Producer and DJ Ikonika has had an incredible 2010, releasing her debut album, Contact, Love, Want, Have and being nominated for DJ Magazine’s DJ of the Year. Here’s what you need to know about her…
Although Ikonika is considered a dubstep artist, ‘Contact…’ includes elements of R&B and garage.
Dubstep gave hope to a lot of people. For producers it meant freedom. I remember feeling a part of something special that was unpretentious and didn’t rely on elitism. I don’t think I will ever see a genre quite like dubstep again: we’ve seen it grow and blossom and we also understand that it can mutate into something entirely new. I have come to that stage now where I can accept my music as being genreless, but as a whole it is something that shares some elements of dubstep, house and garage.
Like fellow hot producer Labrinth, Ikonika is influenced by old-school video game soundtracks.
It started off being a general sonic aesthetic, but the more I started to investigate, it became very clear that I started listening to music the same time I got into games. When I started work on Contact, I really wanted to look into why I felt so comfortable with the sounds I was using. I was trying to digitally translate all these memories I had about R&B and UK garage, my sisters’ rave experiences, the games consoles I was into and stuff like that. I wanted people to see where it came from, translated into a dubstep-ish context. I remember listening to a lot of Yellow Magic Orchestra and Yuzo Koshiro, also some bits of Raymond Scott when I was feeling really low. I was DJing at weekends and working at HMV on weekdays. I was tired all the time. I used to sleep on the commute listening to their albums, being in a dreamlike state about everything – nothing was real to me at that time.
Before turning her hand to electronic music, Ikonika was a drummer in various bands, which influenced her decision to use a deliberately limited sonic palette.
When I was a drummer, it was up to me to make use of the kit. Hit things differently, tune bits, use the wrong hand, those kind of things. I wanted that same idea with production. I really wanted to concentrate on a certain palette that meant a lot to me during a particular time. For the next album I’ll be trying to channel this era I’m in now with a new sound palette. I’ll be releasing a mini album on my label Hum + Buzz next year that kind of departs from what I’ve been doing previously. I like to experiment and progress, and this year has been very inspiring for me. I’ve been going out to clubs more, hanging with likeminded people and I just want to capture these vibes I’m feeling.
Ikonika originally hails from Hounslow, London’s most noise-polluted suburb.
Three years ago I moved away from Hounslow, which was directly under the flight path. It was so loud – every two minutes a plane would go over and interrupt the Sky TV. Very annoying, but I would just dismiss it, because I was just so used to it. I now live in Feltham, which is much closer to Heathrow, but the planes are much more of a visual thing. I’ve been DJing abroad a lot this year and planes freak me out a bit. I’ve been thinking a lot about them when I’m in my garden – I see them queuing to land and climbing from take off. It’s such a weird feeling in Feltham, kind of cold and bleak. I don’t know anyone here apart from my family, but I like that; it’s my own personal space.