London based Kaz James has had a busy year in 2018 with releases on Objektivity, Saved Records, plus Glasgow Underground, and his tracks have found their way to the top of Beatport’s much coveted Top 100 Sales Charts on more than one occasion. Having also played a number of high profile DJ gigs, he is finishing the year with a release on Yousef’s Circus Recordings…
> For the people reading this who haven’t heard your music before, how would you describe your style and the key elements that define it?
That’s a really hard question. I think for any producer it’s difficult to describe their own music. Obviously the stuff I’m making at the moment is electronic, somewhere between house and techno broadly speaking, maybe a touch of progressive in there. I’ve always enjoyed working with melody and emotion with my records. Of course you need a balance between emotion and tracks that have enough kick to work on a dancefloor. That’s ultimately what I’m going for. But it’s probably best just to have a listen, I’m better at making records than I am at talking about them!
> Your most recent release peaked at number two in one of Beatport’s much coveted genre sales charts, could you tell me a bit about that release, and what it felt like to have one of the biggest selling tracks in the world at that time?
Yeah that was for Paradise, which got an amazing reaction. I’m not sure I’d say it was one of the biggest selling in the world, but yeah it’s definitely good to see it sticking around in the charts for a while. For the style of music I make Beatport is a massively important portal. It was actually a collab with Nick Morgan on Glasgow Underground, which is a label I have a lot of time for. It’s got such a great history, so many amazing records. So to be on there and for it to be a success was a really nice feeling.
> Apart from the above-mentioned release, what other labels have you worked with, and could you tell us a little about your next release?
My latest release is Life In Purple on Circus. Yousef and Circus are a huge part of the scene so again, it was a great feeling to be on the label. I’ve been fortunate enough to have released on a load of really strong labels: Saved, Objektivity, the list goes on. When I make music I don’t think I’ve ever gone into the studio and thought “today I’m going to make a track that will work on this or that label”. Usually I make what I want to, then after when it’s finished I’ll think that it would fit nicely with one label or another. I don’t like to be constrained when I start making music so the label’s usually the last thing I think about rather than the first. That’s to take nothing away from the labels I’ve worked with though: I’ve been lucky enough to have support from some of what I consider the best labels out there, so if that continues I’ll be a very happy man.
> Could you talk us through the creative process of putting a track together, and list any specific equipment used to bring your sound to life?
Once I’ve built the basics of a track, I will start to add frequencies and tones to fill the record out, giving it body and warmth, so I spend a lot of time finding cool sounds; whether it’s a fresh-sounding crash or just a random sample that I can develop, it really gives your productions an edge, especially when it comes to mixing, as you can pull these frequencies out. Analogue gear is always an option and fun, but I like to use samples and I find VSTs better for flow. Sample packs are, too, as long as you work on the samples and don’t just drop them in. To finish things off I like to mix down my records with a mix engineer. I feel it helps to get someone else working on the record – it really brings a different angle and perspective to my vision of the track.
> I understand you had quite a busy year in 2018 including a number of gigs in Ibiza playing for events like Rumors and Black Coffee’s party at Hï Ibiza. Have you remained busy after the summer, and will you be playing anywhere over Christmas or on New Year’s eve?
Played Rumors Art Basel last week
Friendship Miami Cruise Ship this week
Playing 2 dates at a festival in Brazil on the 27th and NYE called Carneiros Réveillon
Rumors Tulum 8th Jan
Abracadabra (Blondish Party) Tulum 3rd Jan
> Breaking away from music for a second, is it true you also own a chain of coffee shops in London… do you find it hard balancing your music career with your other business?
Actually the reason Grind came into existence was out of convenience: I was moving my studio from West to east London, and wanted somewhere where I could make music, drink coffee and have a beer. I couldn’t find anything that fit all three, so we set up Grind. So initially at least it actually make balancing music easier as I could do everything from one place. I didn’t expect it to grow like it has though, so obviously it takes a bit more managing now.
> Could you give some advice or words of wisdom to any aspiring producers who might look to your music for inspiration?
Make sure you get into it for the right reasons. Make music you love, otherwise you’ll probably regret it at some point.
> We like to finish our interviews with a couple of questions that are a little bit light hearted… without getting to personal, could you tell us something many don’t know about you?
I only drink red wine and not hard liquor, im not sure why but people find really surprising especially when I’m DJing.
> You don’t need to mention names, but what’s the most “outrageous” thing you have ever seen happen in a club… was it something outrageously brilliant, like a blindfolded DJ mixing seamlessly and scratching with their elbows, or something outrageously cringe-worthy, like some embarrassing drunk person urinating on the dancefloor?
I have seen a lot of crazy stuff over the years touring mainly in Ibiza to be honest. People in all sorts of bother, both on the dancefloor and behind the booth. But one thing that really stands out was nearly being killed in Brazil with Macy Gray after doing a show for a shady promoter. That was pretty unforgettable, not in a good way.
> Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, is there anything extra you want to add before we wrap up the conversation?
Just that I’m putting the finished touches to my album at the moment which I think will be out some time next year. I really think it’s some of the best work I’ve done in my career, so I really hope people enjoy it when it lands.
> You can buy Kaz James tracks on Beatport from …HERE…