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Get To Know: Doctor Jeep

From: New York City, NY, USA
For fans of: Fixate, Om Unit, Sam Binga
Three tunes: ‘Vault Of Glass’, ‘Dissociate’, ‘Press F’

‘I make a bunch of different kinds of music’ reads the description on Doctor Jeep’s SoundCloud page, and that pretty much hits the nail on the head. Real name: Andre Lira, the New Yorker works within the bassier end of the club music spectrum, but is hard to pin down to a particular sound.

When he started releasing early in the decade, Lira hovered around the 130bpm mark, turning out garage, bass and UK funky cuts inspired by the likes of Hessle Audio and Untold’s Hemlock label. His breakthrough track, however, was a screwface-inducing halftime cut — 2016’s ‘Dissociate’ — which blew up in Canada in particular, and earned him a rep for that sound. Since then he’s dropped percussion-heavy dubstep (‘Katz Dub’), rowdy tech-step (‘Natural Selection’), and ventured back down to his original slower range on the wonky, swinging ‘Vault Of Glass’. “I just get bored really easily,” laughs Lira when we ask why he hops genres so readily, going on to admit it’s something he’s done since high school, back when he was primarily into metal, but also dipped into folk and much more.

Never feeling like he fitted into one scene like the other kids did, it was once he got into bass music that Lira found a community of more like-minded heads. “I just like experimenting and I don’t like doing one thing for too long,” he continues, explaining that after he started to explore a wider range of styles “it got to the stage where if I had three EPs in a row, the third one I’d refuse to let it be the same”. Lira is wary that his refusal to be tied to one sound may negatively impact his bookings, with some promoters perhaps not wanting to take the risk on a mixed-genre set. However, the alternative is being unhappy as an artist — as he discovered when the success of ‘Dissociate’ led him to be somewhat pigeon-holed as a halftime artist, in turn causing him go through a “big identity crisis”. “Eventually I was like, ‘I’m tired of this, I wanna go back to just doing everything’,” he says, “cos it was the most fun for me.”Now he feels he’s reached a much more happy medium. “Right now I’m probably in the most exploratory phase of my career,” he tells us, explaining that the future holds yet more drum & bass rollers, plus an EP with “a random 100bpm track on it that’s like dark reggaeton”.

Later in the night, Lira opens his set at Descent Electronica’s Miami Music Week party with the track — called ‘Press F’ — and it’s even more weird and wonderful than we hoped; a squelchy, mindfuck, yes, but unarguably danceable. He goes on to showcase exactly why not being confined to one sound is a massive strength for him, switching between bass-heavy halftime, stripped-back techno, footwork and system-rattling 140, plus another forthcoming track, ‘Mozambique’ (released this month, alongside ‘Press F’, on his own DRX label). Particular set highlights include blending a slowed-down Sean Paul’s ‘Get Busy’ with a sped-up, gnarly Kasra slammer, and Ludacris’ ‘What’s Your Fantasy’ with Benga & Coki’s dubstep classic ‘Night’. It’s different, inspired and, most of all, fun. And with crowds seeming evermore open to DJs willing to take risks in the club, Doctor Jeep should be reaping the rewards for his explorative attitude very soon. 

WORDS: BEN HINDLE

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