DJ, label head and club impresario Madam X has proved she has many strings to her bow. A constant and moreover, crucial, fixture in Manchester’s underground clubbing scene, her intimate knowledge of the city – both as a scene and a place brimming with talented artists – quickly began to prove dividends after first breaking through in 2011.
From co-founding label and Manchester club night BPM, short for ‘Big People Music’, in 2011 to showcase how much the city had to offer, she soon built a reputation for her surefire, upfront DJ Mixes combining everything current and bubbling; grime, techno, bass, garage – you name it, Madam X would mix it. It was this reputation that paved the way for a series of BBC 1Xtra residency slots while still in Manchester – covering for Diplo on BBC Radio 1 and hosting a series of shows, it’s a combination of hard work and crucially, patience, that have really started to pay off over the last two years.
A regular fixture on festival line-ups – playing the BBC R1 Dance Tent to over 8000 people at Reading Festival this summer – and some of the underground’s most iconic nights in Deviation, Manchester’s Warehouse Project and legendary Grime night Eskimo Dance, Madam X has proven herself as one of the UK’s leading influential DJs. Equally adept at playing to huge crowds as she is 100-cap basements, as well as hosting her own shows on BBC Radio 1, Rinse FM and NTS, her multi-faceted approach to music feels unique and ultimately, special.
The proud head of her own label, Kaizen, too – an imprint she launched with extensive, free compilation ‘Kaizen Movements Vol.1’ in the summer of 2014 – Madam X is already overseeing the label’s debut release proper, as well as hosting Kaizen label parties across the UK. With support from Loefah and Swamp81 already, her work with Kaizen has ultimately fed into her work as a DJ too, ensuring she has kept her ear firmly to the ground, while arming her with the hands-on experience of releasing records independently.
Looking ahead, Madam X’s accomplishments to date admittedly feel like only the tip of the iceberg. Although often understated and keen to let the music do most of her talking, she continues to build on past successes – for every gig she plays, the next one is guaranteed to be bigger, better – and is clearly set on leaving her mark on UK dance music. In a big way.
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Djrum is a perennially acclaimed underground artist, since his first release in 2010 who’s quietly built a list of fans that reads like a who’s who of contemporary dance music.
As an artist, Djrum has formed a reputation for his unique fusion of a range of genres ranging from jazz, hip hop and dubstep to ambient and techno. His music swells with oceanic bass laded beats, cavernous atmospherics and deeply emotive melodies. An accomplished DJ his compositional approach feels like a natural collage of his influences which has seen him release for the likes of the Zenker Brothers Ilian Tape imprint as well as the influential 2nd Drop label, plus remixes for Ninja Tune and Domino.
Felix now steps up to the plate at R&S with one of his most visionary releases to date. Deeply meditative melodies twist and turn through stuttering rhythms and pulsing low bass, hypnotic pads and woozy atmospherics. Manuel’s music somehow manages to retains the urgency and dynamic pressure of the dance floor with the intimacy and elegant detailing of the best headphone music.
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