Updated: May 27, 2020
Times are changing. And so are the SZN’s. We linked up with Josh Kilimanjaro to discuss his mounting schedule and future plans for his emerging brand.
INSZN was established by Josh in the summer of 2019 and was an instant hit. Josh’s already established reputation within the central belt’s underground scene may have helped. But don’t let that fool you. There’s a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes. There’s plans to take INSZN further afield as well as imminent collaborations with fellow creatives. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll cross that bridge in a minute.
Firstly though, when initiating Josh’s feature, I suggested we snap him in a Dundee United kit to tie together the colour of INSZN with Scottish football. He willingly agreed. That was easy. But, during his shoot, he revealed he was actually a fan of The Arabs. At that point, a lot of things made sense! So lets start with that, shall we?
Lets get straight in to it, you’re a follower of the United’s - both Dundee and Manchester. Just how big a football fan are you? Football is a massive part of my life. It’s just something to get passionate about. I’ve been playing football since I was about 5, so it’s just been heavily engrained on me for as long as I can remember. I went to see my first match at Tannadice when I was 7 - I think it was Dundee United versus Motherwell.
And what made you pick Dundee United over their city rivals? Dundee is strange when it comes to football - it’s like a 50/50 split; sometimes even in the same household! But United were the first club I went to see; I liked the colours, the stadium was pretty cool and the people around me at the time all supported them, so I was shepherded in to being a Dundee United fan!
And tell us about how you got in to supporting Manchester United. So I was born in London, and I think I was just trying to be different as people were expecting me to be an Arsenal fan or whatever!
It’s interesting you should say that as London has a massive Manchester United following. Even in the music industry, there’s guys like Stormzy, Headie One, Not3s, Dave, Avelino and Sam Wise who all who make their love of United known, despite hailing from the capital. Why do you think that is? Well, obviously all of the artists that you named there are black. And, for me, when I first started developing a relationship with football, I looked up to the black players that United had at the time. We had Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Paul Ince - there was a lot to aspire to at that time as a young, black kid. But being successful helps as well!
What’s been your favourite moment as a Red Devil so far? Obviously ’99. Although it’s vague. So, in terms of one I can fully remember, it would have to be the Champions League win over Chelsea in 2008 when Terry slipped; that was amazing!
What about your own football career - did you play much as a kid? Yeah so I actually played for Dundee United! Myself and my older brother were scouted through the United training camps - I got scouted first, I just want to get that in - and then he was picked up maybe a few months later. I enjoyed it but I think it’s difficult up here for young Scottish footballers as we don’t have a support network in place - schools, clubs, the SFA - so it’s difficult for young players in Scotland to progress, I think.
When you started getting in to music, did you ever have to choose between the two? It never really got to that stage as I stopped playing with United when I was around 15. I was playing drums from the age of 12 and started up the band with my brother when I was 14, but it never really got to the point of choosing between the two.
Tell us how you got in to music then. Who were you listening to in your teenage years? So because I played drums, and my favourite drummer was Matt Tong from Bloc Party, I was heavily in to rock music from a young age. I still liked the classics; your 2Pac’s, your Jay-Z’s, but it was predominately rock for me. From there, I transitioned in to hip-hop when I was maybe 15-16. Kanye West was a massive influence on me then, and still is now - I liked how he came from being a producer to an artist to, now, working in fashion. He’s just doing his thing. I like his energy of “I want to do this, I don’t want to be pigeonholed in to one area’. As a creative, he’s someone I look up to.
So its fair to say you grew up with a fair bit of diversity in music. That’s one thing you continue to do now given you’re relationship with FLY Club. Tell us more about that. Yeah! So my friend, Tom Ketley, runs FLY Club who I’ve known for about 10 years. He gave me an opportunity to play at FLY from quite early on in the process. When I play for them, it’s more house music. Afro-house; good energy, good fun. I like to dance so I want to make people dance too.
Focusing now on the last 6 months, you recently created a new lifestyle brand and motive: INSZN. With other events and brands in Glasgow like Peach and Magic City already, what was your inspiration for creating your own thing as opposed to DJ’ing as Josh Kiliminjaro with those guys? I was deliberating starting up my own thing for a little while but, I was sure I didn’t want to ‘a night’ - that’s being done; and people are doing it well. I didn’t want to step out there and be like ‘I’m creating Glasgow’s next biggest night!’ - that’s not my energy at all. I wanted to create a brand that is an extension of my personality; what I love about hip-hop, what I love about the culture: music, fashion, parties, entertainment. We threw the first party last August in The Dam - where we are now! - which was very nerve-wracking, despite running other people’s parties for years and years!