DISCOVER: Meet The DJs Experimenting With Sounds of The Underground 

Twenty-twenty four is a year for experimental music. Declared by: 5678 Magazine. We’ve handpicked three DJs you should be keeping an eye on this year, based on their insane talent and taste. So make sure you’ve got your playlist at the ready, because we’re about to be dropping some absolute tunes.


When CHERI began her degree in Classical Studies, she probably didn’t expect to end up behind the decks instead of a piano. Serving looks and bangers, she’s dishing up experimental sounds carrying drums, percussion and what CHERI likes to call ‘high energy chaos’. 

CHERI is, despite her babyface, 27 years old, and broke into the scene during her time at uni after an ex flame got her into djing. She recalls him bringing an old school CDJ into uni, trying it out and thinking ‘wow, this is really fun, but I don’t know if this is for me’. It was years later that CHERI’s DJ friends would help her kickstart her career, realising that she too could get behind the decks.

As a London based DJ, she forms a part of a leading collective of creatives ‘Eastern Margins’, pushing East Asian voices up in the industry. CHERI says she is proud to be a part of a community that strives for representation in music. “Starting out in Manchester was great, but I’d often notice I was the only person of colour in the room, everyone else would be white. Coming from a Malaysian background, there wasn’t really much space for me.” she said. 

Looking to ‘Rewrite the rules’ of djing, CHERI told us: “I like to push the limits of music and sound, I’ll happily go from amapiano, to dubstep and then end on europop. If you like it, you like it. If you don’t, you don’t and that’s on you.”

Throwing it back to her first gig, that pivotal moment when CHERI decided her place was behind the decks, she recalls three people raving to her tunes in a dingy basement of a student bar. Cheri laughed ‘ two of them were my friends’. She added: “That first gig playing for Bumble was crazy. My friend had just put me on the lineup. I thought-I’m getting paid for this and I have no f*cking clue what I’m doing.” 

For CHERI, the biggest moment of her career so far has been sharing a lineup with DJ Plastician at a gig for London collective ‘Keep Hush’. “He’s one of the big Croydon heads, and when they told me who the headliner was, I just thought- this is nuts.” she recalled.

CHERI remembers the moment he turned up to the London pub in the blistering summer of 2021, apologetic of his lateness, before taking his place on stage and setting the pub on fire. She joked: “The crowd went absolutely mental. Then he came backstage and chilled with us like he was some regular dude before rushing off to catch the last train to sports day.” 

For CHERI, 2024 is a year of ‘pushing the limits of mixing, and playing genres that aren’t necessarily cool or in’. Her radio show, ‘The Pick N Mix Show’ does just that. She said: “I want my show to be a safe place for people to play whatever the hell they want. Music is about connecting with the audience and having fun, not getting caught up in the politics of it.” 

Female DJ, CHERI, is pictured posing in front of a colourful background


She’s your go-to ‘jazzy, soulful and everything in between’ DJ, plus, she mixes on a houseboat in Little Venice, West London. Could you think of anything more iconic? 31-year-old London based DJ Kanem experiments with Soul, Jazz, 90s RnB, Dance House and Electronic genres. Basically, her eggs are in a lot of baskets. 

Growing up in Birmingham surrounded by artistry, with a family full of DJs, singers, vocalists, performers, MC uncles, and a mum known for performing at the infamous Ronnie Scotts, it was sort of inevitable she’d end up with musical genes. “I guess RnB was sort of like my first love.” she jokes.

As the self-certified music friend, Kanem prides herself in always having song recommendations for her mates. “Sometimes I’d say to a friend, listen to this track. And they’d be like, oh, okay, I get it.” she told us.

After a move to London in 2014, Kanem began to pursue her dreams of becoming a DJ. The artist said: “ I kind of bought a little controller and started to teach myself and then that was that.”

Starting out picking up small gigs around London, Kanem honed her craft, before securing herself a slot on the ‘Boat Pod’. This podcast is not one to miss. Hosting a diverse range of selectas and DJs, artists are free to explore new sounds through their sets.  

Kanem describes the Little Venice canal boat that hosts the show as a ‘homely’ little space fully kitted out with everything you’d need for a set, including a kettle for a mid-set cuppa. It’s her space to play music that she loves, ‘just because’. 

Although the BoAt Pod may not be in front of a live audience (Kanem often forgets there’s anyone watching at all, getting caught ‘shower singing’ with a fake microphone in hand), te DJ knows how to rile up a crowd. “You’re basically curating a vibe” she explains. 

“It’s like if you’re reading a book, you want the next chapter to be interesting.” 

WATCH: Kanem on the BoAt Pod

She recalls a last minute gig she was thrown into, warming up for DJ Envy. “I had no clue what to play, I just thought, keep it soulful.” she explains “The last song I played before the headliner came on was “thinking about your body” by Louie Vega.

I looked up and everyone was singing, eyes closed, hands in the air. It was that moment when people came closer to you to give you recognition- ‘this is the one’.” Kanem describes the memory as one of those ‘this is why I do it’ moments. 

As for 2024, Kanem let slip that she’s working on producing some tracks of her own. “For me, it would feel like a big deal to finish something that is a bit different to what’s out there. It’s not what people expect from me.” she revealed. 


Izzi grew up listening to icons such as Micheal Jackson, Prince, and Beyonce, so it’s no wonder she ended up with an impeccable taste in tracks. Introducing us to the merging of global club sounds and UK forward thinking dance music, 25-year-old Izzi is the London born DJ you didn’t know you were missing.  

Influenced by emergent genres such as South-Africa originating amapiano, reggaeton, and baile funk, Izzi’s sound ticks every box on our ‘something different’ list. 

Izzi started out her career whilst at uni in Cambridge (a city Izzi admits is lacking in the music scene department) after realising there was a shortage of DJs and deciding to give it a go. Starting out experimenting with electronic music, her love for mixing grew. 

Izzi’s passion is bringing music from smaller or undiscovered artists, to bigger audiences. She says that a track doesn’t have to be famous to go off in a crowd. She jokes “Sometimes I think, if I could send this producer a video of the damage that their track is doing right now.”

She explained that introducing emergent genres isn’t always an easy task. “The DJs that I respect the most are the ones that are exposing me to these new sounds, in a way that’s palatable” she told us. 

“Sometimes the DJ will play a track that switches up the vibe and energy completely, but they’ve led you on a journey that’s put it in context.”

Surrounding herself with other DJs led Izzi to develop her sound. She says that watching her friends perform or playing back-to-back with talented artists inspired her to experiment with undiscovered tunes and curate her vibe.

As a new member of the ‘Daytimers’ collective, an organisation championing the voices of South Asian creatives, Izzi has embraced being a part of a group of nurturing artists. 

“As someone with Indo-Grenadian heritage, I’ve never really found a collective where I’m like, I really like it here.” 

As a female DJ navigating the industry, Izzi says it’s hard to avoid misogyny and hyper criticism. She says that although ‘the Imposter Syndrome never goes away, she’s in a better place than ever. As Izzi puts it, 2024 is for “thinking about creative goals and delving deeper into music I love.” 

As for what’s coming, Izzi revealed that she will be playing at Outlook Origins in Croatia, alongside Glastonbury in the UK. She said: “I’m playing a festival that I’m just REALLY excited to be on the line-up for. There’s a few things in the works, it’s going to be a big year for me in terms of bookings.”

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Written by: Mia Rose
Mia Rose is a Final Year Journalism student at the University of Sheffield. She has experience in feature writing and broadcasting. Mia forms a part of the Website Team at 5678 Magazine.