23/07/2018 June 16th, 2019

Learn more about the nominees in the Newcomer category

Newcomer is understandably one of the most anticipated categories in the DJ Awards because it represents the future of talent in electronic music.

We caught up with 7 of the 2018 nominees asking them the same questions find out a little bit more about each of them.

  1. When did you start writing/producing music – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
  2. What is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
  3. You got 24 hours free in Ibiza, what would you do?

Eli Brown

1. I started writing music many years ago, originally writing other genres of electronic music under various aliases over the years.  Back when I started out I was really into Drum and Bass as it was really popular in my home town of Bristol when I was growing up.  Guys like Roni Size and Andy C were massively influential when I first started. When I began writing house music about two years ago I was heavily inspired by the Hot Creations guys such as Lee Foss and Richy Ahmed, also Skream and the Solardo guys have inspired and influenced me a lot.

2. As I mentioned I’d previously written other genres but felt it hard to find new inspiration and ideas. During that period I spent the summer going to a number festivals and I ended up going to Glastonbury with Dan (Eats Everything) and a bunch of other friends from Bristol. I listened to a bunch of house and techno sets and came back itching to get in the studio as I feel in love with the vibe and energy of the music that I’d heard during that weekend.

3. If I have 24 hrs. in Ibiza I like to grab food at the fish shack then grab some drinks somewhere before heading to some of my favourite club nights such as Solid Groove’s at Vista, Solardo at Hi or Paradise at DC10.  24 hours is never enough in Ibiza however.

Michael Bibi

1. I started messing around with Ableton making tracks in my bedroom about seven or eight years ago, but it was only really in the last three years that I started taking production seriously as something that could pay my bills. I took influences from all over the place; I love all types of music never sticking to just one genre. In my early days I grew up around blues & jazz music, then as a teenager I was into the London Drum & Bass scene, which slowly evolved into the early forms of Dub step and then I stumbled across House & later, Techno. I always seemed to be drawn to anything with a nice groove & heavy baseline.

2. To be honest, my friend took me to an illegal warehouse ‘rave’ on a random night out. Inside the warehouse there was two rooms of music – jackin’ house in one room and dub techno in the other. I instantly loved the repetitive groovy loops I was hearing in both rooms and spent the entire night just taking in the sounds and trying to figure out the basic structure of how these genres worked. From then on I was totally hooked and began trying to imitate what I had heard on nights out in my home studio, whilst every weekend I would be hunting for the nearest party to me so I could find more of this type of music.

3. 24 hours in Ibiza would usually start off with some great food followed by a whole lot of antics that probably can’t be discussed here!

Alex Kennon

1. I started making music around 10 years ago, I was studying guitar and had rented a really small ‘old school’ room where my friends and I would improve our music skills together. Bands such as The Cure, Genesis and Depeche Mode were some of my biggest influences, alongside Omar S, Soul Capsule and Moodymann as I started to discover DJs.

2. I fell in love with electronic music when I DJ’d for the first time. It was like when that kid that sees something on the tv and needs it in his life. It was then such a huge emotion when I finally went from a bedroom DJ to playing for a crowd. Also, I had a very important trip to Berlin when I was 16, it was then that I saw that how electronic music has such an impact across the world, especially through it’s influences on multiple genres. I think I always had it wired into me as my father used to play Kraftwerk to me when I was a baby!

3. I would enjoy a boat trip to Formentera or either to travel around Ibiza with friends and family and experiencing all the smells, the nature, food and great people. Aside from the more relaxed approach I also love rock jumping, it gives me an adrenaline rush similar to how music affects me.

Mason Maynard

1. I started first trying to make music about 10 years ago. It didn’t go very well and I wouldn’t call it music it was more of genre-less beats, as I really had no clue how to make music (I was only 12!). I started making house and techno about 18 or so months ago after falling in love with house music through festivals and going to clubs (The Warehouse Project to be specific) the bug just sparked in me and I’ve been obsessed with this music ever since! Early influences for me in music would be 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Dr Dre – people of that nature but my early house DJ influences would be Armando, Bad Boy Bill, Julian Perez, Paul Johnson, DJ Funk,  and a lot of the old Chicago DJs, from the new school its definitely Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler who made me interested in DJ-ing.

