Casey's Choice: Kent acts to watch out for
Host and creator of the Kent Sessions, Producer of BBC Introducing in Kent, Casey Heyburn gives us six to watch
If I said to you “dance music” and told you to name the first place that comes to mind, I imagine that the word on most of your lips would be “Ibiza”. Well that’s also the answer for if you were to ask Alice Clark where she now resides and produces her deep tech-house goodness.
From her humble beginnings in Lenham, Alice made the huge decision to go and follow her dream of being a DJ in 2010 by spending her summers on the White Isle learning her craft and making as many contacts as she could. She went on to gig across the island before landing herself numerous residencies and playing world-famous venues including Ibiza Rocks and Cafe Mambo, where she is now the social media manager and regularly joins international DJs on the evening line ups.
As part of her Ibiza lifestyle Alice also finds time to get in a studio to record a radio show for Data Transmission Radio, as well as create vibey tech-house/minimal tracks which would suit any sunset. Her latest EP Rocket is definitely one to embrace, as well as her single Motivez (which is definitely not a word, but Alice said she felt motivated at the time so rolled with the title).
Following her on her social media accounts will fill you with jealousy. Alice is constantly on the move; jetting from Ibiza to the US to play on private islands, to then head back in to Europe to play an event in yet another country before eventually touching base on the beautiful island of Ibiza. What a life she leads!
An Alice Clark DJ set should be on your bucket list. Once she’s finished her set don’t be surprised to see her joining you on the dancefloor to enjoy the rest of the night - dance music is in this woman’s blood.
Many DJs and producers dream of going from making beats and loops in their bedroom to producing world class tracks in high-end studios in cities like London and LA. This lad is living that dream.
Jacob Plant is originally from Tunbridge Wells, but now resides in the City of Angels making music that resonates with dance music fans across the globe.
Since he started producing commercial dance music, he’s had releases on Ministry of Sound’s label, Speakerbox, Calvin Harris’ Fly Eye Records, and Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records. Needless to say, this guy has talent and it has never gone amiss.
Many of his early productions were supported by BBC Intrdoducing in Kent, which led on to his music being played to the nation on BBC Radio 1 by DJs such as Annie Mac and Zane Lowe, who made Jacob’s 2013 release Fire his ‘Hottest Record In The World’. His music is now no stranger to BBC Radio 1’s Dance Anthems, with his latest releases About You (featuring Maxine) and Eastside (featuring Soren Bryce) getting regular plays. Eastside has also gone on to be remixed by international names; such as Ben Pearce and KDA
Jacob Plant personifies exactly what is meant when we are told that no dream is too big; he’s out there making all of his come true.
You may know this artist by his real name - Dave Silcox - but I want to tell you all about his DJing alter-ego; Marcellus Wallace.
The Maidstone DJ and producer is well and truly integrated into the UK dance music circuit; with numerous releases on labels such as Audio Rehab, Elrow, and Toolroom (which, of course, is run by Maidstone’s very own Mark Knight).
The world of House music can sometimes feel oversaturated, and those who do not take an active interest in the scene may believe that it all sounds the same, but Marcellus Wallace finds a way to break through that misconception and get even the biggest hater shuffling to the beat. You can always tell when you are listening to a Marcellus Wallace track as he layers a sampled vocal or piece of speech over a bouncy bass line - these elements mixed in with a beautifully mastered kick and hat combo really bring this House music to life. I’d recommend his tracks I Got Game and Bump It to give you a taste of what I’m saying.
Accompanying his successful production career, Marcellus Wallace has an impressive list of venues and events that he has featured at. You will regularly find him behind the decks at venues across the UK, including the world famous Ministry Of Sound in London, as well as having played at festivals across the globe. Towards the end of 2017 he also represented BBC Music Introducing at the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) alongside BBC Radio 1’s Danny Howard and Monki.
It won’t take you long to find an event that this DJ is playing this Summer as it would appear that he’s everywhere. Go check him out!
