GET TO KNOW: LIJAH
I know from experience that good things come to those who work for it.
Lijah, formally known as Gasman, has been making a name for himself online and on sets, providing that hard-hitting, distinctive production sure to make your face screw. We found out more about the man behind the music.
Jack Alhassan, has been producing for an impressively short period of time: “Well I started producing first, on and off on some free online DAW called Soundation, which is awful but I guess it gave me the basics. Then when I got a Mac in 2015 I instantly downloaded Logic and started on some weird American trap/dance vibe, only because I don’t think I knew what I wanted to make, I just loved messing about and making cool sounds.
“I fully started to engage in UK bass and underground music in general in 2015 and have been making up for lost time ever since. DJing just came with it at first, but now I see it as a totally different art and love getting behind the decks any chance I get. I’m sure people who know me can vouch for me there.”
After previously establishing himself as Gasman, the Cambridge-born DJ decided to switch up his name: “Firstly, I wanted to create a clean slate almost, I felt like I achieved a higher level in my production so I wanted to give it a boost essentially. And secondly, I noticed Gasman DNB on a huge line up and didn’t want to have any complications in the future with the name. We spoke about it and he didn’t mind, but I preferred Lijah anyways.”
The move from Cambridge to Bristol was vital for Jack to progress as a DJ/producer: “Cambridge nightlife is very commercial with the odd event here and there, but no where near as consistent as Bristol. The number of events here is insane and there is something for everyone. Just the unpredictability of who you’re going to bump in to on a night out is mental to be honest, when I moved here I met a lot of people with so much more experience than me and I just wanted to soak it all up.
“I’ve committed so much more time and effort to my production and my mixing, everything else falls into place, or at least that’s what I’ve noticed. Hard work works I guess. Living on my own, having a lot more free time and being surrounded by like minded people allows me to put the work in. Now I can’t stop. I moved here six months ago knowing three people and having 200 Soundcloud followers; now I’m about to play almost my 15th and 16th live sets ever this weekend, I’m close to 1K on Soundcloud, almost got in the Lengoland War Dubs (which would’ve been carnage), and have been supported by heads here in the scene like The Buckfast Boys, Monners, Mindstate and others. I’m liking where Bristol is taking me.”
I try to set the bar high every day so at least if I get close and fail I’ve achieved a lot more than anyone would’ve thought I could.
The trippy artwork for a lot of his music portrays Jack’s wobbly, scatty bassline vibe. He told me who was behind it: “My friend Elena who I met here in Bristol. We met pretty quickly as she lives in the same flat as my friend from Cambridge who also came to Bristol. I saw her drawings and I have wanted her to do my artwork ever since.”
Jack told me how he supported garage legend Artful Dodger at his first ever live set: “December 2015 was my first one, supporting Artful Dodger at Ballare in Cambridge for a Sixth Form event. I wasn’t very good to be honest, if I could go back and watch that set I would cringe the whole way through it. I’ve only started doing sets that I really want to do since I’ve moved to Bristol six months ago.”
The bassline scene here in the UK offers a diverse choice of sounds, Jack told me how the difference music between artists is good to see: “There’s a lot of different stuff out there now compared to years ago, lots of people who aren’t conforming to the previous standards of the genre are coming through and I like that.”
Although his production is bassline orientated, his musical influences span a diverse spectrum: “I listened to a lot of hip-hop as a kid, so I have always loved artists like Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, and Akon to name a few, but I was surrounded by a lot of different sounds and genres like reggae too so there isn’t one source. I look towards a lot of genres now; afrobeats, grime, dub, drum and bass, and trust that what I believe is quality.”
Jack’s recent release on U Wot Blud? Records ‘Ran Out The Rave’ was a collaboration with Berkshire based DJ, SpaceGat, he told me about the link up: “We met through Soundcloud. Honestly I have a lot of respect for the guy and I know he’s going to succeed in this scene because every track he makes is just insane. Our EP is almost finished and we’re gassed to show people.”
The 19 year-old shows his motivated and determined attitude as an artist whilst describing his aspirations for his music: “To be able to live off of my music in any shape or form, and also to not be boxed in as a one trick pony who can only spin/produce one genre. I’ve been working on a lot of garage/grime/140 recently and I enjoy mixing and bringing it into my sets.
“I have other goals that are short term and long term, like getting a release on Project Allout Records to playing at Boomtown. I try to set the bar high every day so at least if I get close and fail I’ve achieved a lot more than anyone would’ve thought I could.”
Jack’s goals for the year are nothing but hard graft: “I think the goal this year is to establish my presence as a DJ and a producer, and show that I can kill a set any time of the night no matter what circumstances. I said at the start of the year I was going to make a track a week, and to be honest I’m pretty close to staying on track. I know its quality over quantity but, I put in on average, five hours a day into my music in any shape or form. Some days less, some days double, but I know from experience that good things come to those who work for it.”
Alongside his EP with SpaceGat, Jack is soon enough coming out with more and more content: “A solo EP that’ll be coming out around June/July hopefully, as well as keeping consistent with my content on Soundcloud. Releases on TMBR and On The Wax coming up soon, as well as guest mixes and other free downloads.”
Jack added some shout outs: "SpaceGat of course go check his Soundcloud out, plenty of bangers on there. Albzzy too for the support on UWB? and every other label that’s released a Lijah tune. I could go on but going to end with thanking everyone who’s ever liked, reposted, shared, mixed, talked about, reloaded or skanked too a Lijah track because there is much much more on the way and you’re going to be glad you were here from the start.”
March 28th 2018