Happy Release Day Sonikku

 “I love songs that make you want to cry and dance at the same time,” says Tony Donson, the London-based musician who records as SONIKKU. That sense of unfettered release and liberation drives his new album, Joyful Death. A fluent, fertile and full-colour hybrid of vibrant Italo-house, liquid synth-pop, righteous disco and French philosophical asides, it’s an album that signals the emergence proper of SONIKKU – a fully formed dancefloor artist. It’s also a farewell of sorts, perhaps, but with an emphatic rebirth at its heart. “This album feels like a transformation in the sense that I’m creating the music I’ve always wanted to make. A fully realised, coherent pop record that showcases my craft as a song-writer and producer.”


Total control of his craft is swiftly asserted on ‘Let the Light In’, where the influences of lost-in-music disco and the Pet Shop Boys merge under vocals from immersive, exploratory British singer-songwriter Douglas Dare. The pace accelerates as ‘WKND’ gets into a groove pitched somewhere between Madonna, Daft Punk and Indeep, with LA future-pop singer LIZ primed for dancefloor abandon on vocals. Meanwhile, SONIKKU’s independent intent is firmly asserted on the freestyle-inspired ‘Don’t Wanna Dance with You’, where singer Aisha Zoe coolly brushes off unwanted advances in favour of dancefloor pleasures.

LIZ assumes vocal duties again for ‘Sweat’, a song fully equipped to make dancefloor devotees do as its title suggests. Dreamily melodic evidence of SONIKKU’s dynamism (and love of melancholy Swedish electro-pop queen Robyn) beckons on ‘X Hopeless Romantic’, where Little Boots contributes a sweetly loved-up vocal over a sublimely infectious chorus.

Pummelling synths signal a dramatic shift of pace on the almost electro-darkwave dash of ‘Remember to Forget Me’, where actor/singer Chester Lockhart presides over a summit meeting between Depeche Mode and New Order. Performance artist Tyler Matthew Oyer takes the vocals for the Italo-disco-inspired title-track, a vividly imagined album manifesto – of sorts – inspired to varying degrees by an 1892 poem, French thinker Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the “body without organs” and a 1997 anime called The End of Evangelion. Finally, that grand piano takes over as Dare returns, presiding over an achingly stripped-back version of ‘Remember to Forget Me’.

With help from friends and artists he admires on vocals, Joyful Death is a hugely confident and self-contained leap forward for SONIKKU after his time as a feted DJ. Having moved from Derby to London at the age of 18, Donson worked as an intern (at MTV, Dazed & Confused, SHOWstudio and elsewhere) then turned to DJing (from London to Tokyo, Paris and Berlin) after he was signed to London label Lobster Theremin. Though he continues to DJ regularly at Tottenham’s LGBTQ rave-up Adonis, he has extra ambitions in mind: “I love DJing but I’m more looking forward to developing a live show.”

Passionate in his commitment to the full audio-visual picture, SONIKKU’s own aesthetic for Joyful Death suggests ideas for the live arena will be plentiful: “Visually, my concept is a mutated futuristic take on ’80s aesthetics. I came onto this idea when I saw an image of the Alien from Alien spoofing an iconic Grace Jones pose. This theme is seen in my album art – I’m presented as a latex body-builder with anatomically incorrect muscles. It will continue in the video for ‘Sweat’, which will show LIZ mutating into a pulsating blob of sweat while performing the song in a dystopian, Blade Runner-esque bathhouse.”

Between these vivid images and SONIKKU’s distinctive musical variants on his influences, an ardent spirit of self-determining intent drives his self-makeover. As he explains, “I’ve never had any musical training. I don’t even know how to read music but I started producing on my laptop when I was 14, re-creating Madonna instrumentals. I want to be able to show kids that may not come from a rich background or be able to afford music lessons that you can still pursue music.” For further proof, whether you want to cry or dance, Joyful Death has all you need to hear.

SONIKKU’s “Joyful Death” LP is due for release 17 April via Bella Union.

SONIKKU announces ‘Joyful Death’

SONIKKU announces the release of their new LP “Joyful Death,” due for release 17 April via Bella Union. Today the artist reveals the video for the album’s first single ‘Remember to Forget Me’, a tears-on-the-dance-floor spectacle co-written with friend and fellow artist Douglas Dare, and featuring vocals from the K-pop-leaning LA-based artist Chester Lockhart.

