In Conversation: reli.ah
Hailing from London, Birmingham-based DJ reli.ah (Ibby Omibiyi) spins all types of bass, disco, house and electro, but, she’s also known to drop many multi-genre gems into her sets. With her ever expanding music collection, reli.ah aims to keep you dancing and on your toes. Drawing inspiration from various musical movements expect to hear all kinds of house, bass, techno indie and electro in her sets.
How do you define the art of Djing?
I'd say it's essentially mixing two or more tracks together to create a continuous loop of sounds. I would definitely say it's more of a feeling, almost like manipulating all the different genres and BPMs to create a specific environment with the music.
When were you first introduced to the world of music, and when did you decide to pursue a career in DJing?
I've always really been into music since I was a kid, like for my birthdays I was always asking for CDs and Vinyls. There was always music playing in the house and during car journeys, I definitely remember me and my sisters fighting over what we got to listen to during long journeys too. Music has a really special place I'm my heart, and it’s been there for me in some of my lowest lows but also highs. I think without music there would probably be no Ibby, which is apparently quite a Libra thing.
I’d definitely say that I’ve always wanted to be in music but up until recently I didn't know how that would work or if there was something that I could even do in the industry. Then I got my decks and started learning how to mix in early 2019 after finding out my Dad used to DJ, and now here I am. I think it must have been fate, as when I got my decks Selextorhood had just started their workshops, I went to their first one and just fell in love. I’ve been involved with Selextorhood ever since and I think working with them has definitely been the turning point in me deciding to pursue a career in DJing.
Which artists influenced or inspired you most both growing up and to date?
In my teens I listened to a lot of indie electronic, and was really inspired by artists like Metronomy, James Blake and Electric Guest. Both my sister's also love music so I also listened to a lot of neo-soul, UK funky and garage while I was growing up. I think my first CD was I Created Disco by Calvin Harris - I was so obsessed with the sounds he used and the creative direction he took with his videos.
More recently, I've been super inspired by TSHA who I stumbled across when I first started DJing. Her journey has been incredible and all of her productions are just so beautifully made. I also really love Bklava who produces, DJs and is also a vocalist. I’m absolutely in awe of her singing during live sets, and her productions literally blow my mind.
I guess, not only have you been influenced, but as a DJ you have the power to influence too! What words of wisdom do you have for up-and-coming DJs looking to pursue a career in DJing in the near future?
Self doubt is normal but don't let it consume you.
Trust yourself and your love of music.
Make friends and stay curious.
Could you tell us about your debut as a DJ?
Ah it's been a while so I can't really remember, but it must've been a Selextorhood event. I remember being super nervous, which still happens now but back then that meant I'd stick to the playlist I'd prepared, going through it super quickly and now I’ll just go with the flow.
And what was the last gig you played?
Mall Grab @ The Mill. I played with Nikki Tesla (Selextorhood), Trieste (Voyage) and Jay Carder (Voyage), and it was actually on my birthday weekend too so it was a great way to celebrate.
Let’s say you have an upcoming gig tonight. How does the preparation for that look?
On choosing songs for the gig I’ll typically spend hours listening to my music library and adding songs to a playlist for the gig. Depending on the time I’m playing I’ll start at a certain BPM and listen to most songs in that range, then I start looking through my genre playlists and playlists from past gigs.
Then I’d probably go on Soundcloud and Bandcamp and see if there’s any new tunes I’ve discovered that I’d like to play in my set. Last thing I do is listen to an automix of the gig playlist on rekordbox while I’m getting ready. I always try to get to the venue at least 30 minute before my set, realistically it should be longer but I still get quite anxious waiting for my sets so I like to have as much time to myself as possible before I play.
On a more personal note, what has been the highlight in your work so far?
Wilderness Festival. I played with Femmme Fraiche @ House of Sublime and it was just the most surreal experience - the biggest crowd I've played to and definitely a dreamlike. It was like an out of body experience, I remember coming off stage and just being shocked by my own set, so that’s definitely a highlight. I don’t think I could’ve imagined a better festival debut, and I’m so happy it was with Michelle and Femmme Fraiche, it was the best vibes all day with all the performers and DJs and I couldn’t have asked for a better group to play with.
And finally, we have seen you smash it over the summer and we are so excited to see what the future holds for you. What is next for reli.ah?
Firstly, a little break as this year has been a bit wild and I haven't really had time to rest and recalibrate. I've been learning to produce so you can definitely expect to hear a reli.ah production at some point. I'm also really keen to play in London as I was born there, so definitely expect that to happen soon too.