In our ongoing efforts to support the music community, we launched a series of initiatives to empower black and LGBTQI+ artists in London. We’ve teamed up with BEAUTIFUL and its founder SHERELLE to open a new studio space, academy, workshop programme, and exhibition series.
We are committed to shaping the future of music creation by empowering creators and breaking down barriers at every stage. In collaboration with SHERELLE's platform, BEAUTIFUL, we proudly hosted a series of free workshops in London throughout the month of October 2022.
Hosted by SHERELLE herself, each workshop gave 15 students access to hands-on classes, lectures, and talks about how to navigate the music industry, better their artistic craft and learn about electronic music and how ingrained Black and queer artists are in its history.
The main premise of these workshops was to help give these students a foot up in their careers in music, nurture their development, and educate them in both the business and creative aspects of the industry. They were specifically aimed towards queer and BIPOC students from various economic backgrounds.
The first week's session was split into two sections - first, a lecture on the history and political impact of Black music with journalist, author, and DJ, Marcus Barnes - covering the importance of the UK's reggae sound systems during the '70s and '80s and their close links to the jungle, drum & bass and rave cultures that followed and still stand strong to this day. For the second part of the evening, our students headed to our recording studio space for a hands-on lesson on how to host their own radio show. Splitting into three groups, SHERELLE and fellow NTS Radio regulars Zakia and OK Williams covered everything from selecting the right music and talking with confidence, to properly introducing yourself, your guests, and their music.
Workshop number two was also split into two parts. DJ and writer Elijah was up first, discussing the economical and social aspects of the music industry through the medium of his viral Yellow Squares project, followed by a roundtable discussion and Q&A with key professional figures; Phoebe Gold (manager, PinkPantheress), Errol (Touching Bass), SHERELLE (BEAUTIFUL), Mitch Stevens (Revenant Earth), Hannah Shogbola (United Talent) and Mary Anne Hobbs (BBC 6 Music), who each talked about their careers in music and the ways in which they worked their way up the ladder.
Week three saw two of the most exciting names in electronic music, Mura Masa and Loraine James, come through to give a workshop on music production. Keep scrolling to take a look at some of our favourite moments from this session.
The fourth and final workshop was an up close and personal conversation between PinkPantheress and SHERELLE, focusing on the cultural impact of Black music, as well as examining PinkPantheress's meteoric rise from anonymous TikTok and Soundcloud singer to global pop and dance music sensation.
Keep an eye out for more workshops coming in 2023.
MURA MASA &
Week three's music production workshop with Mura Masa & Loraine James was packed with all kinds of useful information. Alongside their host, SHERELLE, each artist guided us through the project files for some of their most popular tracks, explaining their techniques and creative processes along the way. Here's a selection of our favourite pieces of advice from the session.
The temporary hub we have created with BEAUTIFUL will includes a brand new, kitted-out studio space managed by the BEAUTIFUL team for Black, LGBTQI+ electronic music artists to develop ideas and record without the financial and availability constraints they may have previously experienced, by giving them free access to tools, programmes, gear and equipment they might have not have had before.
& CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
To launch this initiative, BEAUTIFUL curated a week-long exhibition titled move/002 with fynn studio across two floors at Open House Hackney, celebrating the importance and power of black and queer communities within rave culture. It was the second instalment of the move/ art series, coming from the curation firm behind Saatchi Gallery’s rave culture show Sweet Harmony - one of London’s biggest art exhibitions in 2019.
Through photography, poetry, archival texts and digital installations move/002 reinterpreted the story of the black and queer experience in rave over the last forty years. Drum n bass pioneers Fabio and Grooverider provided insights to their decades-spanning careers accompanied by iconic portraits of them by Britain’s leading rave photographer Dave Swindells. Bringing us up to the present day, Bernice Mulenga, the most prominent photographer from the black British lgbtq+ community, also shared energetic dancefloor scenes from nights such as BBZ and Queer Bruk.
move/002 confidently platformed emerging talent and played host to the powerful work of up-and-coming artist Craig Bernard, whose photography explores the UK black community through themes such as Notting Hill Carnival and the BLM protests seen during the lockdown. Behind-the-scene photographs by Imaani Iris Erdogan shared an insight into life producing shows at Reprezent Radio, whilst London audiences had the first opportunity to see New Yorker Guarionex Rodriguez Jnr’s photography of Dweller Festival.
