Not many names in drum and bass carry a reputation as weighty as their tracks, but one who does is DJ Hazard. A scholar of the genre under the tutelage of close friend and True Playaz boss DJ Hype, Hazard has risen to become one of the top producers in the field, with a long career as a DJ strengthening his claim to be an artist whose influence will be acknowledged for decades to come. Ahead of a summer of shows which include back to back sets with Hype himself, we spoke to Hazard to find out what it all means to him.
You made your way to the high-profile status thanks to releases on Ganja Records and True Playaz in the early/mid 2000s. How much has the scene changed since then?
So much has changed, but I guess the obvious answer is the change in technology. Access to computers and recording digitally completely changed the game, not just for drum n bass but for music in general. I’ve always preferred the analogue approach, but I have faith in technology, digital recording and production will only improve in time.
You’ve been active in the DnB scene for a long time now, so what is it that has kept it interesting after all these years?
I rarely ever play the same city, which means I’m often meeting new people. New MCs and the constant discovery of new music keeps things fresh from a performance point of view too. I do get tired of touring though, I suffer from travel sickness and it can be difficult for me to reach out to some of the places I want to play. Fingers crossed I can move past it and tour even more so in the future.
You’ve been around long enough now to be able to spot a talent when you see one, so which new artists should we keep an eye out for in the drum and bass scene this year?
Dushi and DJ Limited, those guys are smashing at the minute.
Last week you played your first ever London b2b set with DJ Hype. Is there an extra buzz from playing alongside someone who assumed an almost mentor-like status for you?
He’s still a mentor to me, I learn off him all the time – but as we’re such good friends now, it all seems natural. I’ve never really been comfortable with B2B sets in general, I’m not much of a dancer, and when I’m not mixing, I’m never sure what to do with myself, haha.
Hype is undeniably a DnB legend, but if you were able to pick any DJ past or present to go back to back with, who would you choose?
As I mentioned, I’m never too comfortable with B2B sets, but if somebody needed helping out at a gig, I’d do it if I had to!
You’ve a number of festivals coming up over the summer months, with shows around the UK as well as in Croatia for Hideout. What excites you most about the coming months?
As I’ve mentioned before, I normally dread travelling to shows as it makes me ill. But after the experiences we had at Boomtown and Glastonbury, I’m now really looking forward to the summer ahead. We’re playing some big dates over the next few months and if they’re anything like last summer’s festivals, it will be massive.
Has there been a ‘golden age’ of drum and bass, or are the best years still to come?
For me, before I was even known or on the scene were the golden years. Between 1998 and 2004 when the likes of Shy FX and Dillinja were making waves. Saying that, there is still so much more to come. Drum n bass will never die, and there are still so many more sounds to be discovered.
To finish off I’d like to take things back to your b2b partner. What’s your favourite DJ Hype record?
Either Mash Up Da Place, Peace, Love and Unity or True Playaz Anthem.
DJ Hazard can be found all over the place this summer, with UK sets including Detonate Festival, Parklife, MADE Festival, SW4 and Lockdown Festival. Before that, he’ll be appearing at One Nation in Bournemouth on Saturday 27th May, and he also has a spell at Hideout in Croatia to look forward to in June.
Photo courtesy of DJ Hazard