Kala ventured into unchartered waters last year with their inaugural edition, launching the first international festival in Albania. In June they return to the Albanian riviera with Theo Parrish, Derrick May and Inner City heading up the bill, and have just announced a Secret Beach programme (only accessible by boat) with sets from Hunee, Call Super, Jayda G, Hercules & Love Affair, CC:DISCO! and Kevin Saunderson.
Away from thee top billing, there’s a lot more to be discovered further down the lineup. Here’s our picks for 2019.
Last summer at the Yacht Club, one of Kala’s five stages, Bristol-based DJ and designer Danielle played one of our most memorable sets of the weekend. Working together fractured techno and gritty experimental textures, it was cohesive and purposeful, upholding that Bristol sound she’s become associated with. With roots in London too, until recently she worked behind the counter at Phonica for over a decade, taking those finds to the NTS airwaves for her monthly residency. Back in the South West, alongside fellow DJs Daisy Moon and Em Williams, she runs Mix Nights, a DJ workshop for females that offers informal lessons to budding DJs. This last year has seen her sky rocket; she played a tension-inducing set for RA’s Lift LDN party by invitation from Peggy Gou and made her debut at Fabric, add to that two upcoming Boiler Room appearances, the first b2b with fellow Bristol-based DJ Bruce and the second at Ortigia Sound System Festival, plus a spot on the line up for this season’s Circoloco in Ibiza, Danielle’s getting the recognition she so justly deserves.
Hailing from Vancouver way, DJ D.DEE aka Derek Duncan is one of the brains behind Pacific Rhythm, the label, and later party, he set up with friend and fellow DJ, Early, in 2013. The city itself has become associated with a hazy, downtempo sound, championed by the likes of Pender Street Steppers, D.Tiffany and Yu Su, to name but a few talented folks who’ve sprung up from the “Canadian Riviera”. Since launching the imprint Duncan has welcomed the likes of Flørist, Jump Source and Ex-Terrestrial to the family, as well as releasing a trio of compilations titled Rhythms Of Pacific that feature tracks from talented pals like Neo Image and Lnrdcroy. Their catalogue might be small but it’s carefully curated with love and an open mind, qualities we can’t wait to see DJ D.DEE translate to the dance floor at Kala.
Jaye Ward has been doing her thing in the London scene for yonks. A skilled selector and avid record collector, the Hackney local spent years working in record shops and exporting warehouse finds, we’re sure contributing to the eclectic tastes she shares with her listeners on Magical Real, the weekly radio show she hosts on East London’s Netil Radio. A window into the breadth of her record collection and her inquisitive nature, she joins the dots between psych, dub, boogie, Balearic, new wave and more, leaving no musical stone unturned. A Dalston Superstore regular and important voice for London’s underground LGBTQ+ scene, the last couple of years have seen her name popping up all over the shop. If you want a musical schooling, look no further than Jaye Ward.
Iranian DJ and producer Kasra V has held one of NTS Radio’s longest standing residencies, last summer celebrating his 100th show on the London-based station. Alongside sporadic tributes to some of his favourite bands and artists, his versatile shows lace together trance, new beat, old school rave with the Middle-Eastern grooves inspired by his homeland. His mixes ebb and flow, playing with mood and tension, his recent addition to the Dekmantel mix series being a true case in point. As a producer his sound is influenced by IDM, proto trance and leftfield house, with his most recent EP, a debut on Kim Ann Foxman’s Firehouse New York imprint, seeing him collaborate with Dopplereffekt and Rudolf Klorzeiger. Tottenham venue Five Miles is the home of his Domino Dance residency, a quarterly party where he invites some of his favourite DJs to join him in the booth for the night. For the second instalment he’s locked in Tzusing for a rare UK appearance – tip!
Yu Su is a woman of many talents. Not only is she a dab hand in the kitchen – check out her Instagram page to guarantee salivation – she’s also produced some of the most beautiful downtempo musings we’ve heard in recent years. Starting out in collaborative project You’re Me with Scott Johnson Gailey, she broke off to embark on her solo pursuits at the beginning of 2017, her storming mix for Truants setting her off on a promising path. Her releases are rooted in meditative ambient, counting previous outings on Brooklyn imprint Arcane and Peoples Potential Unlimited, with the next, titled 泉出通川为谷 / Roll With The Punches, a blissful entry on Music From Memory’s sub label Second Circle, earning a rare rave review from Resident Advisor.
Kala Festival runs 12th-19th June. Buy tickets from their website.