We Love Jungle Presents: An Interview with DJ Dazee

We Love Jungle Presents: An Interview with DJ Dazee

What does Jungle mean to you?

I’ve been pretty much in love with Jungle since 1992. I was at a warehouse rave in Bristol at that time and I remember the moment cupid’s arrow struck, and I completely fell for the sound of the pitched up breaks and deep deadly subs. From then on no four/four “flat beat” could come close to rocking my world in the same way. It’s obviously the beat of my inner drum but not just about the breaks or the bpm. It was and still is the energy, vibes and organic-ness of samples and big subs that lift your spirit, and work on so many different levels. Basically ever since that first enlightenment, I was on a mission or “jungle crusade” (possibly a bit too much like a scary fanatic at times!). I founded Ruffneck Ting (club nights) with Markee Substance in 1993 and we were putting our tunes out on the label by 1995. Jungle in return has taken me round the world and to so many amazing parties and more than twenty years later still seems to be doing that! Of course we’ve had our ups and downs over the years but true love never dies!

Has your approach to DJing changed since you first started out?

Performance wise, unfortunately no. I’m still completely OCD, and often stay up all night practising mixes or mixing down tracks before gigs. I’m also a bit slow on the uptake of new technologies (e.g. memory sticks), that are meant to make life easier. I still lug a great big record box about –but it’s full of cd’s so there is some progress I suppose. And I still totally buzz from playing to a crowd and get jittery beforehand. One big difference though is not doing the weekly pilgrimage to London. I used to go to Section 5 first then Black Market and then visit a few labels like TOV to pick up more vinyl. Then I’d head to Music House and wait around and trade dat, that’s until the last bus home and all my rent had been spent on 10 inch acetates. Ah, happy days.

Do you think there are difficulties in being a female artist in a male dominated music industry?

If you’re good enough and determined enough it shouldn’t hold you back. In fact it could be an advantage in terms of being noticed but there is some truth in that old cliché of having to prove yourself. Also, as in many other competitive industries, women are judged far more on physical attributes than their male counterparts. If you’re an absolute stunner nobody will believe you’re talented and if you’re a plain Jane you’ll have to get good hair or make-up (worked for me!). But I do believe women have to put in the extra hours to earn respect for their skills. And they do. I’ve never heard anything but top quality female DJ’s and producers in the drum and bass scene.

What up-and-coming DJs and Producers currently impress you?

K jah, Jinx, Vytol, Habitat, Genetix, Range and Kable.

Do you think it’s necessary to have a separate category for female artists or should it be mixed gender?

Wouldn’t be fair on the boys if you didn’t separate the genders – we need to give them a chance don’t we?! Ha-ha…maybe one day. To be honest, I can’t complain about the Brucey bonus of a lady category but it might make it worse for people that really deserve to be listed and aren’t.

What’s your top Jungle tune to play out at the moment?

So many amazing tunes out there right now, but for the jungliest vibes on Ruffneck Ting I love Jinx’s ‘killing vibes’ (on his forthcoming album) and Habitat and Genetix‘s ‘Back in the Day’

What’s your musical guilty pleasure?

Fleetwood Mac and Burt Bacharach.

If DJing wasn’t your job, what would it be?

I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid and even a WPC at one point. Imagine that! After doing an art degree though, those two careers were ruled out. I’d like to think I would have been something cool like a graphic designer, or a Hotel Chocolate Taster.

What tips would you give to female artists starting out?

Don’t be afraid to follow your passion, team up with like-minded people to share skills and put on nights or radio shows. Also learning to produce will help you in so many ways. Plus, please see above.

Any new projects coming up?

I’ve been on a ‘collab’ mission lately working on different tracks with Saxxon, Jinx and K jah, and more collabs are imminent. Plus, I’m repping my label Ruffneck Ting hard and have a mini tour in the U.S. in May. I’m absolutely blessed to have a bunch of incredible artists on Ruffneck Ting so I’m currently really busy scheduling all the new releases, plus takeover events to support them. I also have radio shows and commissioned DJ mixes for radio stations, pod-casts and labels to get on with, so the crusade continues!

Check out DJ Dazee on Facebook and soundcloud.

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