Friday, August 14, 2009

Gettin DOWN with DZ...

As you read in the past few posts DZ is coming into town to rock our collective socks off. We caught up with the Badman himself and asked him a few questions concerning what hes up to, where he came from and the like. Some good reading here, check it out ya'll!

World On Fire: First off what's the story about how you got started as a DJ/Producer?

DZ: Not much of a story i guess, i was born with it in me somehow, i remember losing my shit when hip hop found me, and the break became my heartbeat. add some rave and hip hop's re-invention of sorts post 1993 and the rest is history, or so far at least...

WOF: Can you remember the first dubstep song you ever heard, or first time you ever heard a DJ spin dubstep? What was your initial reaction?

DZ: First tune was 'lightning' by Skream that a friend brought me back from England, and a tape of the "Dubstep Warz". I dug the production but couldn't get into it at first until I listened to the Dubstep Warz show a few times.

WOF: How is producing and spinning dubstep different than being part of the drum n bass scene?

DZ: The only part I had in Ottawa's DnB scene was the fact all my boyz spun it and the foundation of "Badman Press" is breakbeats in general, from breakbeat/hardcore to acid & bigbeat thru to nuskool breaks and jungle/dnb. Ottawa is a house city so it was always breaks & jungle/dnb that would get put together in the side rooms, so it was only natural that we repped each other's genres up as the underdog material. As a producer I am a breaks fanatic, from growing up (like many) on NYC hip hop, so I built DnB not so much to get tunes signed, but to understand the different ways of using the same break. Spinning it was fun, but the bar was so high to begin with skill wise we started to adopt the 90 second rule when mixing, which meant as soon as the needle touched the wax, dude has 90 seconds till he's done. That was ok, but was it fun? Not half as fun as playing a dubstep set with so much diversity within itself as a blanket term to keep even an hour set fresh and driving.

WOF: What has been the best party you've played at so far, and what event or city surprised you the most as a DJ?

DZ: Best party bar none was NYE 2008/09 at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco. Diplo & Jesse Rose were the main headliners and the dubstep room consisted of rastatronics, the spit brothers, antiserum, plastician, mrk1, kromestar & myself until 4am, then I went down to the main room and played to a packed place for another hour while mrk1 & kromestar just vibed. dubstep and sublow owned that night, very special indeed!

WOF: Hip hop samples seem to run through some of your tunes (obvious ones like Oooh or Regulate or less obvious like the Steinski sample on "Wildstyle"). And we know you got started out spinning old school hip hop, electro, breaks and hardcore. In terms of where you find sample inspiration, do you mainly rely on the classics that you know, or are you are trying to keep up with newer songs to nick things from? What qualities does a sample have to possess for you to use it in a song?

DZ: Man, there are sooooooo many classic samples that have their firm place in our culture, it's nuts... for me, it just kinda fits if it fits, I build a lot of tunes that the process is like a piggyback, or call & answer session, where the sounds play off of each other. I think it's just in my nature to keep using hip hop and funk samples because I know them, they reverberate with me as memories and feelings - always back to when I first heard it used and went 'damn, that was fucking witty!'. it's not quite an OJ thing, but if it fits, it fits.

WOF: What are you listening to when you're at home?

DZ: samples, synths, old accapellas, funk, the voice in my head that keeps asking me why I don't have a beer in my hand, lately I haven't been listening to much unless I am working on it, spare dubs from the lads when I get my head out of my arse and need to assemble the weapons for shows.

WOF: How has being a father influenced your music?

DZ: 100% or more directly, in drive and determination. I don't have the relationship with my daughter that I had hoped for, but to hear that she is proud of her father has really helped me get through some tough times and stay focused on what I am trying to achieve with my music.

WOF: Where do you get your inspiration to make such ridiculously heavy tunes?

DZ: The desire to hear something I have not heard before I guess, we used to get treated to ridiculously big breakdowns and drops in breaks in the 90's and they were fun. I see that and feel that in dubstep as well, so when I build a chune and hear it out, my headspace is in the crowd vibin onit. A bunch of my tunes aren't procuced as crisp and meticulous as most in dubstep, but I'm not a fan of constantly re-visiting a tune and fiddling with the idea that spewed out in the first place. I like raw shit that bumps, it's what drew me into the scene in the first place, that 'dub' aesthetic, pure vibesssssssss....

WOF: Conversely, tell us about the Bobby Caldwell track... what has it done for your producing and DJing career in terms of opening doors? And how does someone making heavy tunes in a heavy genre end up listening to that original song and think "I should make a dubstep version" ?

DZ: I like this story... I had a studio session that lasted a couple days and was on fire, and wanted to do something different while I had the spark going. My girlfriend's birthday was coming up and she had just recently sent me an mp3 of her fav tune ever, "What You Won't Do For Love". I thought it would be a cool lil project to try and about 6 hours later that track was done. I couldn't hold it back and sent it to her, she loved it, and I said "wouldn't it be cool if it came out some day?". Sent it to a few lads, including Starkey, and it just started blowing up hard. Starkbot asked if i'd be interested in putting it out on Slit Jockey and the rest of that is blogfare history. Opening doors-wise, I am not sure. I'm not a blog junkie by any means and try not to hear what 'they' say when it comes to hype, but when I started doing a lil googlin' trying to get reference points for my last bio, I noticed it did some major damage across the globe in the dances. I still think that my JOTS remix was the one that probably got me a bigger look. Who knows, cause I sure don't, and it's better that way I reckon.

WOF: You've also done dubstep remixes of Pink Floyd, Crookers and Major Lazer... is there any genre or artist that you keep off limits in terms of remixing? What artists (dubstep or not-dubstep) would you like to work with or remix that you haven't gotten the chance to yet?

DZ: There are so many, I have a wishlist for my real artist LP, but we'll see. I just always love working with different situations whenever possible, steady learning. I'll admit the Major Lazer remix was calculated, I did it to get Diplo's attention by giving it out and not posting it on the Mad Decent blog - I think just to see if I could get him to holler for it. I'm not trying to mimick styles sounds or techniques necessarily, I just don't want to do what I did yesterday.

WOF: We know you've got some nasty tracks hidden away. What's the word on new releases coming up?

DZ: In the last month Badman Press 002 (vinyl) has come out and is selling out like mad (AWOL/Crack), I have a dubwise release out on DubsAlive, a track out with Excision on EX7 (Ying & Yang), a track out on Rottun (Oooh) & my "Coast II Coast" EP just came out this week on my Badman Digital Media label. Coming up you can expect my 13 track digi LP to drop (DZ - The Proliferation Sequence - BDM004), my 10 (or 11) track house LP after that (DZ - The Flophouse - BDM005) and SamXL & I just signed off 2 tracks to Contagious Records, so keep an eye out for that as well. Oh snaps, and the Crookers ft. Wiley & TJ "Business Man" remix on Southern Fried any day...

WOF: Please finish this thought: In ten years, dubstep will be......

DZ: ...sponsored by

BIG UPS to DZ for spending the time to answer some questions, check some of his mixes and tunes out here:

Some DOPE mixes and exclusive bootlegs!
We'll be seeing you all out @ Dubstep Massacre 7!!

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