You would be hard pressed to name a more ferocious DJ than The Gaslamp Killer. His wild gestures, chest rattling bass, and risky selections routinely whip mesmerized crowds into a frenzy. GLK is back in Washington DC on April 27th at U Street Music Hall after a tour supporting Run The Jewels. We got to talk with him about his background, his latest album, and terror. Purchase tickets here.
Thank you for taking time out to talk to us! I wanted to start at the beginning with your name, a reference to the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. When you started DJing around San Diego’s clubs, what type of music were you playing that would “kill” the vibe?
I was playing Dilla, MF DOOM, Madlib, Axelrod, Ennio Morricone, Portishead, Massive Attack, DJ Shadow, Mr. Oizo, & other beat shit like that.
In a video with Fuse, you recount going to punk shows at a very early age. I saw your set at Decibel Festival in 2009 and the thing I remember many people talking about was the sheer physicality of your set, its delivery felt much more like a rock show than a typical DJ set. Does your stage presence reflect your years seeing rock and punk shows? Do you think other DJs could learn from the performance aspect of rock?
My stage presence comes from going to punk shows, from frequenting boy battles / dancing in circles & from my time in theatre. All 3 taught me how to get my point across & to use the adrenaline that you get when the pure terror of standing in front of a group of people who are waiting for you to impress them surges through your veins.
Your latest album, Instrumentalepathy, was released at the end of last year. I know the recording process was lengthy and followed a near death accident. First, how are you doing? Second, did producing this album aid in your recovery?
I’m doing great, back to 100% for the most part thank you. I made some of my album in bed when I could hardly walk, so yes I was def recording Instrumentalepathy during my recovery!
You are fresh off of a 33 date North American tour with Run The Jewels. The DC stop at Echostage was rescheduled for inauguration day, which I imagine was a surreal time to be here. How was the tour and what was the mood like for your last DC appearance?
RTJ tour was incredible & humbling. DC was a nightmare that day but it was great to share our fears with fellow Americans from the stage & feel nothing but love in the room. The entire tour was during a really tough time in the USA & all of us share the same feelings as our brothers & sisters, again pure terror all around. But it was really fucking fun touring with those guys. Some of the best people I’ve ever met.
What can people expect from your show at U Street Music Hall this month? Are you testing any new material during this round of shows?
I’ll be playing a ton of unreleased west coast beat shit as usual + some new GLK bits I’m testing out & some stuff from the new album of course. 90 minutes of pure mayhem. Be warned!