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London DJs on their best moments of the year and best tracks of 2021 – Time Out London

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Horse Meat Disco, Jodie Harsh, Bradley Zero and more share their favourite moments from 2021
Horse Meat Disco, Sicaria Sound, Shy One, Jodie Harsh, Dan Shake and Bradley Zero look back on their first sets after restrictions lifted this year.
A post shared by BZ (@bradley_zero)
First show back ‘Rhythm Section at E1 on the freedom weekend. It was joyous, but not so straightforward. It coincided with a huge rise in numbers [of Covid-19 infections] and people were nervous. People were saying that we should test everyone on the door and then others said if we did that, we’re puppets of the government. But when the first song came on, all that tension just dissolved. It was pure joy, a feeling that I hadn’t felt in quite a long time.’
Track that made it go off ‘“Toca’s Miracle” by Fragma. I played that at Gala because it felt a bit miraculous that everyone was back together and that the event actually happened in such a smooth way. It just went off with 3,000 people singing along: “I need a miracle”.’
Favourite moment back behind the decks ‘Playing at Gala – it was the first big outdoor event, pretty much across the board. And it was in Rhythm Section’s backyard. I’ve lived in Peckham for 12 or 13 years, and the festival was a short walk from my house. I curated the Rhythm Section stage on Sunday and hosted the main stage on Friday. To be able to do that was a special pleasure.’
A post shared by James Hillard (@jameshorsemeat)
First show back ‘Rhythm Section at E1 on the freedom weekend. It was joyous, but not so straightforward. It coincided with a huge rise in numbers [of Covid-19 infections] and people were nervous. People were saying that we should test everyone on the door and then others said if we did that, we’re puppets of the government. But when the first song came on, all that tension just dissolved. It was pure joy, a feeling that I hadn’t felt in quite a long time.’
Track that made it go off ‘“Toca’s Miracle” by Fragma. I played that at Gala because it felt a bit miraculous that everyone was back together and that the event actually happened in such a smooth way. It just went off with 3,000 people singing along: “I need a miracle”.’
Favourite moment back behind the decks ‘Playing at Gala – it was the first big outdoor event, pretty much across the board. And it was in Rhythm Section’s backyard. I’ve lived in Peckham for 12 or 13 years, and the festival was a short walk from my house. I curated the Rhythm Section stage on Sunday and hosted the main stage on Friday. To be able to do that was a special pleasure.’
A post shared by Sicaria Sound (@sicariasound)
First show back ‘A day festival at The Cause, happening on the Sunday of the first weekend post-lockdown. We were very nervous about it all – we’d cancelled all our socially distanced shows so this was the first night that we’d played in 16 months. It felt like we were newbies all over again, feeling anxious about whether anyone would show up or whether the music we’d picked out was even exciting anymore. Luckily we spoke to a lot of our artist friends beforehand and it turned out everyone had very similar thoughts.’
Track that made it go off ‘There’s a track that hasn’t left the USBs since that first night we played and we’ve rinsed it every night following: 3WA’s “Balinha”. It’s the perfect mash-up of heavy bass combined with a repeated Portuguese vocal sample and a very catchy afro-drum pattern. It makes you shake your hips and screw up your face both at the same time.’
Favourite moment back behind the decks ‘Beyond the pandemic, we went through quite a lot these past couple of years, and sadly it was impacting our music. It’s not something we kept totally secret but we initially publicly announced the end of Sicaria after 2021. Fans and friends did their best to provide support and convince us to stay on. A distinct moment we remember is one night when the crowd continuously chanted “Sicaria Sound… please, stay, together,” to the beat of our set. It was definitely a bit of a tear-jerker moment for us and might have been one of the moments that influenced our decision to continue the project. They reminded us why we’d become DJs in the first place and how much it meant to us to be back at live shows.’
A post shared by Jodie Harsh (@jodieharsh)
First show back ‘I did a solo show at Night Tales when restrictions were completely lifted. That was epic – I was so happy to not be dancing to my fucking phone in my living room, going live on Instagram on a Friday night.’
Track that made it go off “Tell Me Something Good” by Ewan McVicar. It came out just as we were emerging from lockdown – he was a pretty unknown DJ and the track had 10,000 streams or something. I basically started playing it everywhere and thought it was such a clever record, and it would really unite people as well. It’s now number 15 in the charts, so it was a cool thing to see someone else’s track grow organically.’
Favourite moment back behind the decks ‘I played Printworks a couple of weekends ago – that was amazing because I’ve never played there before. I’ve seen so many pictures and videos of DJs playing on the stage to that huge room, so to be there with the same view that I’d only seen on Instagram before was like a picture come to life.’ 
A post shared by Dan Shake (@danshake_)
First show back ‘Gala festival was my first London show back – suddenly playing from no one to 5,000 people was unreal. It felt very strange at first and weirdly illegal, but it was an amazing buzz!’
Track that made it go off ‘I ended my set at Gala on “The Weekend” by Michael Gray and everyone was singing along. It was definitely a moment I won’t forget.’
Favourite moment back behind the decks ‘I hosted a party at the Steel Yard recently where I played all night long. There wasn’t one particular moment that stood out, but the whole night had this amazing atmosphere, one of the best parties I’ve played in years. I think perhaps because we sold all the tickets during lockdown that there was this bubbling excitement leading up to the event.’
A post shared by Shy One (@shyclart)
First show back ‘I played at Eglo Records’ night at Corsica Studios in September. I remember being really pleasantly surprised about how easy it was to slip back, and how little anxiety there was once I was around ravers and doing what I love.’
Track that made it go off ‘Larry Heard, “The Sun Can’t Compare”. It’s nothing new, but it’s definitely been a staple in all my sets since we’ve returned. It’s a classic acid house track, with a squelchy twisting bassline and euphoric vocals. It’s infectious, it’s nostalgic, and it’s uplifting.’
Favourite moment back behind the decks ‘We Out Here festival. I remember looking up and somehow having this really intimate moment with a huge crowd, locking eyes with a few faces and seeing that everyone was on the same page.’ 
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