“London crowds use Snapchat too much,” says Crissi Vassilakis, aka Madam X. “In Manchester people fucking smash their phones on the floor and don’t give a fuck.”
The 24-year-old DJ grew up in Milton Keynes and recently moved to London but considers the Rainy City to be her spiritual home. “I’d be a totally different DJ if I hadn’t lived in Manchester,” she says, counting Jonny Dub, Chimpo and LEVELZ among her inspirations.
But it wasn’t just a one-way street. Madam X enriched the city, too, playing an integral role in bringing grime to Manchester as a member of BPM, the city’s first party collective promoting the genre (they booked the likes of BBK back in 2010). As a resident, she developed a reputation for spinning club-wrecking sets that navigated disparate genres.
Now she’s channelling that visceral Manchester energy into her new imprint Kaizen, which purveys club-focused grime, garage, dubstep and funky.
The goal is to create a family vibe with recruits Biome, Walton and Silas & Snare, before they push their sound through travelling label parties and Kaizen’s monthly NTS slot. “I want to keep it all about the residents. I want to build the sound,” she says. The praise heaped on Kaizen’s debut release and Madam X’s recent slew of international bookings, including a gig in Cuba, suggests things are building nicely.
Silas & Snare’s ‘Biometric/Patience’ is released on Kaizen this summer
[Photo: Sarah Ginn Photography]