Delighted to welcome Palms Trax (Dekmantel / Lobster Theremin / Secretsundaze) back to Sneaks after a belter set for homies TEESH a few years back.
For aspiring DJs and producers, or indeed, anyone who appreciates a good story, the genesis of Palms Trax couldn’t have read any dreamier. You know the
one; curious yet naive son of the English Riviera lands a job at one of London’s leading record stores and discovers the masters of Chicago house and Detroit techno. Later stumbling around Berlin, his primitive attempts to emulate the sound of his newfound heroes accidentally land him a bona fide dancefloor hit, inadvertently positioning him as a key figure in an emerging ‘lo-fi’ scene. But it would have been all too easy to have been defined by this quickfire success, forever locked in a loop of gritty kickdrums, smudgy tape hiss and tedious Youtube nostalgia.
Suffice to say, Palms Trax, otherwise known as Jay Donaldson has been smart enough to avoid these potential pitfalls. Instead, he’s still learning, digging, (over)thinking. A gradual but steady stream of EPs courtesy of Dutch dance music powerhouse Dekmantel have allowed his productions to blossom in richer, smoother directions, while still retaining their original offbeat chart. On 2015’s ‘In Gold’ EP, and throughout the following year’s ‘High Point on Low Ground’, halcyon hallmarks of house - euphoric piano lines, bubbling acid and luminescent keys - are shot through with Donaldson’s tough, distinctive percussion.
It’s that same connection with Dekmantel that has encouraged Donaldson to quickly, impressively evolve as a DJ of some distinctive taste and talent. A memorable performance at Dekmantel’s flagship Amsterdam festival in 2015 captured open hearts, lost minds and aching feet, and has since been listened back to no less than 120000 times. Since then, the sound of Palms Trax has been a fixture on their enormous main stage, drifting seamlessly between vintage house, esoteric disco and the various shades of a bubbling UK underground he has helped define. Occasional back-to-back performances with the likes of Hunee, Young Marco, Antal and Midland, all DJs regularly credited for their breadth of musical knowledge and sheer versatility, speak volumes for Donaldson’s DJing nous, which has lead him on an international trail; from South America to Australia, and from Panorama Bar to Concrete, Contact, De School, and Lux.
Donaldson has also-amassed a patient, open-minded following with his cult monthly radio show, the decidedly less-than-culinary ‘Cooking with Palms Trax’, broadcast on Berlin Community Radio since 2015. On each show, Donaldson takes a deep, vinyl-led drive into his adopted history, fostering a level of trust and shared curiosity that has allowed him to helm all-night sets under the ‘Cooking with Palms Trax’ moniker. Into 2018, he’ll be holding down residencies in Boston, Glasgow and Bordeaux, as well as inviting like-minded DJs into his metaphorical kitchen, throughout a series of self-curated evenings into early mornings of music.