Deep beats, underground hip-hop, shades of dubstep, drums, electronic rhythms, eclectic samples, and lots of bass are some of the sounds within the Los Angeles beat scene, of which the Gaslamp Killer is part.
An in-demand DJ and producer whose renegade psychedelic vibe swirls through his wild DJ sets and live performances, GLK (whose real name is William Benjamin Bensussen) is, as they say, all about the music.
What does he love most about it? “The freedom of expression and the love I feel in return when I'm on stage, and when I release an album,” says the 33-year old, who is finishing up his new album while working on two new mixtapes, which are “top secret for now, more news coming soon.”
These releases follow 2012’s studio album Breakthrough and 2015’s live album The Gaslamp Killer Experience: Live in Los Angeles, as well as many other productions, remixes, singles and collaborations. Accompanied by a live band, he performed The Gaslamp Killer Experience at last year’s Coachella, and DJing remains close to his heart.
“I promised myself a long time ago that I would never subscribe to industry standards in any way, shape or form,” says the San Diego, CA native, who started DJing in his hometown‘s Gaslamp district before moving to L.A. in 2006. There, he quickly became a founder of Low End Theory, a popular weekly club night (and sound) where he‘s still a resident DJ. “It takes me years to make an album, and as long as people want to see my DJ performances I will keep traveling the world and taking my sweet time recording the songs -- which will last much longer than any gig or any human life, for that matter!”
He advises the rest of us creative types to not rush it, either. “Life isn't as short as people make it out to be, so take your time and work on your craft so that when it's time to share it, it will sound different than anyone else.”
Worthwhile advice from an artist who has been buying records since he was 14; to say he’s dedicated is an understatement. “By 16 years old, I bought turntables and I would practice every day, all day.”
Young GLK would drive to L.A. to hang for the weekend. “The most interesting music that I would hear was instrumental hip-hop and jungle, so that's what brought me in, and that's where I've stayed for the most part,” he says. “At an early age, Cut Chemist and Egon hipped me to the world psych stuff that I'm into. Around [age] 19 I would sneak into clubs to see these guys play. I was devoted to sharing the stage with them and becoming peers eventually. Now I’m 33 and those are some of my closest friends and most important influences to this day.”
So what can Montreal audiences expect from the Gaslamp Killer’s free Nuit Blanche DJ set at the Phi Centre? “I will let the music speak for itself, but I will say that it's been so long since I've been able to play for your magical city -- so you can expect the best I have to offer!”
On Saturday February 27 as part of the 13th edition of the Nuit blanche à Montréal, La Nuit Tribe will feature a multidisciplinary happening combining shows (The Gaslamp Killer, Fred Everything, Le Matos), live visual arts (MissMe), gastronomy and virtual reality. All-in-one party. All in one place.