AVA Mix Series: Nikki O
Belfast-born and London-based, Nikki O’s DJ sets blend genres from breakbeat & ukg, to the bassier side of techno. With sets at clubs and festivals both in the UK and Ireland, including AVA Festival, Wigflex Festival, and Village Underground, she’s played alongside the likes of Kettama, Interplanetary Criminal, D. Tiffany, and more.
She also produced “Dancing for Peace”, an award-winning audio documentary, about the roots of dance music in Belfast – featuring some of the local scene’s most prominent voices.
The audio from this mix is a section taken from a live recording of her party-starting set at AVA In The Woods at All Together Now earlier this year.
You can catch her monthly residency on London station Subtle.
This mix is a recording of your set at All Together Now 2022. What were your key takeaways from the festival?
It was such a nice festival. My key takeaways were: The venue was beautiful, EMA is an amazing DJ, as are Long Island Sound, and white claw is the ultimate festie drink.
You’re absolutely smashing it on the British airwaves with Radio 1, Subtle and 1020. How does it feel to be tipped as “The
Mad! Biggups Phil Taggart for saying that. I fell into radio almost on a bit of a whim, I was doing my PhD in Microbiology and was looking for a bit of a creative release. I just loved tunes and wanted to talk about them, so I tried out for my student radio station. I had a radio show before I could even DJ, I used to just fade songs in and out in the beginning. It’s been such a blessing and it’s a lot of fun.
You produced an award winning documentary about the Northern Ireland dance music scene during The Troubles. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
It’s an audio documentary that chats about dance music’s role in bringing communities together in Northern Ireland. It mainly discusses this role during the later stages of the troubles, which has been covered by TV docs & articles before too, but I also wanted to bring it into the context of today to see: did it make a lasting difference? And does it still make a difference? It was scored by the amazing Paddy Carser (PercBoi 3000) which really brings it to life. MistaJam ended up singing it’s praises which was really cool and kinda mad.
You’re currently London based, how does the scene there compare to back home?
I think they are very different. London is just so huge, the choice of venues means you are never short of somewhere to go and it has the benefit of better licensing laws which allow parties to go on to 6am and sometimes even 24h. The abundance of community radio stations is also great too. However I think there’s something very special about Belfast’s scene and that’s all down to the people. Crowds in Belfast are just a level above, everyone’s always up for it. There’s also a benefit to a scene being small as everyone knows each other and it’s generally super friendly. I think if the powers that be truly supported the night time economy, Belfast would thrive & become a nightlife destination. It’s why initiatives like Free The Night are so vital.
Tell us favourite moments from AVA’s gone by.
Ohhh so many to choose from. Hubie Davidson in the Boiler Room in 2016 playing Floorplan – We Magnify His Name is always a stand out memory. Was with all my pals and it was just such a fun feel good moment. From this year just gone, Matheson’s Boiler Room was so good, and Jordan’s set was also a stand out – tunes were class and the sun was just setting over the hills, another proper feel good moment. Getting to play the last 2 years was also super special as it really is Techno Christmas for Belfast.
What were some of your earliest musical influences? Any guilty pleasures?
I wish I was one of those people who said they grew up listening to really cool and obscure records, but in reality my teens were spent listening to clubland CDs mixed with pop-punk (I consider going to Avril Lavigne’s Under My Skin tour a seminal moment in my life – don’t judge). I think I’ve a super varied music taste now, I like and play a fairly wide breadth of genres within the electronic music sphere (which I hope comes across in this mix!). This maybe stems from listening to so many different genres growing up. I also used to play the Tuba and like to joke this is why I’m drawn to such bass-heavy music nowadays lol.
If you could work or collaborate with any artist living or dead, who would it be?
Mary Anne Hobbs – a living legend. Her 6 Music show is amazing, she just seamlessly goes from like Slipknot into techno into some obscure RnB B side, it’s such a trip. Her Radio 1 show was also legendary.
Any pro tips for surviving the incoming dark nights?
I’m probably not a great person to ask as I HATE winter! But taking multivitamins to make sure I get enough vitamin D. I also try to always go outside at lunch time to at least see some sunlight. Aside from that, I wrap up in one of those wearable hoodie blankets and remind myself that Spring will be here soon enough.
Anything else you’d like to shout about?
You can catch me on Subtle Radio every 1st Wednesday of the month, I’m joined by a different guest each month. Also bringing back Suckin’ Diesel, my radio show with Kurty, so watch out for that soon!
- Eliza Rose – Move To The
- Rhode & Brown x Benjamin Fröhlich – Days of Innocence (Bliss Inc Remix)
- Adam Pits – Buzz Dimensions
- DJ Simlocked – The Freaky Rite
- mpeg – Pitty Party
- Cassie – Me & U (Rubén Baiz rework)
- Player – Hit the Floor
- Chrissy – Can’t You Feel It
- Ruff Style – Another Badboy Tune (Frazer Ray Remix)
- Baby D – Let Me Be Your Fantasy (Pj Bridger Refix)
- Dismantle Van Basten – Smack the Door
- Mavado – Weh Dem A Do (Pj Bridger Refix)
- Diskop – Blast
- Pilot – Horny Breakdancers
- Pilot – Drop de Tiddies
- Bailey Ibbs – Killer Abra
- S T I N 9 – fantasi4