Kia Is Exactly What Melbourne’s Techno Scene Needs Right Now

In a new wave of electronic artists, Kia's star shines the brightest as she shows Australia's tech bros what's up.

The after hour raves erupting across the abandoned warehouses and dark tree-lined parks of outer Melbourne are where some of the best DJs and producers have, for decades, gathered to liven the nightlife.

Away from the restrictions of four-walled clubs, entry fees and expensive drinks, the city's young congregate, witnessing new collectives rub shoulders with seasoned professionals. Music hums into the early hours of the morning.

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This is where I first saw Kia. 

Born Kia Sydney, the young DJ has quickly risen in the nightclub and festival circuits, and, for the last few years, has been a staple in the underground electronic and rave scene. Most I talk to point to her impeccable music taste, her sets honing an intelligent selection of cohesive and thoughtful tracks branching a wide range of electronic genres - but with a proficiency for techno and drum and bass. I’ve heard friends describe her as “special”, “one of the best in Australia” and “the next big thing”. 

As of 2022, she’s been on every memorable electronic festival line-up: Tabula Rasa, Hopkins Creek, Polyrhythm Festival and Inner Varnika. She’s a regular at Melbourne’s newest hub for electronic music, Miscellania, regularly featuring at Sunday’s party Techworld, also running her own collaborative party, Animalia x Vortex. Honestly, it’s hard to keep up with her itinerary. She’s on the pulse and in high demand.

Since 2019, with the launch of her label, Animalia, Kia’s championing of local Australian DJs and producers has pushed her into a niche that has received international recognition. Nous’klaer Audio, one of Rotterdams most celebrated electronic labels, took the young DJ under their wing pre-2020, guiding her Animalia label into fruition and most recently releasing her original track “Blue Rain” off their Summer Sampler Compilation. 

At Inner Varnika, dull purple lights flooded across the fierce Funktion One speakers and green smoke illuminated the dancefloor, with Kia’s thudding basslines weaving their way through the crowd. Dancers were fixated on the pulsing tracks and Kia herself: swaying with every drop, almost in awe.

Her sets are always refreshing, especially in a world (that even she’d previously described) as one dominated by the ‘tough techno guy’. Kia is the opposite. Small, soft, pretty but with a music selection that bowls over the best chin-stroking techno bro. She comes to rise in an era of diversification in all areas of Australian music - but even more so in the underground electronic scene. 

With whispers of a tour in Europe set for the horizon, Kia will be a new name putting Australian electronic on the map.

Follow Julie Fenwick on Twitter and Instagram.

Read more from VICE Australia.

Tagged:

Australia, electronic, melbourne, Kia, Naarm, Nous’klaer Audio

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