“‘Remember to Forget Me’ is the most personal song on the record,” the artist explains. “Douglas helped me write it by treating the writing session like a therapy session. I then showed the song to Chester and we recorded it in LA with the help of HANA who engineered the session. The song goes out to the people who get slightly crazy when they’re in love. The chorus is an oxymoron reminding someone they should forget you – which in itself is completely narcissistic and something only someone on the brink of heartbreak would say.”

The accompanying video, featuring London-based queer dance collective Pierre & Baby, explores issues within the queer community, the hyper-sexualisation of the male physique, addiction, the effects technology has on our mental well-being and the power play of dependency and intimacy in relationships. Their work has featured at the V&A, Wellcome Collection, The Place, The Yard, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, GROW Tottenham, Ugly Duck and The Chateau.

“I love songs that make you want to cry and dance at the same time,” says Tony Donson, the London-based musician who records as SONIKKU. That sense of unfettered release and liberation drives his new album, Joyful Death. A fluent, fertile and full-colour hybrid of vibrant Italo-house, liquid synth-pop, righteous disco and French philosophical asides, it’s an album that signals the emergence proper of SONIKKU – a fully formed dancefloor artist. It’s also a farewell of sorts, perhaps, but with an emphatic rebirth at its heart. “This album feels like a transformation in the sense that I’m creating the music I’ve always wanted to make. A fully realised, coherent pop record that showcases my craft as a song-writer and producer.”


Total control of his craft is swiftly asserted on ‘Let the Light In’, where the influences of lost-in-music disco and the Pet Shop Boys merge under vocals from immersive, exploratory British singer-songwriter Douglas Dare. The pace accelerates as ‘WKND’ gets into a groove pitched somewhere between Madonna, Daft Punk and Indeep, with LA future-pop singer LIZ primed for dancefloor abandon on vocals. Meanwhile, SONIKKU’s independent intent is firmly asserted on the freestyle-inspired ‘Don’t Wanna Dance with You’, where singer Aisha Zoe coolly brushes off unwanted advances in favour of dancefloor pleasures.

LIZ assumes vocal duties again for ‘Sweat’, a song fully equipped to make dancefloor devotees do as its title suggests. Dreamily melodic evidence of SONIKKU’s dynamism (and love of melancholy Swedish electro-pop queen Robyn) beckons on ‘X Hopeless Romantic’, where Little Boots contributes a sweetly loved-up vocal over a sublimely infectious chorus.

Pummelling synths signal a dramatic shift of pace on the almost electro-darkwave dash of ‘Remember to Forget Me’, where actor/singer Chester Lockhart presides over a summit meeting between Depeche Mode and New Order. Performance artist Tyler Matthew Oyer takes the vocals for the Italo-disco-inspired title-track, a vividly imagined album manifesto – of sorts – inspired to varying degrees by an 1892 poem, French thinker Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the “body without organs” and a 1997 anime called The End of Evangelion. Finally, that grand piano takes over as Dare returns, presiding over an achingly stripped-back version of ‘Remember to Forget Me’.

With help from friends and artists he admires on vocals, Joyful Death is a hugely confident and self-contained leap forward for SONIKKU after his time as a feted DJ. Having moved from Derby to London at the age of 18, Donson worked as an intern (at MTV, Dazed & Confused, SHOWstudio and elsewhere) then turned to DJing (from London to Tokyo, Paris and Berlin) after he was signed to London label Lobster Theremin. Though he continues to DJ regularly at Tottenham’s LGBTQ rave-up Adonis, he has extra ambitions in mind: “I love DJing but I’m more looking forward to developing a live show.”

Passionate in his commitment to the full audio-visual picture, SONIKKU’s own aesthetic for Joyful Death suggests ideas for the live arena will be plentiful: “Visually, my concept is a mutated futuristic take on ’80s aesthetics. I came onto this idea when I saw an image of the Alien from Alien spoofing an iconic Grace Jones pose. This theme is seen in my album art – I’m presented as a latex body-builder with anatomically incorrect muscles. It will continue in the video for ‘Sweat’, which will show LIZ mutating into a pulsating blob of sweat while performing the song in a dystopian, Blade Runner-esque bathhouse.”

