11 Jul 22

Interview with NikNak

A photo of NikNak

One of DJ Mag’s ‘Ones to Watch 2022’, award-winning DJ and Turntablist NikNak presents Sankofa live on tour from 12-18 July 2022, an immersive sound and visual experience exploring the narrative of a young Black woman, Afrofuturism and her comic book heroes.

NikNak is devoted to developing her practice as a DJ and Turntablist, sound artist/composer, producer, tutor, sound engineer and radio presenter. She was the first black Turntablist to win the Oram Awards in 2020.

We caught up with NikNak for a short interview ahead of the tour to find out more about Sankofa and what audiences can expect to hear and see in the show.

We are excited to be producing your first solo tour. How are you feeling about it all?

Very excited! This is a new aspect of my career I never expected, let alone something so ambitious. Thank you so much for supporting me as well, I wholeheartedly appreciate it!

Tell us more about the inspiration for Sankofa?

I’m a big nerd and so Sankofa is very much an exploration of that, what I’ve learnt so far researching afrofuturism and black spirituality. Storm and my own love for comic-books definitely inspired Sankofa.

How did you get into turntablism?

An inspirational lecture from Sophy Smith back in 2010 really sparked my interest, as well as wanting to be more expressive with DJ-ing.

Can you tell us a bit more about your research into surround-sound and turntablism?

It’s been both enriching and ongoing. I’ve looked at specific books, audiobooks etc on ambisonics and afrofuturism, as well as looking at my own nerd.

NikNak performing live - photo by Jonathan Crabb

What can audiences expect to hear and see in the show?

It’ll be a multisensory experience from the black perspective, a celebration of black-self love, comic books, a version of black femininity - I guess what mine feels, looks and sounds like. Beautiful visuals from Loëpa and music that will take everyone on a journey.

Can you tell us more about your collaborator for this project - Loëpa?

She is a good friend and someone who is very open to continually build upon ideas. We’ve been having a great conversation from the start of the Sound Generator programme (Sound UK's artist development programme) about ways in which we can develop the visual language for Sankofa, and it’s been really inspiring.

You’re also touring with live loop musician XANA – tell us about their set?

Xana kindly supported me at a performance at Cafe Oto last year and the set then featured a lot of bass and audience interaction, including wearing a specifically-designed vest that makes the performance more multisensory. I think for the tour, Xana’s set will be a further evolved version of this and I can’t wait to experience it!

Lastly, who are some of your favorite artists that you listen to again and again?

In no particular order, Loraine James, Shiva Feshareki, Burial, J-Dilla…. There’s loads more but they’re off the top of my head!

NikNak's Sankofa is touring from 12-18 July 2022, with support from XANA. Find tour dates, venues and ticket links on our NikNak Sankofa event page.

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