The Gaslamp Killer is the assassin and the antidote. His nickname wasn’t conceived out of thin air. William Bensussen is entitlement’s worst nightmare. His DJ sets bludgeon the basic shit, restoring music to a sacred place: shamanistic, visceral, honest, leaving pupils dilated and heads rolling. If you’re searching for sound as pure voltage, the GLK is the generator.
If you’ve caught one of his sets all across the world, you understand. In a cover story, LA Weekly called the Low End Theory co-founder and resident, “the most popular great DJ in L.A…. wowing both bro-step hordes and avant-garde diggers…any song he spins feels remixed to Richter-popping intensity.” Resident Advisor described his shows as “the epitome of unhinged energy. Rock, jazz, bass music and funk are just as likely to be aired as hip-hop, as he wigs out with his now trademark dance moves.”
Maybe you caught the aforementioned dance moves in the Apple commercial that aired during the 2015 Grammy’s. Or maybe you caught him at any number of the biggest international or US festivals. Over the last several years, GLK has amassed a new arsenal of weapons. Once primarily known for his atomic live sets and hypnotic mixes, he’s evolved into a singular auteur. He can produce for himself and others, both on-stage and in the studio.
Watching him conduct a live band recalls the frenetic genius of LA Philharmonic maestro, Gustavo Dudamel. The beautiful chaos is best distilled on his live album: The Gaslamp Killer Experience: Live in Los Angeles. Raised in San Diego, GLK has made the City of Angels his home for the last decade. It’s there where he joined forces with Flying Lotus and the Brainfeeder constellation, acting as an essential linchpin, the wild card electrifying the masses and slaughtering the heathens.
He’s played almost every major festival in the world, but still makes sure to wreck shop every Wednesday at The Airliner (home of Low End Theory). Seamlessly fusing his eclectic tastes, his original music and blends transport listeners on a psychedelic journey. Recorded in late 2012, his BBC Essential Mix binds Radiohead and Dilla, the LA Beat scene and Black Sabbath, Ennio Morricone and Andre 3000. His debut full-length, Breakthrough merges acid rock and dirty beats, celestial Turkish strings and filthy hip-hop drums.
Pitchfork bestowed lead single “Flange Face,” with Best New Track honors, branding it one of the heaviest bangers of the year. The album’s beating heart, “Nissim” remains startlingly emotional and raw. A tribute to GLK’s late brother, it might be the only Turkish folk song song in history collectively beloved by hip-hop diehards and twerking teenagers, grimy beat heads and candy ravers. It’s the rare anthem that goes off in huge festivals and tiny clubs, radio station and Grand Theft Auto V (where it was licensed). The music can’t be extricated from the man. GLK has survived tragedies and near-death sagas, overcome myriad obstacles and psychological odysseys. He’s meditative and spiritual, peaceful but vicious, snarling but thoughtful. He’s the wrong motherfucker to cross, but the right one to follow. Bang your head and bow down.