Thu 15 Jun 2023 Freddie Hill

Defected Croatia Artist Spotlight Series: Part 2 - Genre Blenders

This set of artists are known for bending the rules of house, often through their genre-defying productions and unconventional approaches to live performance. Using their unique experiences in the industry, these talents have impressed globally with their genre-defying electronic music projects.

With the festival just two months away, get to know these essential genre blenders…

Mr Scruff

The Ninja Tune champion is the definition of musical idiosyncrasy, blending elements of house, jazz, blues, ska, electro, reggae and most importantly humour into his wildly daring sonic releases that made the electronic music scene a little more joyful. From the colourfully explosive ‘Trouser Jazz’, which saw disco, house, funk, hip-hop and of course jazz combine with heavily edited samples and bold instrumentation, to later releases like ‘Friendly Bacteria’ which saw the Mancunian producer add depth to his kooky discography.

The eclectic DJ previously held a number of monthly residencies locally before touring all over the world, keeping it unreal everywhere he went. With a DIY approach to visuals – his cartoonish, loose-line drawing style pervades his packshots, music videos and set visuals – Mr. Scruff is one of the most recognisable electronic brands to this day. Having owned multiple boutique tea companies, what better artist to kick off this list of genre-blenders.

TSHA

The 2020s saw TSHA make the leap from promising young talent to certified electronic tour de force. The London-native has graced the covers of MixMag and DJ Mag, all while keeping up with an immense, international touring schedule that shows no sign of stopping. In addition to her DJ sets, the artist and multi-instrumentalist recently debuted a new live music experience at Primavera. The reason for her continued success is in the unmistakeable quality of her music; TSHA’s sound transcends genre norms, with releases that are atmospheric, acidic, quietly confident, and explosively intelligent all at once.

Her long-awaited debut album ‘Capricorn Sun’, released in October of last year on Ninja Tune showed that, despite her mountains of career-defining work and numerous ‘Breakthrough Act’ awards, TSHA has still found time to nurture her flourishing sound - always electronically ambitious and laced with real emotion. It’s no wonder that several key tastemakers have voiced their support including Annie Mac, Pete Tong and Zane Lowe, who described TSHA as: “an absolute club superstar… one of the most exciting voices making club records”.

Desiree

South Africa’s Desiree is a globally revered artist and activist who has soared to new heights in recent years. The eclectic selector grew up listening to alternative rock before gravitating towards the incredible sound of South African house from the likes of Jullian Gomes, Kid Fonque and China. Previously defining herself as an Afro house DJ, this future star made the conscious decision to break free from genre constraints, and her lengthy sets reflect this. Spanning a huge variety of genres and styles, encompassing everything from downtempo to techno, what makes Desiree stand out among her peers is her seamless approach to storytelling.

Guest appearances on BBC Radio 1’s Soundsystem and Keinemusik Radio Show, as well as career defining sets at fabric, HÖR Berlin and various CircoLoco parties further cemented the demand for Desiree, who will be making her Defected Croatia debut this summer. As a proud intersex woman, she uses her success to speak about her condition, and her debut EP ‘Femme Tech’ in 2022 continued to champion the misrepresented and marginalised by showcasing the full range of her abilities in one sleek 13-minute release.

KiNK

The experimental DJ, producer and record label owner KiNK is known for his wild approach to live music, often coming armed with a legion of live and unpredictable use of sound. Strahil Velchev gained international recognition as KiNK in the late noughties, becoming one of the most in demand house and techno producers at the time with sets that served as a love letter to the rave scene. Notable EPs that followed include 2010s ‘Aphex KiNK’ – a nod to the experimental electronic titan – and the ever-popular ‘Cloud Generator’ in 2015.

His label Sofia Records, established in 2018, celebrates his hometown of Sofia in Bulgaria while championing his latest European house, inventive techno and twisted, acidic funk releases. With two decades of live experience behind him, including his 2022 Defected Croatia debut, expect a deliciously frenetic set dripping in electronic showmanship this year.

Oden & Fatzo

Joining us for the first time at Defected Croatia this year, Oden & Fatzo are a trio inspired by the electronic music of the late 90s and early noughties. Their energy and sound, honed in the Parisian underground scene, spans multiple genres from hip-house to acid, coming together to create vivid aural constellations throughout their throwback disco house records - always dripping in nostalgia.

With a more clean and minimalistic production style than their retro influences might suggest, Oden & Fatzo are paving the way for fresh electronic and nu disco artists globally. London, Canada, America, Spain, Egypt, Indonesia, and soon Croatia; their festival calendar is well and truly stacked, as their genre-hopping style can slot well into any line-up. Watch out for an upcoming release with Camden Cox on Defected…

Riton

With over 1.5 billion streams under his belt, Riton is one of the most popular electronic artists in the UK right now. But his roots in electroclash and electro house, as well as his releases on the hip-hop matriarch Mark Rae’s imprint Grand Central in the noughties, showcase his ability to take disparate influences and create clean, successful productions. His earlier work explores a huge variety of styles and sounds, from instrumental albums stacked with chopped beats, hip-hop, acid funk and techno, to making krautrock with the members of Soulwax.

Since then, the Geordie producer has had major chart success with releases like ‘Rinse & Repeat’ and ‘Friday’, while also achieving critical success - winning a GRAMMY for ‘Best Dance Recording’ after co-producing Dua Lipa & Silk City’s ‘Electricity’. As a performer, the multi-instrumentalist has also performed at major UK venues and festivals, having recently joined Ed Banger Records for their Printworks takeover in May. With recent releases on D4 D4NCE as one third of KUU, Croatia ticket holders can expect sleek and sophisticated dance music with infectious hooks to keep you moving all night.


With so much impeccable talent heading to the Adriatic coast this summer, stay tuned for the next part of this series as we spotlight house music's ‘ones to watch’...


Read part 1 of our Artist Spotlight Series here


Defected Croatia will run from Thursday 3rd – Tuesday 8th August 2023. Tickets are available here

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