Stay tuned for more exhibitions coming later in 2022.
Since 2013 Ashley Thomas has steadily been building up his artillery of forward thinking hard hitting club music under his moniker Otik. In 2018 Otik joined the ranks of Rinse for a bi-monthly residency which gave him the opportunity to explore the deeper recesses of his record collection alongside guests such as Martyn, Andrea & Cosmin TRG. He has also contributed to mix series like Dekmantel, Crack Magazine, Lobster Theremin, Club Qu (named as Resident Advisor’s Mix Of The Day) and guested on radio stations like NTS and Worldwide FM whilst holding down a residency on Rinse France. In 2019 things stepped up on a production level. The year began with the ‘Stoned Ghost’ EP on Berlin’s Nous Disques imprint, which explored a more emotive dreamy side of UK Techno.
In quick succession Otik’s followed up with a debut outing on Midland’s Intergraded imprint with a track titled ‘Actress’ and later the experimental ‘Dioxide’ EP via DEXT Recordings. In 2020, Otik self-released 3 EPs on Bandcamp and his momentum continued in the same year with EPs on Gobstopper Records, Shall Not Fade and a return to both Intergraded and Keysound Recordings. His ’Trifecta’ EP marked a further progression in his career as he joined the roster of the Berlin based imprint Club Qu - one of the true champions of lockdown, their VR events have become legendary, projecting the feel of Berlin’s nightlife worldwide in the most forward thinking way. November 2021 was Otik’s debut on Martyn’s label 3024 with his ‘Soulo’ EP, which received early support from Mary Ann Hobbs on Radio 6 and saw Otik explore various tempos and genres, infusing Jungle and UK Techno with other components of his sound. He recently launched his own imprint Solar Body, with inaugural EP Psyops, a journey through Jungle, Footwork and Intelligent Breaks.
Tope (AKA worko!) is a producer from London. They are constantly redefining their sound, comfortable from 75bpm to much faster, dancier BPMs. They pride themselves on making whatever they feel to make in the moment, not feeling the need to find a pocket for themselves musically. They are heavily inspired by all that they hear, and their eclectic taste is evident in their willingness to get stuck in with any genre they see fit. They are slowly allowing the outside world into the musical space that has been brewing inside their head for years with each release, trying to make their emotions legible through sound. Their first release on SHERELLE'S BEAUTIFUL - 'suxcess' - is an energetic burst of music - they aim to spotlight their flexibility in their upcoming releases.
Meddy under the FX093 alias is a Paris-based French self-taught producer and founder of the independent record label Switch. When it came to building up this musical project, FX093 got his inspiration from his own experience, meaning his everyday life as well and his background.
His creativity, determination and his revolt against social inequalities has led him to create an authentic artistic dynamic around the Do-It-Yourself culture. A purely economic approach in line with the environment of the northeast suburbs of Paris in which Meddy grew up. His tracks are mainly created with the means available commonplace objects and his iPhone microphone.
After 5 years of practice and various processes, FX093 established his musical identity between distorted synthesizers and strong percussions, all mixed with atmospheres as deep as melancholic.
Sheba Q wants you to know that Jungle is the mother of Grime and the sister of Hip-Hop when she steps up to the turntables. Alongside being a jungle enthusiast, both new and old, she always draws for an eclectic selection, showcasing the true versatility the music has to offer.
When Sheba Q steps up to the turntables, she brings a deep level of knowledge and understanding to her performance with song selections that only a true music fanatic could display.
Sheba Q has come a long way, having produced and released tracks with Coco Bryce, Double O and her own EP with No Nation. Notable performances include Keep Hush, Boiler Room, Rupture, Outlook Festival, Distant Planet, Headspace, Queer Rave, Floorless, Materials, Planet Wax, Black Artist Database, Unorthodox, DJ Mag, Late Night Shopper, Hoots TV, Rudeboys and Rollups and much more.
