One to Watch: Elkka

Music unites communities. It takes symbolic spaces and bonds its inhabitants with hallowed beats, moving heads and hips in unison as the outside world fades into oblivion. Elkka is a London-based, Cardiff-born DJ and producer whose music is bold, beautiful and exceptionally empowering. With a community molded through inclusivity, her empire of acceptance cannot be confined by any walls with her long form genre-bending techno reaching out around Europe.

Elkka’s music is persistent and ever growing, distilling her voice into ever purer tones. This persistence is symptomatic of her more generally as an artist. From Elkka’s first foray into the music industry as pop songwriter (and her consequent dislike of the studios’ internal hierarchy), now in her thirties she has reclaimed her musical power and is a self-taught sensation at composition and production. This origin story of pop blends somewhat smoothly with her first release, ‘Her’; a sweetly confident four-track EP written together with Jamie Morrison and in parts Eddie Jenkins. More commercial than any of her work since, this EP also marks the start of femme culture with fellow DJ and artist manager Ludo. From its inception in 2016, the label which promotes womxn’s musical success went on to win DJ Mag’s Breakthrough Label at their Best of British awards in just two years and continues to grow and evolve. 

As is tradition for the label, April saw the release of femme cultures’ annual charitable collaboration, HeForShe, featuring tracks from the likes of Bianca Oblivion, DJ Python, and of course Elkka (whose aptly named track ‘Community’ fuses a singular voice with ebbing harp and bright beats). Completing a trio of yearly installments to raise funds for womxn who cannot access the safety and free speech many in this country hold so dear, at just over an hour and a half this is a masterclass in how women are pioneering the constantly adapting world of electronic music and beating the dominant male DJs at their own game.

Beyond her label, 2019 was the year that Elkka truly came into her own through the release of ‘Every Body is Welcome’. Whilst her prior work was far from subpar, this latest five track EP feels different. It’s sophisticated, bold and a true reflection of Elkka’s voice and moralistic take on the world (despite holding the smallest lyrical content of her work so far). Every corner of this EP is a call for celebration of individuality, the soul infused fairytale ‘LVURSLF interlude’ features Eartha Kitt releasing the words “I fall in love with myself and I want someone to share it with me” into the air. Even the aptly named ‘Avant Garde’ promotes individuality in spite of criticism through the spiritual words of artist Laurie Anderson which reverberates amongst buzzing synths and sporadically sharp-edged beats. Unabashedly combining the past and present in seven minutes of control, Elkka hypnotically applauses the trailblazing alternative art of the likes of Anderson (the Avant Garde artist popularly known for her alternative pop single ‘O Superman’) and revitalizes their work through her own innovation. With the release of ‘Every Body is Welcome Remixes’ in 2020, featuring remixes by Elkka’s favourite producers, it is clear that even a year on this EP is still relevant and able to bring a community together in movement.

As the timelines for new releases change and everything largely stays online, the physical boundaries of communities is forsaken as a no man’s land as SoundCloud becomes the saviour of both the DJ and their audience. Serving your daily vitamin D, Elkka has a whole host of hour sets full to the brim with warmth and rejuvenation for Rinse FM. And as scientists from the British Academy of Sound Therapy have now concluded it takes just 13 minutes of music to make you happy (but I bet this mix can do it in 12).

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