The Lithuanian jazz drummer and producer opens up about his unique electronic and world music influenced sound.
Today, the Spotlight shines On Lithuanian drummer and producer Marijus Aleksa.
Marijus has worked as a band leader, session musician and solo artist, and in each setting, his sound is his own, reflecting his interests in jazz, world and electronic club music.
Marijus spent a decade in London, embedded in the dynamic new jazz scene there. Now back in Lithuania, he recently programmed a small local jazz festival in Vilnius, Tamsta Jazz Weekend. At the same time, he was rolling out his latest release, As They Are. In our talk, Marijus takes us into the musical collage that is the new album and provides insight into multiple aspects of his creativity.
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Drummer and Producer
Marijus Aleksa is a Lithuanian cross-genre drummer and producer fusing his jazz background with world and electronic music to shape his own hybrid sound.
Throughout his remarkable international career, Lithuanian drummer & producer Marijus Aleksa has established himself as a bonafide shaman of rhythm. From making his debut at the Vilnius Jazz Festival at the tender age of thirteen, he has grown into a stage partner of some of the world’s most celebrated stars (such as Grammy award winner Bill Laurance, Joe Armon Jones, Ashley Henry, Dennis Rollins, China Moses, Ben Marc, Anthony Joseph, Femi Temowo, Oscar Jerome) . An ambitious drummer and percussionist, he relies on his technical prowess and visionary endeavours. Through his work as a heralded band leader, session musician and solo artist, his music is not unlike the works by the abstract expressionist painters: rich in colour, vivid, intuitive and hypnotising, traversing musical maps by blending the worlds of jazz, world and electronic club music.
Marijus enriched his sonic experience by collaborating with other artists as a touring and recording drummer during a decade spent in London. Each artist he played with left an imprint on his own musical explorations. While living in London, Marijus became a significant part of the vibrant British jazz scene. In 2019 Aleksa was selected to represent the young jazz generation of British musicians as part of the NBLQ (New Band Leaders Quartet) at Blue Note At Sea, together with Nubya Garcia, Ashley Henry and David Mrakpor. He also drummed for Gilles Peterson’s All Star band for Gilles Peterson Presents: MV4 (Live from Maida Vale) recording in 2018. He recently collaborated with fellow countryman Manfredas under their ‘Santaka’ moniker, winning support from tastemakers such as Benji B, The Quietus & more.
Marijus is also programming Tamsta Jazz Weekend - a mini jazz festival in his hometown of Vilnius, Lithuania.
Fresh from performing a solo drum show at Paris Fashion Week for Mihara Yasuhiro’s new collection, Marijus now prepares to release his second full-length body of work ‘As They Are’, following on from his long-nurtured first solo album, ‘Maps’ (released via YAM Records in 2018). With the concept of collage forming a central theme of the record, 23 people from different parts of the world (Lithuania / USA / UK / Cuba) each contributed to the creative flow of the musical creation, forming a rich sonic tapestry - formed of 3 years of recording and re-editing jam sessions, creating a spellbind final piece constructed from smaller pieces that in the first instance may have seemed incompatible.