Between these vivid images and SONIKKU’s distinctive musical variants on his influences, an ardent spirit of self-determining intent drives his self-makeover. As he explains, “I’ve never had any musical training. I don’t even know how to read music but I started producing on my laptop when I was 14, re-creating Madonna instrumentals. I want to be able to show kids that may not come from a rich background or be able to afford music lessons that you can still pursue music.” For further proof, whether you want to cry or dance, Joyful Death has all you need to hear.

SONIKKU’s ‘Joyful Death’ LP is due for release 17 April via Bella Union.

SONIKKU’s ‘Sweat’ remixed by SOPHIE

SONIKKU today reveals SOPHIE’s remix of their latest single ‘Sweat’ featuring underground popstar LIZ. The remix is taken from a forthcoming EP of ‘Sweat’ remixes, which also includes a BALTRA re-work, and is due for release 13 December via Bella Union.

SOPHIE distorts SONIKKU’s latest single ‘Sweat’ into an alien euro-dance affair inspired by sweaty escapades at the infamous Berlin club, Berghain. “When SOPHIE and I met, we played each other our favourite disco music, and I think we view pop music in a very similar way,” SONIKKU, aka London-based producer Tony Donson, explains. “A mutual friend played ‘Sweat’ to her, and she connected with it instantly. To collaborate with an artist whose music I admire feels unreal, I could listen to ‘Nothing More To Say’ (by SOPHIE) on repeat endlessly. I feel the same hypersonic energy of that track was brought to the ‘Sweat’ remix.”

Having moved from Derby to London at the age of 18, Donson worked as an intern (at MTV, Dazed & Confused, SHOWstudio) then turned to DJing (from London to Tokyo, Paris and Berlin) after he was signed to London label Lobster Theremin. Though he continues to DJ regularly at Tottenham’s LGBTQ rave-up Adonis, he has extra ambitions in mind: “I love DJing but I’m more looking forward to developing a live show.”

A recent signee to Cocteau-Twins-founded label Bella Union, SONIKKU is set to release several more singles (featuring guest vocals from Chester Lockhart, Little Boots, Douglas Dare and more) alongside a full-length LP slated for spring 2020.

SOPHIE is an English electronic producer, songwriter, and DJ based in Los Angeles. Traversing disparate musical spheres from underground dance music to major label pop by, taking the helm for the likes of Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and Charli XCX, SOPHIE’s singular sound shirks convention and pushes familiar musical styles to their furthest extremes. At once uncannily familiar and boldly experimental, and across solo releases and production work for other artists, her music has developed a devoted following and made her in demand in recording studios and on dance floors alike.

SOPHIE’s remix of ‘Sweat’ featuring LIZ is available now via Bella Union. “Sweat Remixes” EP is due for release 13 December via Bella Union.

Introducing… SONIKKU

‘Sweat’ is the new single from London-based DJ and producer SONIKKU. Featuring underground popstar LIZ and co-written by Little Boots, ‘Sweat’ is a Minogue-inspired banger drenched in 80’s synths and pulsating bass-lines. Set in a dystopian bathhouse, the accompanying music video see’s SONIKKU and LIZ mutate and transform into abstract liquid shapes as the bathhouse slowly consumes them.

“After producing the instrumental for ‘Sweat,’ I knew I had to enlist the help of Victoria (aka Little Boots) to help me pen the lyrics,” says Tony Donson, the London-based musician who records as SONIKKU. “With our shared love of Kylie and unapologetic pop, we wrote it after just one session. Then LIZ fell in love with the track after I played it her whilst I was on a writing trip in LA. Her Britney-esque ’tongue-in-cheek’ vocals on this track were a match made in heaven for me.

Having moved from Derby to London at the age of 18, Donson worked as an intern (at MTV, Dazed & Confused, SHOWstudio) then turned to DJing (from London to Tokyo, Paris and Berlin) after he was signed to London label Lobster Theremin. Though he continues to DJ regularly at Tottenham’s LGBTQ rave-up Adonis, he has extra ambitions in mind: “I love DJing but I’m more looking forward to developing a live show.”

A recent signee to Cocteau-Twins-founded label Bella Union, SONIKKU is set to release several more singles (featuring guest vocals from Chester Lockhart, Little Boots, Douglas Dare and more) alongside a full length LP slated for spring 2020.