IN SZN WITH JOSH KILIMANJARO

By Cara Cassidy

Introducing Josh Kilimanjaro, DJ, producer and creator of lifestyle brand IN SZN. His love for Hip-Hop and Afro House has inspired him to bring something fresh to Scotland.

The London born Zambian artist grew up in Dundee before moving to Glasgow. Music has been a staple of his life since he was 12. He and his older brother were both part of electronic pop band Our Future Glory.

“We were very into Bloc Party, their transition from their first record Silent Alarm to their second record A Weekend In The City was quite massive for us.” This inspired the band to evolve their acoustic sound by incorporating samplers, drum machines and synths.

The band played many gigs including T in the Park. Impressively, they were also invited
to play at the International Music Summit in Ibiza in 2016. Not only was this the
highlight of the bands career, it was also the first time Josh got behind the decks.

Josh played his first set at an after party for the event and began his career in one
of the spiritual homes of house. “Our label at the time were basically like can any of you
guys DJ and none of us could, so I spent that first chunk of the year just practicing and building my tune library. Then I came back to Scotland and started picking up gigs.”

Photography by Connor Stewart

Josh got a taste for mixing records and became a regular at The Reading Rooms in
Dundee, “I was definitely underage but that was where I really experienced that side of
electronic music.”

The Reading Rooms brought many amazing artists up to Dundee as well as nurturing local home-grown talent but sadly it closed its doors in 2019. “It’s a shame, I was at the art school up there and I know that a lot of students came up to Dundee because it had that electronic music outlet so it’s a shame to lose such an institution.”

Since leaving Dundee, Josh has truly made his mark on the Scottish scene. DJ’ing in
iconic venues such as Sneaky Pete’s and headlining Fly Club after the Fly Open Air
weekend, Josh has distinguished himself as a talented artist with major potential.

Josh has crafted a unique and distinctive sound that is heavily influenced by his
background, “I like to reign back to my African roots.” His first track Niger Tornado
blends intricate percussion loops with a captivating vocal sample demonstrating his raw talent and technical ability.

“House music obviously came from the struggles of black culture in the States and I love that I’m able to fuse that with my love for my continent and my country Zambia. All the richness of both cultures come together and I’m able to express that through the thing that I love. You can’t really ask for a much more beautiful harmony.”

Photography by James Gourlay

Loving his debut track? You’re in luck. Josh is bringing the same energy to his first EP
which will be released this august. Featuring a collaboration with Dixon Avenue
Basement Jams. It’s worth getting excited about.

“I’m a musical person. I couldn’t just box myself in to just playing Afro house and party
tunes, I needed a Hip-Hop outlet because Hip-Hop is a massive part of me and my life”
and so in August 2019, IN SZN was born.

“Apart from Magic City and Peach, a lot of the Hip- Hop night’s across Scotland you hear the same music, it’s like Single Ladies by Beyoncé which is a banging tune don’t get me wrong but when you hear it every night it’s a bit peak.”

Josh wanted to create something original, he wanted IN SZN to be more than just a club
night. The brand has thrown vibrant parties in Glasgow and Edinburgh and catered a
street food day party with a Jamaican jerk pit barbecue in The Locale. Josh hopes to
expand the brand to international soil with talks of boat parties and festivals in the
future.

On top of this, IN SZN is also soon to be a clothing brand featuring collaboration’s with
other Glasgow designers. “IN SZN is an outlet for my other creative aspects. It’s amazing
cause it means that I can work on my fashion, business, food and my label through that
whilst also still being able to make and play music through Kilimanjaro.”

Photography by Kurandeep Sandhu

In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, the history of insufferable inequalities that
members of black and minority cultures have faced and continue to face is in the
spotlight. Josh was heavily involved in the protest held in Glasgow Green on the 7th June
this year.

“Being able to be the guy who was leading the chants was amazing. It’s something I’ll
never forget. We’re doing this not just for us but for the future generations so that our
kids have got a better world to live in.”

The root of all music stems from black culture, “it belongs to that group of people but it’s been shared, which is what everything should be. It’s not for a group of people just to hold for themselves, it’s to be shared, it’s to be celebrated and enjoyed by everyone.”

However, “a lot of people who enjoy the music, even a lot of people who play the music
don’t know where it stems from and its history and that’s something that the individuals
need to take on and really appreciate and respect if we’re going to see any change.”

For Josh IN SZN is “an extension of me and everything I love about my culture and our
music.” While we must educate and inform ourselves about the past, brands like IN SZN
are paving the way for a new and positive future.

By providing spaces to celebrate black music and culture in a creative and progressive way, they are at the forefront of the biggest civil rights demonstration the world has ever seen.

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