Leeds resident and Subaltern Records‘ latest signee – this week we chat with the man known as Imajika.
SSC: Hi Louis. In your own words, who are ya and what do you do?
I: What’s good, I’m Imajika! I’m from Leeds, in Yorkshire (UK) and I spend most of my time making music (when I’m not working the day job).
SSC: So, how was the journey? What started it all off and how did that lead you to where you are today?
I: I always find this question hard to answer, because I can never pin it down to one specific time. It’s more of an amalgamation of the various environments I grew up in, and certain people I’ve met in my life, all of which contributed in some way to the music I make today.
I grew up in a household that listened to lots of Punk, Reggae, Soul, Jazz, and so much more. In my early teens, I fell into the Metal and Hardcore scene and ended up playing in a couple of bands. I soon realised, however, that the whole band format didn’t really work well for me. I always had a very clear vision of what I wanted to achieve musically and found it difficult to work around others to accomplish that.
Although I didn’t know much about the Leeds Dubstep scene in my formative years, I got introduced to it properly through a friend I was working with at the time. They convinced me to go to the West Indian Centre for Subdub, and it was probably that moment where I first realised what I’d been missing. It blended the appeal of being able to work on your music on your own terms and maintain complete control over the live performance.
SSC: Who are the main influences for you, musically?
I: It changes. I’ve always pulled from a lot of different influences across the musical spectrum. Over the past few years, I’ve been listening to a lot of Hip Hop, and have been figuring out ways to translate that into my bass music production. So, for example, if I have sampled a melody or another element from a Hip Hop tune, I’ll formulate the rest of the song to accompany the original aesthetic. Or, if I have a more Techno orientated lead, I will then build the track in keeping with more of a Techno style, all whilst still maintaining the key characteristics of a Dubstep track.
SSC: What do you consider the highlight of your music career so far, and why?
I: Ah, well this year I got to play my first show outside of the UK in Berlin, for the Subaltern crew (as I’m sure you will remember, considering you were there!) and played a fantastic set. It was an absolute blast. I’m so pleased to explore such a wonderful city, and make some new friends for life.
SSC: Any moments you’d rather forget?
I: There was a time that I was meant to be supporting Goldie at a university union, but I managed to get myself banned from the venue, in a really bizarre turn of events. I won’t go into too much detail about what happened, but let’s just say the night ended up going completely downhill really quickly. It was definitely a surreal experience.
SSC: You’ve just had your first vinyl release out with Subaltern Records – mind telling us a bit about the record and how it came to be?
I: I do indeed. A few years ago (maybe 2017?), after I’d been collecting their records for a while, and loving every single thing they put out, I sent Gab a few tracks via email, and we just got talking. Eventually, I sent him ‘Stagger’, and he pretty much took it straight away. Fast forward a few months, after getting a few more tunes together, he invited me to come over and play at their event, and I got to meet Joban and some of the other label crew. It’s been a great experience working with the guys at Subaltern, and I truly respect them for all the hard work they put in!
SSC: Anyone we should be keeping an eye on right now? Any particular artists/ DJs standing out to you?
I: Right now, I have been listening to lots of Clearlight – his tunes really are something else, and I truly believe he is pushing the boundaries of Bass Music like no other. I’ve also been really rating Ourman, Darkraqqen, Bisweed, DPRTNDRP, Somah, to name a few. They have all been so on it the last few years, and are absolutely nailing their own distinctive sounds.
SSC: Other than bass-focused music, are there any other genres or artists you are particularly fond of currently?
I: I have been listening to a lot of Dub Techno and Ambient music, all thanks to my friend Paddy, who runs an Ambient chillout party called Think Tank in Leeds. They do a lot of incredible, immersive events, with local talent as well as more established artists, all while supporting important causes relating to mental health. It is a big change of pace compared to more typical sound system music, and I hope to be working with these guys at some point in the near future.
SSC: What’s on the horizon for Imajika? Anything else exciting coming up?
I: Well, you can expect a lot more from me in the future – I have a few releases lined up for the rest of the year, and I’m working on a lot of varied tempo music, as well as the introduction of a brand new live set soon, so keep an eye out for that!
SSC: And finally, if you could give one piece of advice for those wishing to follow in your path, what would it be?
I: Be respectful, remember to say please and thank you, don’t drink and drive, and don’t stop chasing what you want to do in life.
Big thanks to Louis for taking the time to speak with us. Keep up with all things Imajika at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/imajikauk/