Friday, May 28, 2010

Hayz Interview And Free Track Download – Exclusive To

From DJing to production, Hayz is one of the biggest names in the funky breaks scene, blending commercial, accessible sounds with underground cool as he cuts, scratches and fades his way through the world of NuFunk.

He took time to talk to and drop a free download exclusively for our readers.

As you were growing up, what music did you love and what artists inspired you?

When I was 15 or 16 I was really heavily into hip-hop - Gangstarr, Hijack, Gunshot, groups like Caveman with MCM. I think there’s a strong parallel with that era of hip-hop and the NuFunk scene.

As I was growing up I went to Cream (Club Nation) in Liverpool religiously.  I used to see Jeremy Healy, Carl Cox all those big names at the time. It was a very Italian era in house music. That was when I first got decks.

How did you start out making music?

DJing came first around 1995, I was playing Big Beat in Sheffield at clubs like Republic - the home of Gatecrasher and Music Factory.

Production came more recently, about two or three years ago. I’d always wanted to do it, I have a classical background in music and I play guitar, drums and piano. Then it felt like the software had arrived that made my style of music possible, especially Ableton.

It’s a very DJ-friendly piece of software, the learning curve isn’t as steep as some DAW software if you already have a background in mixing tracks together.

That combined with things like Serato has changed everything. It’s amazing to think that now someone can produce a track in their room and instantly have it on digital vinyl. I used to be such a vinyl purist but I saw Serato and realised that the technology had moved on.

My style of DJing has always been cutting, scratching and fading - heavily working the crossfader.  I use the decks as musical instruments and if the new technology couldn’t deliver that, I wouldn’t be happy DJing.

For me, you can’t just play records, you have to add to the performance and make the music your own - whether that’s through adding little breaks using ‘loop rolling’ in Serato, adding cuts and fades on the mixer, or playing your own tweaked edits and versions of familiar tracks – you can’t just play the same records in the same way as the next DJ.

That’s where production came in for me. I was already playing a lot of exclusives and unreleased stuff – I worked hard to get my hands on tracks before they were widely available – but I also wanted to make the music sound completely new and that’s why I started making my own stuff.

What’s your take on the old sampling debate?

Back in the day, hip-hop producers used to sample artists and use each other’s samples as a form of respect. They would use elements of the music they loved and reinvent them – bring them back into the public consciousness. I think NuFunk works in the same way.

Nowadays, yeah legally you could take someone to court for the few hundred pounds they made on a digital release or vinyl, but would it be worth it?  I still think that ripping off another track entirely crosses the line, that's a different matter altogether.

Your biggest release is probably the Ghetto Base EP (see video below), was it your first?

The Rhyme Assassin EP on Badboe’s Breakbeat Paradise label came first – it had mixes from Jayl Funk, Mark Walton & Noel Boogie (aka Fretless) and Calagad 13. That got in the top five on the Juno charts.

Ghetto Base was my second release and that got to number 1 in the Breaks & Electro, Funk and singles chart for all genres on Juno, which surpassed my expectations. I selected the remixers on that very carefully – Nick Fonkynson, Ursula 1000, Freak-Fu, Jayl Funk and Rhythm Scholar all bring something awesome to the EP.

That was released digitally on Pig Balls Records, then Big M Productions picked it up and released it on vinyl backed with three tracks from the talented Rory Hoy. The whole package, the production, the remixes, the video – it all went into making it a success.

What are you working on now?

I’ve got loads more I want to do musically – I want to do more original work. My new project is working with MCM formerly lyricist for a group called Caveman.  They used to do some really infectious funky hip-hop and their track Fry You Like Fish is a classic.

I just recently got him round and recorded some vocals. I'm also working with a guy called Phaze 5, who is producing some wicked guitar licks  – so it’s a real original track.

Remixing also keeps me busy – but with my own business and a family, plus several residencies, it’s hard to fit it all in. I’m always really honoured to be asked, but it’s often hard to find the time so I have to be careful about what I commit to.

Where can people hear you spinning?

I’ve got loads going on at the moment. There’s Funk Shui at the Lost Angel in Battersea, Graffiti Rock with Kool Hertz at Bar Vinyl in Camden and we’ve got the launch party coming up at the Lost Angel, too. I've just been approached about playing at a festival in Athens and a couple of new swanky venues have booked me in to start new Sat night residencies, which is super-cool!

Hayz has also given us a fresh track, one that he’s been keeping very close to his chest for a while. Listen below and if you want to get your hands on a copy of this exclusive track, as well as a whole bunch of other goodies, head over to our exclusive Member's Vault and download the 'Megabundle'. This is a members-only forum, so if you're not a member yet, join up HERE.

Photography in this article by Ben Turner -

Wicked Trip by Hayz

1 comment:

  1. Free track please! B-Roll is the username :)