From humble beginnings, DJ Hazard has spent over a decade honing a raw passion for music and perfecting a craft that has seen him land the Drum & Bass Awards’ #1 DJ title in 2017. As one of the most respected artists on the scene pushing a sound that has revolutionised drum and bass, this is far from the concluding part of his story – on the contrary: Hazard is just getting started.
Q 1: Hiya! How’s it going in the world of Hazard at the moment?
Really good thank you – I just woke up haha!
Well the main thing I’ve been doing this year is the back to backs with Hype. That’s been the focus and it’s been really good so far.
Q 2: It looks as if it’s been going great! So at the start of the year, you spent 3 months in the studio and didn’t return! What happened there?
It was just one of them ones I guess where my feet weren’t working. I was trying to get stuff ready to release. So I spent the 3 months in there just messing, trying this and trying that. At the end of it, I did have some music but I felt as if none of it was good enough, I knew I could do better. I slept in the studio for 3 months and nothing came out of in the end. It’s would’ve been nice if something did come out of it, but sometimes things just don’t work the way you think they’re going to work – it was just one of them.
Because it was planned, you maybe felt like you had to make something.
That’s one of the aspects of it, and also I didn’t really plan to be in there for 3 months. It’s a shame that nothing came from it and I did learn a lot in those 3 months.
Q 3: When are you going to return to the studio then? It would be great to hear some new music as the 10th anniversary of ‘Mr Happy’ is creeping up!
Hopefully I’ll go back in soon, who knows. But I’m not pushing myself to get back in there, it’s just when you get that feeling.
Q 4: Let’s talk about Playaz… The crew is at its strongest point now, than it’s ever been! When were you signed?
I think it was around 2002. That was when Hype phoned me, and asked me to do a remix for him. Then through that conversation, he realised I wasn’t signed to anybody, so he made me an offer. So yeah, I’ve been there ever since.
Q 5: How did it feel when he rang you up?
That was a bit unreal because I was an up and coming DJ where nobody knew who I was. To the point where you’ve got someone as famous as Hype at the time, phoning you up for a remix and asking you to join his label – that’s an amazing feeling!
I bet he was someone you looked up to around that sort of time as well!
Yeah definitely – I still do. Even though we’re really good friends, I still look at him as the boss because he showed me many things that I never would’ve known.
It’s been like 15 years now since you’ve known him and that’s a long time, so you’ve probably become really close which is great.
I can be a bit of a loner, and I won’t talk to anyone for a week or a month and the good thing is, Hype knows that and he will leave me alone to do what I want to do. But when we do talk, it’s like it was yesterday we last spoke, and that’s nice.
Q 6: That’s a really good thing to have. Your journey didn’t actually begin with the Playaz camp; what were you up to beforehand?
So before Playaz, I was doing Kool FM Midlands and I was working in their record shop. It was still music orientated and I was trying to breakthrough at that point, making music at the same time. I did actually start DJing when I left school, but I didn’t go to school too much haha. I never actually planned on doing anything with music when I was in school; it was only when I left. When I started DJing, I quickly learnt that you had to make music to survive out here and to be noticed.
Q 7: Did you look up to any other DJs when you were going through that time of trying to breakthrough?
Some of my favourite producers have been Dillinja, DJ Die and Shy FX – they kind of paved the way for me. They made a lot of tunes that I like. It’s always been good to look at them back then, to now know that you can make music like they would’ve done. That’s a really nice feeling as well. And even now, the DJs that I looked up to are even playing it.
You’ve probably met most of them as well now.
Yeah! Probably all of them. There’s hardly anybody that I haven’t met within the drum and bass scene.
Q 8: That is pretty cool! What’s been the best event you’ve played? That may be a hard one.
Boomtown was one of the stand out ones from recent times definitely. That was one of those events where at the time, I didn’t actually realise how good it was. When we came away, me and Hype realised how good it was and how many people were there. That was in the UK as well. We do festivals abroad that have the same amount of people, but this was in the UK. It was so good!
Q 9: You have been playing B2B with Hype this year at all the major festivals – how come you didn’t enjoy the first few back to backs you did with Hype?
Well I’ve never really done back to backs with people, and I’ve never wanted to. I still would prefer to play on my own, but if I had to do a back to back, is has to be with Hype because it’s so much fun. We didn’t know how much fun it actually would be until we done the first few – it’s so funny!
How do they flow then?
I like it when he starts because then we know his equipment is set up properly. He uses different equipment so it’s nice to know when he’s set up properly, my equipment is easier to set up even if wasn’t right. So he starts and might play 5 tunes, then it’ll be my turn and I’ll play 5 tunes. He might play 10 minutes, and then I’ll go and play for 10 minutes. We just mix it up and there’s no plan for it. We don’t even make it up, we just play haha.
Q 10: That’s the way it’s got to be! You’ve had more Playaz stages at festivals and club nights this year than ever before, and you’ve just released your Playaz takeover in London on NYE! What are you hoping next year will be like for you and the Playaz crew?
I literally don’t know! It helps that a lot of us from Playaz are with the same agency now, which has made a big difference for all of us. Our agent is absolutely excellent, so I think it’s a case of whatever he comes up with, or whatever he plans, we go with that. He seems to be hitting the nail on the head. I’m happy with what I’m doing and I get plenty of work, but being on the new agency has shook things up for me which has been good and for Hype as well! We’re doing things we wouldn’t normally do and I guess that’s what you’ve got to do to keep things interesting.
Q 11: Like the Playaz stage at SW4 was a new thing to you guys weren’t it?
Well yeah! That was good; all the Playaz lot was there and we all got to see each other. We all don’t hang around like some people might think; we’re all from different cities. So being there together was really nice.
Q 12: I’ve seen some videos and it looked so fun! What advice would give to anybody who wants to follow in your footsteps and any upcoming DJs and producers?
If you feel what you’re doing, you’re probably doing it right. It’s hard to take that leap, especially if you’re already working. Like say if you’re working in a bank, it’s hard to try and get into DJing to earn money. So as long as you’re having fun, you’ll be fine either way. With DJing though, there will be some periods where you’re just not feeling what’s going on, but then the next year will come around and there will be loads of new music to inspire you. You’ve just got to take the rough with the smooth. If you want it, you’ll get to where you want to go.
Thanks so much for your time. Catch you at Rumble!