Q&A: Lil Jabba

Lil Jabba is a creator, possessing immense skills and artistry clearly demonstrated in both his visual and audio work. His profession in the latter has been acclaimed since his early releases, where he successfully delved into the realms of juke and footwork, producing tunes that took the genres to a new level. Since then, the producer has gone on to develop a sound distinct to himself, touching on ways in which he can blend his vast sound palette as seen in his recent project released in October via Local Action, Grotto.

For this release, Lil Jabba provides a twelve-track collection of songs that embody the experiences in his actual creative hub – his grotto. Throughout this album, he keeps us on our toes, unaware of what to expect next. It takes his listeners into positively weird places, combining aspects from dub, jungle and Southern hip-hop to produce sounds unrecognisable to any genre, yet well-fitting. Additionally, he presents us with tracks that are mentally stimulating in their dynamic and intense breaks, also offering songs which exhibit ambiguous dimensions. Largely down to his intriguing ability to create such music, we had a brief catch up with the producer to discuss the album.

How would you describe your grotto in one word? “Healthy.”

Does the abstractness of Grotto correlate with how you are as a person?  “Well, I’m certainly all over the shop — my music is definitely an extension of my personality.”

Your album is perfectly described as ‘genre-less’. Did you intentionally aim to create a body of work that would not fall into one specific category? “The music I enjoy listening to varies a lot so I end up drawing influence from everything and anything. I’ve always thought the best way the approach music, especially in this day and age where everything is potentially at our fingertips, is to try and remove any constraints and just make exactly what you want to. I’ll also go through periods where I don’t listen to any music except my own and that kind of musical isolation can be beneficial in understanding what kind of sound you truly want to express. Of course you have to keep that to a minimum, if you isolate yourself for too long it can really mess you up, I think. A lot of the musical process is stressful so you gotta keep yourself open to crossing any boundaries in order to make what makes you happy.” 

Do you think it is important to consider the emotions that may be elicited in your music and how your audience may connect with it? “Yes of course! I try and really set a mood with all my tunes and I want to express my own attitude with my tracks to the listeners. My whole business is playing with energy and emotion, all I aim to do is paint and compose and squeeze an emotional reaction out of you. As I stated earlier, a big part of making music for me is the often painful journey it took to reach the completed record, so the sounds often reflect some kind of melancholic vibe. However once a track is complete, there are few feelings as good as getting goosebumps from something you made yourself — the idea of giving someone else that kind of a jolt is the best feeling.”

As a painter, do you draw on any influences from that side of your art when producing? “Yeah, music and painting is all painting to me.”

What do you want your listeners to learn about you through this record? “I’d like people to see that I am growing, that I put a lot of time and care into my tracks and that my love for expression is genuine. I want to share energy, I don’t want to make anything ordinary and I’ll keep my tunes surprising and exciting, coming from all angles.”

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Grotto is out now and can be downloaded via Bandcamp.

Michelle Ulor

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