If you’re looking for a big night out with fellow ravers but have no idea where to go, I would highly recommend you follow the gig path of Mollie Collins (I’m fairly certain that she will only sleep as she travels from one event to the next… Mollie is always out on the road!)
This Gillingham-born DJ and producer has made huge waves in the Drum n Bass scene in such a short space of time that everyone who knows her must have neck ache watching her rise so fast. Fellow DnB artist Mampi Swift even told UKF “Mollie Collins has risen quicker than anyone I’ve seen in my career”.
Mollie played her first public set in May 2015 and has since gone on to play on stages across Europe; including DelaHoya Festival in Romania, and supporting High Contrast on his live UK tour. She is also due to play Creamfields 2018 as part of MistaJam’s Jam Packed stage line up.
Alongside her DJing career Mollie has been able to get into the studio and produce original tunes and bootlegs that never fail get the crowds moving at any jump-up rave. I would highly recommend you check out her bootleg of Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You, which she produced alongside Rushmore, as well as her huge original production Minions (which also has a VIP remix for you to get your ears around).
Having mastered her 3-deck performance style and quick, choppy mixes, a Mollie Collins gig is the perfect night out for any level of raver.
Craig Hayward and Liam Kelly aren’t your typical resident DJ-turned-production duo. These lads have taken Bass music to the next level, and have been making plenty of friends along the way.
Craig and Liam began as solo resident DJs and played in clubs across Kent before meeting at Mojos in Chatham. Over time they became good friends and eventually decided it was time to take their DJing to the next level. Enter production duo, SHAPES…
Their first signed single, Pogo Stick (featuring Milli Major), was a huge hit with international and national radio DJs, including BBC Radio 1/1Xtra’s MistaJam, who premiered the single as his ‘Jam Hot’. The single went on to make it to number 21 in the UK Dance Charts. They even remixed the single with bars from Example, Grim Sickers and Majestic.
Along with their official releases, SHAPES are notorious for making BIG remixes and bootlegs of the tracks you know and love. Their GAS bootleg of Rae Sremmurd’s ‘Black Beatles’ is a personal favourite, and clips of their remix of TC’s ‘Tap Ho’ went viral; resulting in the full track being released on UKF earlier this year.
When they’re not in the studio they’re on the road playing to sold out crowds across the UK and Europe. When you think of DJ duos you may imagine the first DJ playing a track, then the other one mixes into it, and they take it in turns… this is NOT what these guys are about.
Observing a SHAPES DJ set is like nothing you have ever seen before. They use up to 4 CDJs at any one time, and work simultaneously to both be on the decks at all times. Their set list will include their own originals, VIPs and bootlegs, along with tracks produced by their bass music pals, and even tracks that you didn’t think would ever work in a set like theirs. It is truly something to behold. (Which, if you head to their Facebook page, you CAN witness as each month they release a GASMiniMix!)
If you want to understand the true definition of the word “graft”, I would highly recommend you buy these guys a tequila and ask for their story.
Something slightly different for my final choice of this edition… a record label. If you are a fan of house music chances are you will know exactly what Toolroom is about, and you have probably all heard a track released on this label at some point, but let me explain just in case…
Toolroom Records was created in 2003 by Maidstone brothers DJ/producer Mark Knight, and Stuart Knight. As Mark’s profile as a DJ grew, so did that of his label, with releases such as remixes of Man With The Red Face and You’ve Got The Love receiving international acclaim and air time.
The Toolroom empire has since expanded to include a radio station with over 16 million listeners per week, and a TV show which is aired on Sky TV. Artists who have released records on the label over the years include The Mambo Brothers, Danny Howard and GotSome.
The Knight brothers have never forgotten their roots, with Toolroom HQ based in their hometown of Maidstone. When Mark isn’t out on the road he will spend his time in his state-of-the-art facilites in Kent’s county town, which I feel is a testament to our county’s musical heritage.
Toolroom Records turns 15 this year, so happy birthday to everyone involved in running this internationally extolled dance music giant. Here’s to many more years of world class dance music coming out of our beautiful county!