We caught up with Bklava, the Brighton based, Irish-Lebanese DJ and producer, to discuss her excellent new tune ‘Back to Then’, her Irish heritage, plus the amazing DJs and mixes that have influenced her along the way.
The Brighton based, Irish-Lebanese artist Bklava steps into the limelight to unveil an incredible, summer jam and video, ‘Back To Then’. The follow up to the recent 2-step weapon, ‘Thinkin’ of You’, ‘Back to Then’ sees Bklava spin sugar-sweet vocals over infectious pop melodies; a clear nod to her electronic influences and fresh approach to club music. A track that’s positive and upbeat, Bklava’s candid lyrics reflect on the highs and lows of mental health with hopefulness.
Speaking on the single, Bklava says:
“Back to Then tells the story of both my negative and positive experience with my mental health. I wrote it when I was at my lowest. In parts it’s me giving up – “I don’t know if the fight is worth the win”, juxtaposes the chorus where I remind myself that I “can’t go back to then” – reminding myself of what happiness feels like.”
Carving out a unique space for herself in the burgeoning new wave of UK artists; Bklava’s infectious productions and intricate live PA/DJ set incorporating her own powerful vocals fuse an addictive and unique blend of fizzy pop melodies, wobbling basslines and bouncy four to the floor beats. Her sound and style is proudly informed by her Lebanese-Irish heritage, yet remains strongly rooted in the lively UK garage scene. Raised in South London, she now lives in Brighton and runs Spin Suga collective – a network promoting women in the electronic music industry and close the gender gap.
Recently appointed as a new monthly Rinse FM resident with her killer show, Bklava has also received support from BBC Radio 1 and BBC Introducing tastemakers including Annie Mac, Toddla T and Mistajam. With her finger firmly on the electronic pulse, ‘Back To Then’ is just a hint of what’s come from this rising star. Having garnered attention with her Take Time / Slow Down EP and latest single ‘Thinkin’ of You’, and with plenty more tracks, self-described as ‘non-stop bops and flava’ to come, Bklava’s shimmering ascent to the upper echelons of UK dance music is well under-way.
Check out the excellent new track ‘Back to Then’ below.
A huge influence to her musical journey was accredited to her Irish roots, which she speaks about below.
My Irish heritage has definitely helped shape my musicality and creativity over the years. My dad writes his own music, sings and plays the guitar and has done since I was a child – his ability to song write has definitely encouraged me to do the same. He influenced me a lot when I was younger and pushed me into taking up guitar and singing lessons.
My dad’s from a border town (Strabane) in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. My Dad’s family comes from both the North and South of Ireland. My Dad’s Mum is from Co. Tyrone where my Dad grew up as a child and my Dad’s Dad is from Co. Donegal where my Dad and his sibling also spent time as a child.
We’ve visited Bangor, Dublin, Belfast, Donegal, Strabane, Bundoran and Galway over the years and had family living all over the North and Republic of Ireland. I love visiting because it’s a country that takes pride in their musical history and home to so many up and coming artists. I always feel a strong connection to my Dad’s country when I go back to visit and the people are always so friendly; strangers talk to you as they pass you in the street. My heart is always full after every visit for many reasons – the music, the greenery and the sense of community. The sights of Ireland are always worth the cold weather and I think Bangor might be my favourite place over there, but I’d love to go and see Cork one day – maybe on my next visit.
Bklava has also picked 10 excellent mixes from Irish DJs from both the North and South of the country, that she’s been buzzing off for the last few months and years. There are some serious gems below.
I think this one is from 2013, and around the time I’d discovered Annie Mac and seen her play live. This mix shows how versatile she is. Her taste in music is always in point and this mix is so nostalgic with vintage 90’s and 00’s house/electronic tracks.
Not only is this one from Kettama but also Sharda in the guest mix. Two of my favourite producers. Every tune they’ve released is a bop and they never disappoint! This mix proves it.
This mix literally takes you on a journey – it starts off really ambient and then transcends into a mix of breaks and hard-hitting house and club. It ends on a stellar ‘Controlla’ refix from Pépe.
This mix is one for the dance! So many wicked remixes and just makes me wanna go out! Another wicked producer too, so get to know!
So excited to hear more music from Effy. Her debut single ‘Fluffy Clouds’ is unreal – go check it! This mix for LWE is the most perfect house mix. One to listen to for every occasion.
I discovered Prozak over lockdown after finding his Kiwi Records remix ep on bandcamp (check it out). A great producer and this mix showcases the best of new ukg!
A recent discovery! Another stellar house mix! Also check out her debut boiler room set at AVA festival! Wicked set!
A producer/dj coming from a lo-fi hip-hop background, this mix from Cbakl shows another side of music he immerses himself in – playing a summery house mix for Aztec NI.
Saoirse’s mix for Resident Advisor is seamless. An hour and a half of house/techno goodness.
His mini mix for Special Request on Radio 1 just makes you wanna hit the club. Full of high energy heaters!