NikNak: The ‘Monday Is OK’ Mix
NikNak is “your friendly neighbourhood turntablist”.
But her talents aren’t restricted to just this; a DJ, producer, sound artist, radio host and promoter (and that’s not even the full list), NikNak’s always on the hunt to expand her musical practice.
Real name Nicole, she’s been working tirelessly across a wealth of disciplines, from hosting a regular show on Worldwide FM and helming the Dub Sirens and Melanin nights in her home of Leeds to creating immersive compositions and performances, both solo and as the resident turntablist and producer for TC And The Groove Family, an 11-piece collective that explores global genres and grooves.
Her new album Sankofa is an exploration into her turntablism practice and her comprehensive research into Black spirituality, Afrofuturism and comic book heroes. Originally recorded during her time on the Sound Generator R&D programme in 2021, and now released on music tech research and development label Inventing Waves, the music marries synths and orchestral tones with surround-sound field recordings to tell the story of a Black woman who discovers that she has superpowers, and her subsequent process of self-acceptance.
Her mix for us is the perfect addition to this sun-soaked Monday. Self-described as a “timescale depiction of a day on the beach”, Nicole makes her way through soothing ambient, sweeping soundscapes and beautiful jazz motifs to set your week off right…
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you, what are you?
My name is NikNak (or Nicole), I’m currently in my workspace in Leeds and I am an alien… sorry, turntablist and artist.
Tell us about the Monday mixtape you’ve put together for us.
It’s a soothing one that will lead you into your Monday with ease hopefully!
If it were to be drawn what would it look like?
It’d be a timescale depiction of a day on the beach.
If it were a food what would it be?
Soup, or a meal that hugs you from the inside… something your mum would cook you.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Somewhere with comforting smells (cooking, incense etc) and a light breeze coming in… temperature is 25 degrees, it’s sunny and you’ve JUST had a massage 🙂
What should we be wearing?
As long as you’re comfortable, whatever you want!
Where was it recorded?
In my workspace 🙂
Are you on the same wavelength as the boomtown rats or do you actually like Mondays?
I like Mondays. It depends on what I’ve been doing the weekend before though that dictates what I’ll be doing on the following Monday, so they’re pretty fluid. A day is a day!
Who got you hooked on music?
What was the first record you heard and how did it make you feel?
Probably Dennis Brown’s “Get to love in time”, the 7” … that made me feel really warm and I’ve been obsessed with bass ever since.
What were the first and last records you bought?
OOOOOOO… Most recent one was A Way Back, Black Vinyl, by Joe Armon-Jones & Mala
My very first one was probably Untrue by Burial.
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
Smoothies, The new Black Panther trailer, my hair (it’s getting longer!!!!) and the newer Godzilla movies. The sound design in those films is ridiculous.
If you could travel in time…where in time would you go? Why?
I don’t know if I would travel in time to be honest. I’d rather be able to teleport, that way I can go to all the hot places without a plane.
Some self help questions for a Monday…
Am I looking forward to engaging with the people I am meeting or working with?
Yep! Lemme bank up on my energy first, then we’re good to go!
Am I going to my dream job?
Do I feel energised, rested, and confident?
Getting there. Gonna be taking a little break soon to really top this up though so looking forward to that! 😀
Your doctor says you need more exercise….what do you take up for exercise?
Probably weight lifting. I’d take up football again if my lungs weren’t so rubbish these days.
What’s your answer to everything?
Do the best you can and take your time.