have a quick chat with NIKS about the mix, B.A.D and what she has coming up:
Hey Niks, Thanks for joining us! Can you tell us about your mix and what the idea behind it was?
Hey team, thanks for having me! So the mix is a journey through the different sonics that make up my sound. It starts playful and percussive then moves into the heavier and rhythmic sounds, emerging into fun club tracks and ending with textured downtempo numbers. This is a small snippet into how I move through a sonic journey when I play. All the records I played I’ve owned for years, bar the Neighbourhood, Handy and Holding Hands releases, so expect a mix spanning over four decades delving into producers and tracks that really soundtracked my childhood.
Can you tell us a bit about how you usually approach recording a mix or a set?
Recently, I’ve been playing longer three plus hour sets which I LOVE, so I approach these in the same way in terms of taking dancers on a sonic journey through the high peaks, in the zone or down tempo moments. My two hour monthly Rinse FM show, I switch up the sonic journey each month, to give listeners a taste of my many facets. Unlike DJ sets or radio shows where I often showcase new and forthcoming music when I do mixes I like to really dig through tracks and artists which have influenced me spanning over some time – I try to showcase my overall musical spectrum particularly before my time.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background, perhaps where you grew up and what first got you interested in music?
Of course, so I was born and bred in South East London in a very musical household; my dad was a lead guitarist in a band and actually my first time at Glastonbury was with him when he performed at the West Holt stage in the late 90s. My older brother was deep in the underground scene in the 90s onwards and is who half of my vast record collection is from, he really gave me the ear that I have today. I was a dancer for 14 years (well I guess I still am on the dancefloor now), but that really helped me tap into myself. I trained at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance as a contemporary dancer from 4 – 18. From then, radio was my first love then DJ’ing followed, so I guess it has always been there, but now being able to fully realise this passion as an adult is where I am at and content with.
What’s your preferred method for finding new music—do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates, or do you prefer to buy online?
Okay, so all of my closest friends know how I feel about this, particularly for newer and younger DJs like myself. I personally still split my time between my favourite south and east London second hand record stores digging through dusty crates, as well as dig into the newer digital music of today. I honestly use digging as a therapy session, both in real life and online – the Discogs rabbit hole is dangerous though I must say. There’s 1 Trevor Rockcliffe record that I spent nearly a month finding in 2021 that the seller told me they had but didn’t – I was so sad – but then found it (lol). I have a really strong belief that the music being produced and released in the 90’s – namely vinyl only (outside of reissues), are timeless, you do not hear music like that today, so I always urge my fellow new DJ’s and peers to tap into record stores and hear the quality of music that was being produced and released back then by the likes of Phoenix G (and all of his G aliases), Trevor Rockcliffe, Mark Broom, Stephen Brown, E.B.E, Grain AKA Santos Rodriguez AKA Morgan Reno (of whom Tasha and Midland recently told me who is behind this alias which blew my mind). But of course, I love to make online purchases and it is a great way for my peers and I to send each other music to play out and road test for one another.
You are the co-founder of Black Artist Database, which is an amazing community based platform for people to discover and buy music from Black artists from around the world, for people who don’t know, could you explain how this came about and what are some of the projects B.A.D. have been working on lately?
Yes, wow, so we are now coming up to 3 years which is crazy! It was a group of friends and I (CCL, rRoxymore, Doc Sleep, Violet, Zach, KMRU) who started the google spreadsheet on June 4th 2020, there was so much unrest in the world – not only with coronavirus – but with the death of George Floyd and consequently the white supremist and racist system that was heavily at play. Feeling rather powerless as to what we could do, the spreadsheet was spurred initially by Bandcamp Friday’s which meant that all artists received 100% of profits. We began the sheet with 30 or so Black producers, artists and labels, shared this across our socials and in our immediate music and friendship circles, the next morning we woke to the sheet with over 600 names and people adding. This is always a goosebump moment for me, the global movement and feeling and passion of wanting to do more. This was a collective success of the global electronic music community, the energy that everyone had about wanting to bring about change is what brought this to life. Since then, we created the database which has both an artist and creative database of over 4,500 individuals.
Sinces its creation we have; delivered 12 Ableton production masterclasses with the likes of Loraine James, Kessler and AceMo, put on 4 events inviting DJs such as OK Williams, Lakuti and DJ Flight to showcase the breadth of dance music, Black music, delivered several panels at world leading conferences such as ADE and AVA. At the end of 2022, we won a music award at Reeperbahn festival as a recognition for our contribution to the global music scene and we are currently working tirelessly towards our next big venture for 2023 – so keep your eyes peeled.
What do you have up your sleeve yourself for 2023?
Ooo, okay, so the next big project for B.A.D is quite exciting and part of that will be the introduction of a new facet to NIKS which I am both excited and nervous to showcase to the world, and part of this will be a vaiety of global showcases – so again, keep your eyes peeled.
Thanks NIKS 🙂