Elkka on her debut album - 'Queer and women's pleasure gets sidelined'

Elkka on her debut album - 'Queer and women's pleasure gets sidelined'
Elkka - 'Your Skin' (Official Visualiser)

As Elkka joins the video call in a black Nike jumper and thick-framed glasses with her hair tied back, it becomes apparent in the opening few seconds that she is hard-working, humble and open to talking about anything and everything.

In the middle of remixing a new track, she said she needed a break from it having been working hard and intensely, that our chat came at "a good time to get away from it for a bit".

This hard work, dedication and desire are key themes that become apparent throughout the chat about her life and career to date - that and an attitude Elkka has had since she was a kid to make music no matter what.

And nothing was off the table as she shared her journey into music, creating safer spaces for people who identify as queer like herself to party, her debut album and loads more.

Elkka's debut album Prism of Pleasure is out June 7Alex Lambert

Elkka is a British producer, DJ and vocalist best known for her releases in house, dance and electronic music who grew up in Cardiff but now lives in London.

She wanted to be a singer ever since she was eight-years-old, according to a diary entry from her younger self her mum found, and has written music since she was 10.

Keeping "going and going and going" with music, Elkka then studied a business degree but dropped out as it "never clicked there, I never found my people, my place" and things were starting to come together for a career in music.

A move to London soon followed and Elkka says she "found herself in all the ways" there, discovering dance music, coming out and building her career.

Speaking about coming out as a queer woman, Elkka said: "I was just a repressed kid, I was so uptight - something was holding me back from really being who I was and I knew from a very young age I wasn't straight but I didn't know what the options were.

"20 years ago, I didn't know you could be on a spectrum with your sexuality, I didn't know what bi-sexuality was, I didn't know these things could be fluid.

"That was really troubling and exhausting for me as a kid to fight against - I had boyfriends and felt like at the time I was quite bi-sexual, I lent towards ignoring this part of who I was.

"I knew deep down at some point a woman would walk into my life and change everything and that's what happened.

"I told them I was bi-sexual, that I was queer and then, I got a boyfriend! Dumped him and then started dating women and that was it, this is who I am.

"I felt so liberated - I wish I had found it sooner but thank God I found it. I identify more as queer but really as a lesbian, I'm happy knowing where I am now."

Elkka said she felt "liberated" after coming outAlex Lambert

As well as such a journey with her sexuality, Elkka remembers the "turning point" that inspired her to make dance music after writing and singing.

"I had tickets to see Jamie xx and I was just always overwhelmed by his music, creatively I think he's a genius," Elkka said.

"I had tickets to go see him with my girlfriend, now wife (Alex Lambert, who shoots Elkka's photographs), and it was the real breaking point that I was writing successfully for others and signing on other records but my artistry was dying a death, I wouldn't have a career as an artist if it continued.

"I was crying in this Jamaican restaurant in Brixton with these tickets ready to go to the gig and I just thought 'I can't go and see this person who is a hero to me and feel so far and detached from where I want to be', it was too much.

"So we sold the tickets, we went home and I started producing for myself."

Since that moment, Elkka has been unstoppable.

Releases include EPs of her "figuring it out" on her Femme Culture label and in 2021 she scooped the BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix of the Year crown; Elkka said she feels "deeply emotional" about and that it "means the world" in a year it all started to come together, including the release of EP Euphoric Melodies with Burnt Orange on.

There's also been a legendary DJ-Kicks mix in 2023 and a performance at the iconic Glastonbury Festival the same year.

She says herself she worked "bloody hard to get here" and has had to have a "level of tenacity to keep going at times it wasn't working".

"I thought I was going to be 21, 22 being a popstar and now I'm in my 30s being an artist, singer, DJ and producer, all these things I never expected; when I painted the picture it didn't look like this but I'm so grateful it looks like this now!" Elkka said.

Her latest project is her debut album, Prism of Pleasure, with four tracks including Make Me, Your Skin and Passionfruit already released off it, and it focuses on queer intimacy.

"Doing an album felt very different, with my EPs it's about what I'm making in the moment, it's very impulsive and instinctive but with an album, I wanted to take a minute with what I wanted to say with it," Elkka said.

"I wanted it to be topical of where I've come and who I am - the things that kept coming through that were inspiring to me, the most influential, were the women in my life, finding myself as a queer woman and my sexuality and sensuality.

"I feel like queer pleasure, women's pleasure, gets sidelined and dismissed as it's an uncomfortable thing to some people for women to talk about sex.

"I've never felt more sensual and sexy in my life than being in my 30s and I think that's attributed to being sure of who I am as an artist and a woman - I wanted to celebrate that.

"I'm very proud to be a queer woman and a queer artist and I want that to be at the front of this record because if it wasn't, I'd be hiding something."

Elkka's Prism of Pleasure is more than just an albumAlex Lambert

2024 is shaping up to be a pivotal and important year in Elkka's career, not just for the debut album Prism of Pleasure, but with a whole host of tour dates coming up and even starting a new club night to give queer women a safe space to party.

She said: "There's lots of touring, playing festivals all over the world in the summer, but I'm starting some club nights called Prism of Pleasure in London, Brussels and Paris.

"That's something I'd like to continue to do as there's a lack of space for queer women and I would like to contribute to there being more places for people like me and other people to be able to go and party."

As with her record label Femme Culture, which is also a collective and inclusive space, there's so much more to Prism of Pleasure than it just being Elkka's debut album - it's about celebrating queer women, their experiences of sex, herself within that and creating a safe space for queer women to party.

Elkka's Prism of Pleasureis released on June 7.

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