Global Dancefloor Spotlight
Mixmag and Smirnoff shine a light on some of the globe’s emerging music scenes
Mixmag has linked up with Smirnoff to explore some of the most creative and fizzing local music scenes in the world right now. We headed out to meet the people making a difference to music in countries across the globe, including Kenya, Thailand, South Africa and Angola, and filmed it all for your viewing pleasure.
Highlights from the series available to watch on our YouTube channel right now include the story of how house music helped unite South Africa, an episode on Angola’s innovative kuduro genre, and an intimate profile on Kenya’s Nu Nairobi movement with Octopizzo (pictured left), an artist from Africa’s biggest slum who defied the odds to become Kenya’s biggest rapper.
Discover these cultures, from the alluring party atmosphere in Nigeria to the underground community in Beirut and more by heading to Mixmag.net/globaldancefloor now. Here, we profile some of those we met along the way.
South Africa Black Coffee
Black Coffee is one of the most sought-after DJs in the world. With two decades of DJing and producing under his belt, his distinct style of afro-house fuses the soulful essence of classic house with a tribal motif. He’s released five albums via his own Soulistic Music imprint, has a Saturday residency at Hï Ibiza and has played everywhere from DC10 to Coachella.
South Africa DJ Fresh
DJ Fresh (no, not that one) is a DJ, producer and radio host with a career spanning three decades. His 1998 house mix ‘Fresh House Flava 1’, released via House Afrika Records, was instrumental in the proliferation of house throughout South Africa. He has a popular breakfast show on Metro FM, and he’s a judge on South Africa’s Got Talent.
South Africa Tim White
When Jo’burg’s Tim White co-founded House Afrika Records in the late 90s with Vinny da Vinci and Glennvan Loggerenberg, it was a pivotal moment for South Africa’s dance music culture. The ‘Fresh House Flava’ series featured acts like Mood II Swing, 95 North, Glenn Underground, Romanthony and Chez Damier, and helped make house one of the country’s dominant sounds.
Manchester, UK Madam X
London-based DJ Madam X cut her teeth in Manchester and has garnered a reputation for blurring genre barriers by traversing through grime, techno, bass, garage and everything in between during her quick-fire sets. She’s a label boss and party purveyor with her Kaizen brand, and has hosted shows on BBC Radio 1, Rinse FM and NTS.
Born and raised in a small Thai village, a trip to Germany and one night immersed in a Berlin club was enough to inspire Nakadia to buy a set of decks. Over a decade later, she’s played deep house and techno at Watergate in Berlin, The Egg in London and D-Edge in São Paulo. She’s also part of the ANTS party series in Ibiza.
Thailand Mendy Indigo
Focusing on the darker end of techno, Mendy Indigo is currently one of Bangkok’s leading tastemakers, with monthly events DARK & DIRTY at Glow, Why Not Thursday at Beam and Nowhere to Now Here at De Commune. She’s also performed in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Malta, Hong Kong and more.
Notep became popular in Thailand by winning a singing competition. Now with the X0809 project, she aims to combine music, visual art, fashion, design and technology to create immersive experiences. X0809 played Thailand’s Wonderfruit Festival, Solar Budokan in Japan, Quest Festival in Vietnam, and Clockenflap in Hong Kong. Tours of Europe and the United States are set for this year.
Angola Cabo Snoop
Beginning his career with The Crazy Boyz crew at just 10, Cabo Snoop developed his passion for music while working as a runner for a music video company. He hit the African charts with his debut release in 2010, earning accolades such as ‘Top Of The Most Wanted’, awarded by National Radio of Angola, which led to a deal with Universal Music.
Angola Zoca Zoca
Zoca Zoca is a MC based in Luanda, Angola who is bringing his own vibe to the nation’s energetic kuduro genre. Raised in a rural Angolan village he quickly became one of the most promising talents in the country and has witnessed kuduro evolve to become one of the country’s finest exports.
Nigeria DJ Spinall
DJ Spinall is an award-winning DJ from Nigeria who’s become known for fusing various genres from afro-house to hip hop and r’n’b in his sets. As one of the most influential artists in the country, he fosters new talent and supports his local community with his collective and label, Da Cap.
Rapper Octopizzo was raised in the sprawling slums of Kibera, Nairobi, one of the largest slums in the world. He’s fast become a globally recognised talent, his music racking up millions of views on streaming platforms. With his not-for-profit Octopizzo Foundation he uses art, music and sports to support vulnerable youths around Kenya.
Kenya Cosmic Homies
Cosmic Homies are a Nairobi-based collective of artists who are supporting each other in the Nu Nairobi movement of underground hip hop. Consisting of AIO, Marushka, Kiwango and Runkah, the collective has played a crucial role in developing a community of creatives by establishing a party series for locals to express themselves on the dancefloor.
Kenya Barak Jacuzzi
Growing up in South Carolina, Barak Jacuzzi was born to Kenyan parents who sent him to Nairobi to keep him out of trouble. He quickly discovered the burgeoning local hip hop scene and decided to make the African city his home. Now 26, he’s become one of Kenya’s brightest stars, making his mark as a TV personality and hosting various events around Nairobi.
Shaan began his career in dance music at 15 when he debuted at India’s premier music festival, Sunburn In Goa, in 2010. Focusing on uplifting tracks custom-made for the big rooms, he’s currently one of the most sought-after Indian DJs and the first to play at Tomorrowland. He’s played alongside Afrojack, David Guetta, Hardwell, Swedish House Mafia and Tiësto and released music via Armada and Metanoia Music.
India Anish Sood
Born and raised in Goa, Anish Sood is one of India’s brightest young stars, getting booked to play at major Indian festivals, including Sunburn in Goa, NH7 Weekender and Enchanted Valley Carnival. He launched a label, Class Action, and put out his debut album in 2017. His single ‘Starry Night’ won the Best Electronica/Dance Single at the Independent Music Awards in New York, making him the first Indian to win.
Indonesia Double Deer
Jakarta-based collective Double Deer is Indonesia’s leading audio-related entertainment company, and unites artists through collaboration. Since launching in 2014, Double Deer has grown into an artist incubator and record label. It offers production courses while also releasing music from rising talent across a variety of genres.
JADE’s band Blend was the first in the Middle East ever to be signed to a major label. He then became a techno DJ and founded The Basement in Beirut in the early 2000s. After the war in Lebanon in 2006, he organised fundraisers locally world-wide with The Lebanese Red Cross, getting artists such as DJ Hell, Craig Richards and M.A.N.D.Y. on board.
Lebanon Tala Mortada
Tala Mortada is a graphic designer, animator, illustrator, VJ and DJ who works behind the scenes at Beirut nightclub The Grand Factory where she also DJs regularly. More recently she co-founded The Middle Beast, an electronic audiovisual project with fellow Beirut artist JADE. Tala has performed around the world in Cairo, Dubai, Berlin, Paris and Serbia.
Harrison Williams is Mixmag's East Coast Editor, follow him on Twitter
Head to mixmag.net/globaldancefloor now to watch our series of films about all the artists