Bklava wants us to know she's more than a garage girl. With new music lined up, she talks finding escapism in sound, experimenting with production and the best party she's been to recently.

Coming up to five years in the game, it may be a surprise to many that Bklava’s debut single as an independent artist was released just last week. Signed to Ministry of Sound, the revered record label and home of electronic titans like Calvin Harris and Example, the half-Lebanese DJ has cemented themselves as one of NUKG’s foremost figures. Recently, however, she’s broken from the shackles of two-step rhythms and broadened their sound exponentially, reaching for new percussive elements inherently easy to groove to. 


It’s no secret that community is at the core of all that Bklava does. Creating Spin Suga in 2020, originally as a platform to highlight female, non-binary and trans DJs and producers, the multifaceted artist now uses the imprint to explore the depths of underground electronic music. Tailoring idiosyncratic sounds to ethereal vocals, c u l8r, Bklava’s forthcoming Spin Suga mixtape debut, encapsulates their sprawling DJ sets. From atmospheric breakbeats to restless rave and rumbling bassline, few stones are left unturned on the project, which is set for release this June.  


‘Makes Me (Wanna Move)’ is our first official taste from the record: a sentimental speed garage track that plays to Bklava’s strengths, both in terms of tune and tonality. The London-based producer and vocalist’s propensity for making main room bangers are on full show, as they unleash an infectious hook and slapping production, applying some serious soundsystem pressure just as clubs start to fill their sticky dancefloors again. 

Hi Bklava. Let’s take it back to the beginning. What role did music play in your life growing up? Are there any anecdotes you maybe haven’t told people before?

Music was always my escapism. More so when I was a child and felt like an outsider. I really was that weird kid that got bullied a lot and playing my guitar and writing music was how I knew there was something I was good at, despite what others would say.

‘Makes Me (Wanna Move)’ is a sentimental speed garage track that nods to your own experiences on the dancefloor. What’s one party you’ve been to recently that left a profound effect on you?

New Year’s Eve at Phonox seeing Scarlett O’Malley and Moxie… All the tunes were bouncing! Also, I think when people ask me what my favourite club in London is, Phonox will always be up there. The sound system, the intimate space and the disco ball of course. The no phone rule also allows more connection and togetherness in the room which is always welcome! It was a minute since I’d been to a gig and not played so it was lovely to be in the crowd dancing hard and not being tempted to go chat for days in the green room.

Speed garage has experienced a resurgence in recent years; it’s a really fun genre to hear DJs playing. Which artists do you look to for inspiration when making the sound?

Queen of bassline, Big Ang defo. Also Interplanetary Criminal, Soul Mass Transit System and Main Phase definitely have the new wave speedy g sound locked in! I’ve always loved Sharda too. He’s in a league of his own.

Bullet Tooth and Rhys Eyk have production credits on the track. How did they elevate it? Did you find new elements to your artistry by working with them?

Ah we were all in sync that day! Honestly that tune came together so quick and the lyrics flowed. I think working with others will always create that buzz and connection quicker and can sometimes make creating the track more exciting compared to being in your own space. I procrastinate too much when I work alone, so I love collabing on projects.

l love the contrast between the angelic vocals and quite an evil-sounding bassline. Why was it important for you to play with that juxtaposition?

There’s just something about those dynamics that feel right. It’s something I practise a lot because my head is always all over the place and it has a certain melancholy when you write emotive lyrics to something really happy and bouncy or vice Versa. It makes sense in my brain and the unexpected is always more exciting to me.

Your forthcoming mixtape, c u l8r, is set for release in June just in time for festival season. What’s exciting you about releasing a body of work in 2024?

It’s been a minute I can’t lie. There’s been remixes and featured projects but I haven’t released a big project of my own since 2021. A lot of people love to remind me too. I wish it could have been sooner but these things take time and a lot of it was out of my hands for various reasons. So this mixtape now feels like a real labour of love – my baby!


‘c u l8r’ – a nostalgic text you used to get before the big night out! A message that was always filled with so much anticipation and adrenaline, and very fitting to how I’m feeling before this mixtape is released into the world.

c u l8r will be the first project released on your independent imprint, Spin Suga. Making it must have been a liberating feeling! How did the process stretch you creatively?

100000% liberating. That’s accurate. I set up Spin Suga in 2017 and it’s been many things in that time – a mix series, live stream events, a network, production workshops, and it always had one ethos that is close to my heart – to give a platform and opportunities to other women and gender minorities who are trying to make it in dance music. It’s had a hiatus for a minute as I focused on my own project and got busy, but I’m so excited to bring back Spin Suga as a label and I have so many plans for the future to share soon.

Rave, breakbeat and house are just a few other genres you explore on ‘c u l8r’. Would you say you’re in a period of experimentation with your sound? Or is eclecticism something you’ll always pride yourself on?

I’m definitely in my emotive club bag when it comes to my production. I think if I go into a room as a singer first mindset, I’ll always come out with something that sounds good but doesn’t feel 100% me. Having the chance to play around with my own production on this mixtape has meant I’ve connected to my music and culture on a much deeper level and I’m welcoming any experimentation – I wanna make people see and hear that I’m not just a garage girl.

How do you think your sound has evolved since your early releases?

I talk about this a lot when I’m in sessions but it’s something I’ve come to respect over time: The way I started out was as a singer/DJ and I wanted to release songs that would be listener friendly as well as club friendly. However my first releases were during lockdown and we weren’t clubbing so a lot of my releases ended up being more listener friendly and vocal heavy. It’s not always music that has been welcome in DJ environments and I know that this is going to change with this upcoming mixtape as I am coming it from a perspective of planning my live show and what records I’d play for that setting. I’m proud of all the tracks I’ve released though, I put a lot into everything I do and no matter how my emotions may change when I look back on the projects I’ve worked on, I know I was backing it then so I still do now.

Bklava rules the world for a day, what’s going down?

We put women in power! I believe the world would actually have a chance at being a peaceful place. We know that just by the countries that are already run by women, so hint hint.

Beyond c u l8r, what else can we get excited for from you in 2024? Is there anything you’d like to plug fans with?

A live show is coming! It’s gonna be my first one where I play around with live production and instrumentation too but you’ll defo see more of a performance from me than you would when I’m behind the decks in my DJs shows! I’m excited for people to see it, and musically it is going to be best version of Bklava I’ve ever shared.

Listen to Bklava's latest single, 'Makes Me (Wanna Move)':


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