Skin On Skin’s set impresses Angelenos

A crowded room with blue and red lights.
Skin On Skin, a South Sudanese producer performed a set in Downtown Los Angeles on Friday, presented by Into The Woods and LDL. (Chloe Thien | Daily Trojan)

Amid Downtown’s graffiti-stained alleyways and scattered abandoned buildings, heart-pumping bass rumbled through the streets, inviting passionate techno enthusiasts into the warehouse to get a taste of rising South Sudanese producer Skin On Skin’s first performance in Los Angeles Friday night, presented by Into The Woods and Lights Down Low.

Inside the venue, viewers were welcomed by multicolored flashing lights, fog enveloping the bobbing heads in the crowd and music flowing from speakers so loud that one could feel each beat in their bones. Despite being shoulder-to-shoulder with barely any room to breathe, the electrifying crowd took in every beat, dancing wildly with drops of sweat glinting on their foreheads and backs fueled only by the music. The crowd slowly turned into a kaleidoscopic sight, creating a psychedelic blend of colorful outfits and rainbow-colored blinking lasers. The opening performers, Keenan and Jimmy Maheras, played their own music, preparing the audience for the main attraction with arrays of techno and club-house beats.

As it got closer to dawn, viewers waited in anticipation for Skin On Skin while enjoying the tunes and drinking cocktails from the makeshift bar. As Keenan’s set came to an end, even louder cheers and excitement diffused through the crowd, welcoming Skin On Skin. The producer dramatically emerged from the darkness donning only a simple black cap and white T-shirt, taking over the DJ booth while seamlessly transitioning from Keenan’s tracks to his own top hits. 

Following his breakout Boiler Room performance in June 2022, the Australia-based South Sudanese producer has been making waves all over the internet, sparking great enthusiasm from techno and house enjoyers worldwide. 

The audience whooped with fervor for Skin On Skin’s show. The producer started off strong with a special performance of an unreleased track, “Eye For An Eye,” that he debuted at his iconic Boiler Room performance. The track is a remix of “Come Outside” by Omizz, Td and Jojo from TPL. The UK-based drill-rap collective’s sounds expertly combined with a strong buildup of synth melody riled the passionate crowd even more with exhilaration and admiration for the producer.

Skin On Skin provided a fresh spin to the Australian electronic scene, even catching the attention of Mall Grab, a producer widely regarded as one of house music’s most adored names internationally — representing Australia on the world stage. Mall Grab collaborated with Skin On Skin to create one of his most popular tracks, “Strangers.” Skin On Skin’s classic percussive beats combined with Mall Grab’s signature muted melodies created a mystifying masterpiece. 

As Skin On Skin continued to play his set, the warehouse got even more crowded with fans looking forward to listening to the artist’s top tracks. The artist played fan favorites, including the aforementioned “Strangers,” as well as other popular tracks like “For Tha Shot,” “Slow It Down” and “Walk Up To Yo House,” to the pleasure of the audience. To provide variety and retain enthusiasm throughout the night, Skin On Skin snuck in a few sneak peeks of unreleased remixes of pop songs and other UK drill songs.

The thunderous kick drums masterfully blended with a synth melody and pitch-shifted vocal samples to reduce music down to its most simplistic and effective fashion — emblematic of Skin On Skin’s signature specialty. Delivering the same structure throughout most of his tracks, the audience only got more excited as he played each song, letting the music transport them into their own world, only listening to the pounding bass and dancing their hearts away. Drill-infused techno tracks may sound strange in theory, but in Skin On Skin’s expert hands, the seamless beats are pure art. 

Throughout the night, Skin On Skin visibly relished in pure excitement from the intoxicating crowd, a smile plastered on his face every time the beat dropped. The buildup of the entire set ended with Skin On Skin performing his most popular track with more than 9 million streams on Spotify, “Burn Dem Bridges,” closing the night with an adrenaline-fueled climax. Using the pitch-shifted vocal sample from Sav’o and Horrid1’s “Violent Siblings,” the final hurrah caused mass pandemonium on the dance floor, warmly welcoming the South Sudanese producer to the City of Angels.