Bklava’s recently released self-titled debut EP is essential lockdown listening, showcasing four irresistible floor-focused pop tracks. On each cut, Bklava’s smooth vocals merge with infectious production, tackling compelling themes while making you dance.
Speaking about the release on Ministry of Sound, the Brighton-based, Irish-Lebanese artist said: “‘Bklava EP’ is a collection of the highs and lows in the last couple years. Focusing on love, mental health, toxic masculinity, gender roles and heartbreak.”
‘Back to Then’ was made BBC Radio 1 Introducing’s Track of the Week, and new single ‘Hot Shot, sees Bklava sing on uplifting production from Icarus.
“‘Hot Shot’ is about toxic masculinity and tackles the expectations that men put on themselves and how it affects all genders. It was a pleasure to work with the talented Icarus on this track!” said Bklava.
Bklava was also recently made a monthly resident on Rinse FM and runs the women-promoting Spin Suga collective.
We caught up with Bklava to find out more about the release, its inspirations, her future plans, and more, and she also curated us a special playlist of music by female/non-binary artists. Check it out alongside the Q+A below.
How did it feel to sign for an imprint steeped in as much history as Ministry of Sound for the release of the ‘Bklava’ EP?
Incredible and insane! This is the first EP I’ve ever done and the first label I’ve ever signed to and it’s such a massive step for me. Being with Ministry has such sentimental value to me because I grew up listening to Ministry of Sound CDs before we had streaming platforms. Also the first club I went to was Ministry of Sound in London. There’s just so much history even with me as a listener with the label. I’ve admired all the artists that have been associated with Ministry of Sound so to know they want to work with me and have my music through the label is unreal and I’m so happy and proud!
‘Love, mental health, toxic masculinity, gender roles and heartbreak’ are cited as themes in the record. How did these influence and come through in the songwriting?
I try to write in the moment when something has happened and I’m feeling overwhelmed. Writing is definitely a therapeutic way to release my emotions. But it’s not always possible to do that and so I have to take myself back to a time where I was in that moment of heartbreak etc. So it can be quite hard because you’ve already gone past the pain and you don’t want to have to revisit it. All these subjects have affected me or the people around me in some way and it’s really special to take that pain or frustration or even happier moments and turn it into something creative and put it into a song.
What aims inform your approach to running the women-promoting Spin Suga collective?
I have so many things I want to do with Spin Suga! We’ve been lucky to already have interviewed some amazing womxn, supported Annie Mac and even performed our first headliner! This week, we started recording a mix series and it’s going to be available soon. It will be a platform to showcase artists skills and getting to know them through a Q&A too. I hope to inspire other young womxn and non-binary people to see what we’re doing in the hope that they’ll want to get involved themselves and take up DJing/producing/singing/presenting etc. I intend for it to be a network where we can share those skills and also inspire and teach others too so we can finally close the gender gap!
You’ve recently joined Rinse FM as a resident, what music do you plan to showcase on the show?
At the moment my Rinse shows are quite varied. They’re mostly in the 130-140 BPM region but sometimes I’ll do a shows where I’m bouncing back from 125 to 160 BPM. Just depends on my mood and the music I’m into at that current time. I always try to play new music and support new artists because as much as I love the old stuff, there are a lot of great producers out there who deserve more plays and it’s important to prioritise new music. So I’m always looking for new artists/producers to support.
What are you aiming to make a dancefloor feel in a performance setting with your live PA/DJ set hybrid show?
I definitely want it to feel like you’re in the club but also watching a gig. I miss the energy from the crowd — the reception is always incredible and people are shocked that I get the mic out cos they’re expecting a DJ set. But I’ve been honing my craft at home and practising my live set up and I’m so excited to perform again and play the new EP out!
Tell us about the playlist you have curated.
These are all the tunes that got me through this whirlwind of a year from some of the best female/non-binary artists right now! Dropping these tunes in 2020 without clubs/gigs was no waste! This was the soundtrack to my mellow nights in, cooking dinner, walking to the shops, sitting on Brighton beach or party for one at home on the decks. Basically, you can enjoy these anytime, anywhere x.
'Bklava' EP is out now via Ministry of Sound, get it here
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on Twitter
Read this next: Get the best of Mixmag direct to your Facebook DMs