*NEW* Interview with DJ Hazard


VIP Junglist
Mar 6, 2009

This is actually quite a good little read. if you get a minute.

by Ben Gomori / www.datatransmission.co.uk

You can say what you like about it, but when it comes to drum ‘n’ bass in the UK, the rowdy, frenzied, dirty sound of nu skool jump-up definitely owns it in terms of popularity. At the forefront of the current wave of jump-up aficionados is Hazard, the Birmingham-based producer who was taken under DJ Hype’s wing back in 2003 to produce tracks for his True Playaz and Ganja Records labels on a long-term basis.

After cutting his teeth on an education of reggae, hip-hop and soul while at school, Hazard became hooked on the emerging jungle sound, quickly deciding that D’n’B was what he wanted to dedicate his life to. He began producing in 1998, and had his first release in 1999 – but it was after sending tracks to DJ SS for his Formation label that Hype took noticed and kick-started his career into the big leagues. “He phoned me up and asked me if I wanted to work with him” Hazard recalls, “and asked me if I wanted to be signed and made me a nice offer – and I just went
with them and never looked back.”

2008 has been a big year for him – with his no-holds barred tracks Killers Don’t Die and Machete in particular cutting huge swathes through dancefloors across the country and sticking in the record boxes of all the major players for months on end. We caught up with him as he prepared for other busy weekend of gigs, to find out about his plans for an album, and his compulsive need to twiddle knobs...

Was it kind of surreal for you at that point, to be dealing with your heroes? Or were you used to it after having worked with SS?

No no, ‘cos I was just working for SS – it was nothing big. I was just sort of giving him tunes for his label, and then Hype made me an offer – a real big offer at the time, it was more money than I could have ever fucking have dreamed of – and that was a big thing because I didn’t want to be signed to anybody, ‘cos I didn’t know what it was all about. It was the best move I made, being signed to them. And that’s what I’m happy doing – they take care of all the paperwork or whatever, and I just make the tunes, and it’s a good relationship.

Were you surprised with the success of Killers Don’t Die and Machete? Did you know you were on to something special when you made them?

Nah! You never do until they come out, and it’s people that tell you whether they’re good, and you see the reactions of people...tunes just grow sometimes, and sometimes they don’t – it’s just one of them things.

Obviously they’re amongst your very most popular tunes – do you hold them in as high regard as everyone else?

They were probably the best I could do at that time, but I do have favourites...Selector was probably one of my favourites, just ‘cos it was something different at the time...but they done what they were supposed to do I suppose...

What’s your production set up? What do you use?

I use Logic for arranging, and I use hardware for everything else...

...is that to get a richer, deeper sound?

Nah it’s just to stop me from getting bored ‘cos I can just mess with loads of knobs ha ha!

What do you say to people who think jump-up DnB is just disposable music and not musically intelligent?

I don’t need to say anything to them, I’m sure they already know ha ha!

What do you make of the whole half-time phenomenon? Tracks like Duppyman, Timewarp etc...

I’m all for it. You’ve gotta do something different – if you’re not doing something different, you’re not doing your fucking job. I’ve done plenty of tunes like that – I’ve just never released them. I’ve got a half-time tune that could go on the album, and I’ve got one I made about 5 years ago that I still play but I’ve just never given to anyone...

You’ve got quite a few secret weapons like that then?

Yeah I’ve got loads, it’s being in the mood to put them out, you know what I mean. I try to do a little bit different every time I play – ‘cos I’d just bore myself if I didn’t, I couldn’t play the same tunes every set – so it’s always good to have them to pull them out on people and they’ll be like “what’s that?” And I’ll be like “it’s old”....

Jump-up D’n’B producers aren’t generally hugely leant to making artist albums – it’s usually about busting out 12” after 12”. Any plans for an artist album and what would you do with it?

I’m supposed to be doing one now. It’s supposed to be ready for sometime in 2009 – but I’ve said it many times before, if I don’t feel ready, it ain’t gonna happen. I am trying it but I haven’t actually started the album yet. I was supposed to start it at the beginning of the year but I just ain’t got round to doing it. I gotta feel like doing it to actually do it....

Are you thinking DnB all the way on the album or try some other styles too?

I’d rather just do drum ‘n’ bass all the way. I’m not ready to make other types of music yet. I’m still learning the ropes and that if you know what I mean. Some people would look at me as being a massive producer, but at the end of the day, I’m not comfortable – I haven’t given it my all yet, you know what I mean?

Are you a vinyl or CD man, and do you think the fact that the DnB scene was quite slow to take up on digital downloads etc was to its detriment?

I’m both. I’ve been more CD recently but that’s only because I play so many tunes in a set, and you just can’t keep up with the amount of vinyl. The vinyl isn’t ready yet, and I play so many tunes that people ain’t heard or ain’t got – and they’re not even on vinyl yet. To cut dubs, it would cost way too much money for me.

I ain’t got a clue about the other bit....I just make tunes, I don’t deal with that side of things!

What kind of stuff do you listen to when you haven’t got your DnB head on?

Bit of Motown...quite a lot of Motown actually...bit of reggae, bit of ragga.... bit of hip-hop...bit of everything really. I just listen to whatever’s there – I can appreciate all different types of music.

What are your views on MCs – who are your favourites to work with and have you ever had any major problems with any of them?

I do get some MCs who can’t keep up, just because I play so fast and they’re more of a roll-it-out MC...but there are lot of MCs that I do like, and I’m all for the MC thing. Most of the MCs I’m fine with – just some of them can’t keep up with the way I play. It’s not being down to them being rubbish, it’s just down to me being different ‘cos I play so many tunes in a set and I play really fast.

DnB is such a global thing now – what are the most random places you’ve had the pleasure of playing yet?

I played in a mountain in Austria...that was fucking strange. It was actually in a mountain, a club in a mountain...I’ve played in Bulgaria, where there’s wild dogs running around everywhere...loads of strange places...it’s just weird when you’re thinking “it’s just a different way of life in this country”...

Who do you think we should keep an eye on in terms of new production or DJ talent?

Production – Taxman. I think he’s blossoming nicely. DJs – I couldn’t say anybody, I haven’t really heard too many people of late, ‘cos I’ve just been playing a set then shooting off to the next club, then the next club...I just don’t get time to hear them as much as I’d like to.

I think there may be more to it.. not sure. if anyone else finds anymore then feel free to add.
Also apologies if this is a repost i did have
a quick look.
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