2. Music has been an ever present feature in my life my Dad used to DJ RnB and had a full set up in our old house so its just always been there. When I was old enough to explore it myself, it was along with my cousin so it was kind of our thing to do was to listen to music even write raps and compare the music on our phones to see who had the most exclusive tracks at the time. In terms of an actual sound it’s always revolved are bass lines just because of where I grew up in Manchester that’s what everyone was listening to as I began to grow a passion for music. The number of sounds you can create on a synth and the crazy low ends is what keeps me so interested.

3. This would depend on how crazy the last 24 had been as to where my head is at ha-ha. Probably wake up get ready, eat or try to, then get straight back at it. In the night I’m definitely heading out probably DC10 or Hï if it’s a Tuesday and I have a show! Then after party, where ever that is.. no slowing down.

Brina Knauss

1. I Start djing 6 years ago and producing 3 years ago, but my productions didn’t satisfy me… My first musical passion was to play the piano and also to sing. Since I was young, this musical background made me strict with myself, about the sounds, melodies, samples and effects to use for my production, especially now that I´m working on my first EP.

2. Atmospheric sounds of soundtrack of 80’s and 90’s movies, psychedelic sounds and melodies of trance music and growing sound movement of the progressive house! These are the sounds that empowered me, and that I am trying to add into my dj set and hopefully you’ll hear through the music I make for my first EP!

3. If I’m free in Ibiza, when  I wake up, after a big breakfast, I go for a run on the beach to get some exercise and to breath in the Ibiza sea air. Than I go to a restaurant in front of the sea and enjoy el pescado del día (fish of the day). After 1 or 2 hours chilling on the beach I go to meet some friends that usually I don’ t have time to meet, and than we go together to some place with music where we can have a cocktail enjoying the sunset. After dinner in another typical Ibiza restaurant I go in a party where I find the music that I like!  It might seem like a trivial day, but people like me who is always travelling this is a perfect day!


1. I started producing music in 2010 after I had some years of DJing. Probably the main thing that made me do it was the desire to create what I want to play in my sets. When I got in contact with electronic music, the Romanian scene was dominated by Progressive House. So guys like Sasha, John Digweed, Dave Seaman and Lee Burridge were huge back in the days in Romania. After the generation of ravers changed, dj’s like Richie Hawtin, Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos and Marco Carola became super famous. I was lucky to catch this transition from one genre to another. I could say that all of this influenced my music that I produced and play.

2. I think the most important thing that drew me in was the vibe. The first raves that I attend were mind blowing. The music was great, people were happy and friendly. everyone was having a really good time. From then I’ve decided that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

3. First go to the beach and relax a bit. Change clothes and straight to DC10.


1. I started messing around with software around 2001 by making dance edits of popular Jazz tracks from South Africa so that I could play them in my sets and share them with other DJs. I’ve always been heavily influenced by the Jazz and Soul sounds my parents played at home and in the car on long trips as well as early day acid and Kwaito (African hip hop).

2. I love that music is universal and soul stirring. My country, South Africa, has a history of racial segregation and music has played and continues to play a powerful role in uniting our people and bridging divides. I’m also a bit of a loner so the fact that music allows you to escape is one of its biggest draw cards for me.

3. I’ve recently been spending a lot of time in Ibiza and have been lucky enough to get to do and see a side of Ibiza that most tourists never do. I’ve been really blown away by the beauty of the island. I would kick the day off by having breakfast at Passion Cafe. Then take a drive through the countryside, go for an afternoon swim and relax at Cala Xarraca. Lunch at Can Tixedo Art Cafe because they have the best tapas. Then I’d catch the sunset at Es Vedra and wrap up the evening by heading to Black Coffee’s night at Hi Ibiza.

Bas Ibellini

1. I started making music at school when I was 15. I had already been dj’ng for a couple years, so school music projects turned into a real passion and I slowly began expressing myself through sound. I grew up listening to Prince and Michael Jackson as well as hip hop such as Wu Tang and Lauryn Hill.

2. I was surrounded by it growing up from a very early age thanks to my fathers side of the family who are all musical. Music and food.. Non stop. Its pretty much all I know.

3. I’d gather the troops, grab a healthy breakfast and head to the beach. A few hours of sea and sand followed by some fresh fish for lunch would set me up well for the rest of the night. Its not hard to find a decent afterparty to go play some tunes with friends. I’d probably go check out a club Depending on how much fun I’m having.. most likely DC10, Amnesia or Underground. Balancing the chill and party is key to maximising my Ibiza experience.

We are grateful that you have taken the time to answer this questionnaire in view of the great activity you have been carrying out during these summer months.

Vote for your favorite artist until Tuesday, July 24th.