By Bill Rah
Meet Joe Lowree, the Glasgow based selector is from Edinburgh. Lowree’s diverse selection ranges from Funk, Soul, House, Techno, Jungle and Garage. He currently co runs Hijack, a garage infused night with a residency at La Cheetah.
“You can never have too much music.” He is one of the few local young DJ’s that incorporates mixing vinyl in his sets. One of the keys according to Lowree is “Not shooting yourself in the foot if you fuck it up.” Rigorous practicing has helped Joe become more familiar with mixing records just like old retro 80s DJs. He confessed before DJ’ing that he used to sing in a band. Music has always been a staple of his life.
His record collection started when his father passed on tunes like a family heirloom. After moving to Glasgow Joe began exploring Rubadub. He became eager to expand his collection. This hobby evolved into a critical aspect of his life. “Started to buy from everywhere. Got a bit of an obsession now.”
As his collection increased Joe travelled to Canada with his girlfriend to visit her family. “Her dad gave us loads of records from his collection. We had to bring back like 100.” Not a bad problem to have. When they were visiting, they attended a festival together. Joe’s smile lit up as he reminisced. “It’s all mad it’s the place where your dreams can come true. It’s all psychedelic shit.”
Before Joe began his residency at La Cheetah he predominately played in Edinburgh alongside his childhood friends. Hometown a collective is comprised of Macka, Justin Bickler and Allan Petticrew alongside Joe Lowree. They currently hold down a residency in Edinburgh’s top underground club Sneaky Pete’s. Garage doesn’t receive as much love as House yet it’s highly influential for Lowree.
“I just love it because it can be mixed well with House. The impact when playing Garage with House music or even techno, it’s really fun to see people go crazy for.” There is nothing quite like spinning tunes and watching dancers enjoy your selections. That feeling is difficult to describe. For Joe it’s a regular occurrence.
“HIJACK has been going really well. Overwhelming. Starting to build up a team. It’s just amazing the support from everyone.” This underground Garage party gives a platform for artists like Joe to perform a genre which isn’t mainstream electronic music. In Scotland it is rare to hear Garage on dance floors. He already has bookings in mind for post-lockdown “We have a long list of artists we expect to book.”
The main aim of HIJACK is to bridge UK Music and American House. Joe attributed his selections to “Garage and a lot of 90s US House releases. Stuff from New York.” Joe enjoys playing anything from Funk, House and Garage. Anything Garage mixed with House Techno or anything that fits is his forte. After the lockdown eases check out a HIJACK set and expect 90s classics with a contemporary touch.
Lowree co-runs Hijack with his close friend from university Dahl Pacino of Fourth Precint. With a collection of over 400 records Lowree is impacting the Scottish Garage culture with his residency at La Cheetah. Every day Joe wakes up and works on his production and mixing. He has a thirst to get better. His determination, knowledge and sincerity is refreshing in a competitive landscape.
Lowree has previously collaborated with Liam Doc and Macka. However, he has been developing a new sound which he hopes to see evolve. “I’ve been refining my sound to be the house and techno I’m into with the skippy Garage. That is the kind of music I love that whole fusion.” HIJACK brings together Garage, House and multiple other genres which formulate distinct sets that captivate a dance floor.
He shared some of his personal influences that have helped shape his career. He attributed his cousin as a major factor. “She is a massive influence on me. Her knowledge is immense.” He recalled tales from his two trips to Berlin. “My cousins friend Sergio runs a label in Berlin. His sound is so influential. We went to his studio. Berlin is fucking great. I always think about living in Berlin at some point in the future.”
When Joe was in Berlin he dodged a 60 Euro fine by sleeping on the train after attending a May Day party. It got shutdown by the police. He lost his cousin and one of his best friends. Yet it was all worth it. Just like a night at La Cheetah with HIJACK after the lockdown.