Sheba Q was also nominated for DJ Mag's Breakthrough DJ 2021.
Kessler aka Eddy Kennedy is proving himself as a staple of modern electronic music. Tipped as one of the most exciting producers and selectors, collecting records & studying production from an early age enabled him to showcase his deep passion for music. An eclectic taste is well and truly reflected through Kessler’s creative & unique style, portrayed through an array of releases on Shall Not Fade, Holding Hands, Club Glow, Hospital Records and more. Influenced but not limited to the cut throat amen breaks of drum & bass and jungle, warped twisted rhythms typical of Ilian Tape & Warp right through to drunken drummer grooves of J Dilla.
Having nurtured his sound in the UK & Ireland, Kessler relocated to Rotterdam to continue growing his fluid, forward thinking & genre defying aesthetic which you can hear in ‘Ambivalent’ & ‘Foul Play’, He created a dynamic signature of immersive breaks & bass-driven music, receiving praise along the way, and debuting his output across multiple reputable stations like BBC Radio 1, Rinse FM & NTS. Also sought out for his selections, where he outlines his distinct connection with unrestricted electro, garage, jungle & techno, Kessler has gained a reputation for tough and diverse sets that command the dancefloor, landing a residency on Rinse FM, racking up on guest appearances on Rinse France, Balamii, BBC R1/ R1xtra and podcasts for the likes of Mixmag, FEEL MY BICEP, DJ Mag, Lobster Theremin, Ransom Note to name a few.
Despite worldwide setbacks, 2021 still saw great achievements for the breakbeat aficionado, earning a nomination for Breakthrough Producer in DJ Mag's Best of British Awards and a landmark Boiler Room performance on home soil at AVA Festival. 2022 continues the momentum with an illustrious touring schedule, including appearances at coveted festivals like Dekmantel, Warehouse Project & Waterworks, exploring the possibilities of live performance and a strong string of releases yet to come, exploring various sonics to cast from his creative bow.
Kessler also boasts his own club imprints Footwork & Meraki, which sees him curate line-ups within the realm of footwork, jungle, electro, breaks & driven techno.
SCAPA is a London born, Manchester based producer and DJ. With aspirations to compose music for video games, her sound is a fusion of synth focused, sound design elements and electronic glitches that have a heavy presence throughout her tracks. Having been immensely influenced by Manchester’s scene, it is only fitting that her first releases were part of two of the city’s underground music fundraisers in 2020, followed by her contribution to SHERELLE’s critically acclaimed BEAUTIFUL VOL. 1 LP in 2021. With production spanning from the experimental solo EP release “i deserve nice things” in November 2021 to Afropop tracks produced as part of her Asa Baako x SEEN residency, SCAPA has already proved her versatility as an artist.
Though her DJ career was born out of lockdown, SCAPA’s growth has been rapid - from creating mixes for stations throughout the UK and regularly playing for Manchester collectives such as Shifting Spheres, Left, Right & Centre and RebeccaNeverBecky, to DJing for the likes of international sensation Amaarae and at Manchester International Festival. When not producing or DJing SCAPA can be found teaching production workshops to women and non-binary people in efforts to address the extreme gender imbalance in music.
Rooted in the sounds of Jazz, Progressive Rock and Fusion, No Nation quickly cemented himself within Soul, RnB and Old School Hip Hop club scenes with a residency at Vibe (London) and appearances at events like Old School Sundays & GotSoul Sundays as well as international bookings across the globe.
As a producer his music is something to be savoured. Drawing inspiration from music on labels such as Inperspective and Scientific Wax, he combines dynamic and diverse fusion of soulful sounds, chopped breaks and samples - sure to leave a lasting impression. Along with production partner Sheba Q, No Nation has several features of Bristol-based dance label Slippery Sounds, London leftfield label Diffrent Music and most recently Sherelle's new imprint BEAUTIFUL music.
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