Lockhart is a regular on lineups at underground clubs across London, bringing her dark and gritty take on techno to club nights like Jaded, Motz and Opulence. Raised between Beckton and Essex, her introduction into dance music came by way of a club night in the latter – ‘The Kool Kids Klub’ at The Sunrooms – where she also cut her teeth DJing a wide array of genres that the club had introduced her to. As her tastes got deeper and more club-driven, radio became a testing-ground for her musical development, honing her sound through a regular slot on Radar. Now based in London, Lockhart is a local favourite and will be bringing her “heavy but fun” selection to NAFF this Friday the 24th alongside Umfang, Cera Khin, Nkisi. and Ifeoluwa.
We caught up with her to find out what young Lockhart was listening to, her first club experiences and some of her favourite tracks that she’ll be dropping in her sets in the coming months.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from and what were some of your earlier experiences with music?
I’m originally from Beckton in East, East London but I moved to Essex when I was about 8 so I’ve had a bit of a mixed upbringing (which you can unfortunately hear in my accent!). I got my love of music from my dad – he’s a huge music hoarder, big alt-rock fan and some of my earliest memories involve sitting in front of his minidisc player (lol) and pouring through the albums he’d so naively spent hours burning. Like everyone, I’ve gone through a fair few stages with my music taste; from S Club & Britney through to Linkin Park and Sum41, Avril Lavigne to 50 Cent and Akon, then I became a massive indie kid towards the end of school and college. But then I went to my first club night in Southend when I was 18 and since then it’s been mostly electronic music.
When did you start getting into dance music and what were your earlier clubbing experiences like?
The first night out that I ever went to (like at an actual club with DJs rather than the pub down Canvey Seafront that played Guetta collabs on loop and served test-tube shots to minors) was a night called The Kool Kids Klub at a grotty little venue called The Sunrooms. Braiden and TWWTH were playing – hadn’t heard of either of them at the time – but I’d heard some people at college talking about it and I’d very recently experienced the magic of taking your first pill so I wanted to check it out. That night was a blur but from then on that club became a home. The crowd, the owner of the venue, the promoters – it was like a little community of people that were into stuff outside of the stereotypical Essex format. They booked some really cool people for the time – Mosca, Pangaea, Blawan, SOPHIE – people you would expect on a London lineup and would usually have to travel to see. Everyone else in Southend was peddling paint-by-numbers tech-house so it felt like we were thriving in our own little bubble.
When did you actually get behind the decks and what did the earlier Lockhart sets sound like?
I started learning how to DJ when an ex bought me my first set up – a Numark N4 controller. There wasn’t really that much that was good to do in Southend on weekends apart from Kool Kids so we just used to have friends over to our tiny flat and I would mix for the entirety of the night. I was already collecting a fair bit of music by this point just from being a fangirl, and the diversity of the music that was played at Sunrooms pushed into what I was listening to so I was always trying to play with different genres. My first ever set was at Kool Kids at about 19 – I practised so hard but I had no concept of warming up at this point so I went straight in with a 140 Sino Grime set that literally 4 people were there for and was subsequently told to calm it down for the next one. My sound changed a LOT back then – there was that whole grime resurgence, I was playing a lot of dub-techno and house, I started getting into Vogue and Jersey Club. Earlier sets were a non-cohesive blend of tracks from all walks that I just liked and tried to slot together because it felt like no-one else in Southend was really doing that. As time wore on I got more and more into the clubbier side of things – I used to do a radio show out of my friend’s shed every month and artists like Akito and Rushmore were firm favourites in my repertoire. When I moved back to London and started becoming friends with all the people I’d been playing for the last year it was really nice and reaffirming for me and the path I was going down at that time.
And how would you describe your sound now?
Heavy but fun. Haunting and euphoric. That’s all I want from it really – to stick. But it depends on my mood and what the context is. I’ll always try and be a little weirder for mixes and radio and more fun and uplifting for sets. People that followed me when I was on Radar used to get to see a much different side to Lockhart than what I’m putting out there when I play in a club. It’s still there but I’ve been veeeeery lax on putting anything out over the last year and a half – something that’s going to change drastically this year.
What would we be surprised to hear you listening to outside of the club?
Paramore. I fucking love Paramore, I can’t stop listening to them at the moment, I don’t know why. Lana Del Rey as well – she’s basic as hell but I don’t care. I will happily sit and have a cry to Old Money. Miley Cyrus – absolute trash but there were some belters on Bangerz, we can’t deny it. Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn – anthem. I’m not even going to try to be cool about it and name some obscure bands or artists, I’m quite a moist person and I love what I love. I could reel off so many but I won’t.
You’re an extended family member of the Jaded crew and have also played quite a bit with Motz. Both are known for their more raw and heavy take on techno. What is it about hard and dark sounds that resonates with you so much?
To be honest, it’s really hard to pinpoint – it’s a really base attraction. For me (and a lot of people I guess) the intensity is really cathartic. There is a palpable thickness to a room full of bodies moving to the same speed – something unspoken. It’s a rush, it’s a release. It’s a turn on.
This will be your first time playing at NAFF and on quite an inspiring lineup. What can we expect from your upcoming set?
I don’t want to give anything away. All I’m going to say is if you’re a true Lockhart stan, there’ll be a bit of the old me, a bit of the new me and a lot of Kylie.
For those who follow you on Instagram and are also a fan of your cat Pumpkin – does Pumpkin like techno?
She loves it, she honestly loves it. She loves clambering ALL over my equipment – both when I’m mixing and not. I’ve had to put a little blanket over my decks in a futile attempt to protect them from her incessant moulting – I’m convinced something will short, I’ll take them to a repair shop and the circuitry will be saturated with cat hair. She’s lovingly taken to climbing onto my right monitor which is annoying at the best of times but I was recording a mix the other day – can I just say for the FIRST TIME IN A FUCKING YEAR – and she jumps off the speaker, onto my Macbook where audacity is recording and fucks the whole thing up. No but aside from being the most jarring animal in all the land, she actually does seem to weirdly enjoy it. I’ll have friends over for a mix and she’ll perch herself in direct line of the speaker, visibly smiling, just vibing. Taught her well.
Lockhart’s Top Five Tracks of the New Year
Ben Techy – Skull Damage
I literally listened to this today and have pegged it as my new fav set opener. So sinister.
Varg – Parasites (Honest Music for Dishonest People) ft. G19 (VTSS Remix)
I actually love her. VTSS is our queen.
Ghost in the Machine – Raw Deal (Perc Trax)
Do I even need to say anything about this? As soon as this drops I’m copping.
Rikhter – Dissolution
Rikhter is one of my new favourite producers, the last EP from them was INcredible. The breakdown at 2 mins on this particular track gets me.
Rephate – Killa Me
This is so euphoric and SO intense. Rephate is one of those producers – you see their name and you know it’s going to be a good track.