You never forget the first time you get hit by a Euphonique DJ set. The 20-something Manchester-based artist’s workouts can whip up a dance into skank overdrive before you can even say the word dubplate. Pushing an industrial-strength fusion of molasses-thick rollers and sweet, heavy ragga jungle, there are many reasons for her consistently unrelenting sonic style, but one of the most telling is her route into jungle in the first place.
“Free parties,” grins the artist known to family and friends as Nikki. “I grew up in Saddleworth, where there was nothing going on. We’d go to the raves the older guys were putting on in the surrounding hills, tunnels and quarries. I always wanted to be behind the decks. They played predominantly techno, but a few DJs played drum ’n’ bass. I was well into reggae at the time and I remember hearing a ragga jungle tune – and it was the answer to everything.”
Nikki can’t recall if it was a Benny Page or Liondub record that awakened her inner junglist and led her into a world of free parties where she learned how to command large, ‘up-for-it’ crowds and discovered her uncompromising sound – either way, she now operates on the same level as both renowned jungle producers. Her imprint Subwoofah has been all bite and bark for years and is home to a studio HQ where she regularly streams live and teaches the next generation of Manchester’s thriving d’n’b community.
Nikki’s also been a regular on prominent stations such as Unity FM, Origin and Rough Tempo since she was 18, but it’s her productions that are really packing a punch this year. Recent releases on key new-gen imprints such as Deep In The Jungle, Born On Road and Murky sting with the unmistakeable twang of next-level authority and are the result of years of sharpening her studio skills and mixdown muscles since her early endeavours in 2013. They were also, in part, inspired by her cousin, local Manchester d’n’b legend DJ Wax.
“My friend MC Mad Rush always says that my cousin was a wicked producer and ahead of his time, but he never got his music out there because he wasn’t confident in it,” says Nikki, who is now keeping up the family d’n’b tradition. “That spurred me to take the leap and get my music out there. I was sitting on a lot of music before I got the confidence to just get it out. It’s the best thing I did; I wish I’d done it earlier because it’s thrown me into the amazing bookings I have this year.”
Fresh from her busiest summer yet, stacked bumper-to-bumper with big festivals from Glastonbury to Hospitality In The Park, Nikki now charges into the autumn to wrap up 2019 with a string of releases and collaborations, all of which she’s ready to unleash with the same vitality as one of her DJ sets. And don’t you forget it.
Euphonique is playing at Hospitality In The Park, Finsbury Park London, September 21
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