You may be surprised to discover that the UK’s prince of garage music prefers a Friday night at home above anything else. “I can’t lie, my dream Friday night would be in bed” says London-based DJ and producer, Conducta. “I’d have a nice dinner, be home by 10pm, watch something good on the TV with my girlfriend and get some nice candles out.”
That being said, it’s not often he gets to live out this cosy fantasy. “In practice, I’d be on my way to play a show. I go to the hotel, prepare my set, and get to the show two or three hours early. It’s important to listen to what’s being played before you go on to make sure you don’t play anything that’s already been played.”
When he’s working, Conducta takes his Friday nights very seriously: “I have rituals. I’ll start right at the back [of the room] to hear how everything is hitting, then I’ll go right to the front, then I’ll go to the smoking area and assess the vibe. I like to know what I’m coming into - maximum preparation.”
Before he was Conducta (and scene-appointed royalty at that), he was Collins Nemi. Born in Bristol to Nigerian parents, he moved to London in 2015 to study Politics and History at the SOAS university. It wasn’t long after moving to the capital that he began putting out mixtapes and making a name for himself within the London DJ circuit. Today, he is responsible for the biggest-selling UK garage record in history, AJ Tracey’s (now triple-platinum) hit, Ladbroke Grove.
If this song was a sandwich it’s got the bread, the filling, the butter, everything is perfectly arranged
He’s also the head of his own record label, Kiwi Rekords, which he founded in 2019 as a way of supporting emerging UK garage talent, as well as expanding the scene. When he’s not working, he’s likely en route to the next work-related destination. And now, he’s putting that time on the road to good use. His latest project, ‘In Transit’ is a five track EP created entirely (you guessed it) whilst in transit.
“I used to struggle being on tour and making music. My attention decreased a lot. But I found a new sense of creativity and I managed to make this entire EP all on the go. I wanted to show more than garage, darker sides of me, other sides of music that I enjoy - whether it be garage or grime or breaks or jungle, I wanted to get all of that into this EP.”
The project branches into a more conceptual territory than Conducta is perhaps known for. The sequence of tracks tells a story, and the journey is a darker one than listeners might expect. “It’s been nice to do something conceptual. I’ve tried to sequence it like a story, you can hear the journey and transit between the sounds and the music. I’m excited to show people the body of work, I want them to get into the process and for them to understand how it’s come to this stage.”
His latest single ‘3FALL’, was released on Wednesday, whilst the full project comes out on June 28th. Until then, he’s touring in the US and making a pit stop at Glastonbury, no less. Below, Conducta picks his top five tracks for a Friday night out. You can find the full Friday night playlist here.
“This tune to me is a blend between UK Funky and also a video game, it’s the best tune to have in the first 10 minutes of a set. I feel like the progression of it, the stints, everything about it, is really energetic. It’s super fun, super catchy, it makes you wanna shuffle. If you step into a rave and this is the first tune you hear, you know you’re in the right place.”
“Silva Bumpa is a young producer from Sheffield, I think he’s gonna have a big future with this music. This song makes me feel like I’m in 2006 or 2007, it’s very niche and house-y but it’s got a really nice floaty vocal on top. It has all the elements of a perfect tune. If this song was a sandwich it’s got the bread, the filling, the butter, everything is perfectly arranged.”
“Now we’re cranking up the tempo. Peak energy. It’s up there as one of my favourite jungle tunes ever. The energy of the vocal over the top of the synth. It’s a tune that works in every single environment - I love listening to it on a run, or in the shower, in the middle of the night, at the end of the night, on the way home, in the Uber, this is the ultimate part of a Friday night. A perfect tune.”
“This one’s a classic. This is one of my ending tunes, it helps to add an interlude, to introduce a different vibe to the set. The intro alone with the pianos, it’s amazing. It’s a great sing-a-long, you want to hear it at the end. What a tune to go home on.”
“I’ve chosen my own song (with Coco) because it’s the perfect party starter. I remember when I was making this tune and we just couldn’t stop moving. The chords alone kept us bouncing, it’s just one of those songs where you hear it four or five times and then you know the lyrics. For me, everytime I hear it I can’t help but sing-a-long. It just gets everyone moving and singing. Whether you’re pre-drinking or in the middle of the rave, it’s fun, it’s a great time.”