Host Spotlight: an opportunity to shine a light on our wonderful radio hosts and wider community, be it a new music release, a brand new music residency or simply to champion them as an individual. This time, we chat with DJ and Codes & Keys host, Nikki Chong! After some red hot bookings over the past year, we're keen to find out more from the Club Bad and Wonder Pot resident, plus what other exciting ventures lie on the horizon...
How did you first get into music?
I have a pretty musical family - my mum played piano, dad played guitar and my sister played clarinet and used to sing! I myself started ballet when I was little, so I’ve always been drawn to music from a young age. It wasn’t until I was in high school when I started going to gigs and eventually festivals, where I realised dance music was my thing. Of course I went through an emo stage AND an indie phase! So if my younger self could see me now, they’d be highly confused I think hahahaha.
Who are your main inspirations musically?
Well, Death Cab for Cutie is my favourite band. I can say with a lot of pride that they got me through high school! Their music is just so intelligent and emotive, I cry any time I listen to them!
Dance music wise, one of my biggest influences is Louisahhh. Louisahhh, alongside many other women, paved the way before this equal representation thing was a thing. I believe people like her had to work twice as hard to get the recognition they deserve. I’ve seen her play twice, and it’s always been an amazing time on the dance floor. They are also totally sober, which I completely respect and hope to be one day!
With a number of killer bookings under your belt, what’s been your favourite show to play so far? Dream artist to play alongside?
My favourite show so far has probably been opening for Anetha at Hidden, Manchester. I played for three hours, so it gave me a lot of room to experiment and play a lot of tracks I wouldn’t be able to fit into a shorter set time.
To be honest, I have a few dream artists haha - definitely Louisahhh, Eats Everything and ANNA are probably at the top!
Speaking of, how does it feel to be playing at Diplo’s Higher Ground Weekender in Cabo next year?!
To be honest, I didn’t think it was real until they sent me the poster with my face on it! The last time I was booked for an international festival was Snowbombing in 2018. I’ve been very fortunate to be given these kinds of opportunities, so I’m just going to enjoy every minute of it! I honestly never thought I’d see Diplo’s name and my own in the same sentence?! Like… What?
How do you usually prepare for a DJ set - any pre-show rituals?
I usually try to have 15 minutes of no music and no talking at home just before I leave. It makes me feel a lot more grounded before going to a gig. A nervous wee just before getting on the decks is a good one too!
What else is coming up for you?
You can grab a ticket to see Nikki Chong at Diplo's Higher Ground here! In the meantime, follow her to stay up to date and listen back to her latest Codes & Keys on Melodic Distraction Radio below:
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