As part of the legendary True Playaz crew, DJ Hazard has been at the forefront of drum and bass for a decade. We caught up with him to chat about why he likes things to be imperfect and why commercial drum and bass artists all sound the same.
Having made his name with jump-up anthems like ‘Machete’ and ‘Psychedelic’, Hazard (aka Scott Molloy) is best known for his contributions to the tougher, more tear-out end of the genre. With his contribution to the Fabriclive mix series, Molloy has delivered a breathless set which crams 50 tracks into just over an hour, featuring exclusives from the likes of Noisia, Spor and Taxman. Ranging from more relaxed steppers through to full-on jump-up filth, the mix is a comprehensive snapshot of Hazard’s tastes and DJing style in 2012. We collared him for a quick chat.
Attack: We hear that you recorded the mix in one take in your house so all the mistakes could be heard. We’ve listened to it a few times now and we haven’t spotted any clangers.
DJ Hazard: There are some mistakes in there but they’re quite subtle. In a way I kind of wanted a few more so people could have noticed it!
It’s just imperfect. I didn’t want it to be perfect but there were a couple of bits where I thought, ‘Ooh, I could have done a bit better there.’ There are tunes that I haven’t played out properly. Even down to the volume levels on each tune, they’re never gonna be matched exactly. Different tunes have different levels anyway.
It makes it feel more real, doesn’t it?
It stops it all feeling robotic.
Definitely. Did you decide to play a pretty similar set to what you’ve been playing in clubs recently?
It’s pretty similar to what I’d play but it’s a generalisation. I play all those tunes out but in different clubs you can play different types of music, different sub-genres. In some clubs I wouldn’t play a load of easy stepping tunes but in some clubs I would. Because this mix was for a CD and I was doing it in my bedroom I just wired up some decks and thought, ‘You know what? I can do whatever I like here.’
So it really reflects your taste at the moment.
Do you think the drum and bass scene’s strong right now?
I don’t really see as much as, say, a raver would so I can only go on what I see when I’m bouncing from one club to the next. There’s a lot of music out there and obviously I wouldn’t play every tune that’s released but there’s a lot of good stuff. You just have to find it.
Whose music are you looking out for?
My mate Devize is really surprising me at the moment. I’ve known him years – he’s my best mate – and just lately he’s blossoming into something where he’s just making music that I like to play. He’s not making music for me, he’s just making music, but when I hear it it’s like, ‘Bloody hell!’ You’re not expecting it off your best mate.
There’s Tyke as well, he’s making loads of weird stuff. I love the fact that he’s weird. Who else is there? Noisia. They don’t even need a mention. They’re always doing well. What they do, they do it really good.
What sort of music do you listen to at home? Would you put a drum and bass CD on to relax or are you into other stuff?
I don’t really listen to drum and bass too much just for the fact that I’m always doing it, always in the club, always in the studio. I usually listen to Motown or reggae at home.
I’d love to make other types of music. I’d love to make a dubstep track, but I don’t get enough time in the studio to finish my drum and bass stuff. None of my tracks which I put on the CD are finished. That’s why I only played a bit of them, so you wouldn’t notice!
I'd love to make a dubstep track, but I don't get enough time in the studio to finish my drum and bass stuff.
Drum and bass has always just done its own thing and not worried too much about what other people think. Do you think that’s positive?
It can be great at times but even now a lot of people are making a lot of commercial drum and bass. Some of them are doing really well, but some of them are… not very good! They just copy the people that are doing well.
In the commercial market at the moment you’re hearing all them tunes and they all sound the same. They sound like they’re using the same keyboard and the same drum hits. I’m not gonna name names – I don’t want to upset anyone. They’re doing their commercial thing and I’m all for that. But at the end of the day they’re representing drum and bass and it seems like only one type of drum and bass is getting represented out there.
I love the fact that people can go out there, earn loads of money and do their thing. Some of them are wicked at catering for that commercial market, but it’s not what drum and bass is all about. It’s just one side of it. It’s a shame that they all left to do that and they’re not still doing proper drum and bass. I suppose they’re too busy for us…
So, finally, there are quite a few unreleased tracks on the mix. Are you going to be releasing any of them?
Yeah, I’ve got an EP coming out before Christmas with four of the tracks from the mix. Erm… ‘Never The Same’, ‘Air Guitar’ and… I can’t remember the names of the others!