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 naïve 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 dance floor hit. A gradual but steady stream of EPs courtesy of Dutch dance music powerhouse Dekmantel have allowed his productions to blossom in richer, smoother directions. 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 evolve as a DJ. A memorable performance at Dekmantel’s flagship Amsterdam festival in 2015 captured open hearts, lost minds and aching feet. 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, and Midland, all DJs regularly credited for their breadth of musical knowledge and 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, and De School.