Dozer Interview

Normal procedure for me is I always like to start at the beginning… so talk me through when and how your journey with music began?

I got well into Heavy Metal and Grunge as a teenager around 92, it was great time for that music. I had a big group of friends, we used to go to Festivals together and gigs in London. I started making mixtapes for friends at school, and I put a lot of thought into them, so my history as a selector started back then I guess.I went to Uni in 97, in Brighton, I was getting bored with Heavy Metal by then and started listening to The Prodigy a lot. I hooked up with some Drum and Bass heads and started going to Legends of the Dark Black at The Zap every week, where I saw DJs like Grooverider, Andy C, and got into Ed Rush & Optical and Bad Company who were smashing it at the time.

So the name… You drove a bull “Dozer” as job? Or you are sleepy? Fill us in…

It was just a nickname from when I was a kid, so it was an obvious choice when I needed a DJ name, and I never came up with anything else.  When I was teenager I used to get lean and sometimes well, dozey, so my mates would call me Dozer.  I should really make up another story that sounds really impressive ha.

At what age did you get involved in Djing and what equipment did you learn to mix on?

Me and my best mate Jon (JRS) got into raving and Drum & Bass properly in the early 2000s.  We had started buying vinyl, then Jon got some Vestax Decks and a Citronic Mixer in 2002, so I would have been 24.  I was so obsessed with learning to mix, I used to be round his house every day, mixing as much as possible, and after about 9 months we played out for the 1st time.

How about your preferred format, are you digital or a vinyl lover?

 I like both Digital and Vinyl to be honest.  Nowadays I mainly mix with Serato.  I find it a lot of fun and I am quite obsessive over my digital music collection, so with Serato I have my collection at my finger tips. I still love my Vinyl and I was mainly a vinyl DJ until about 2011.  I still get some bits and pieces on vinyl, so I have a big collection.  I love the warm sound of it, and having a physical copy of my favourite tunes.  I’ve been playing a few vinyl sets in recent years, including the last Middle Skool.

From the perspective of a dj, how do you go about discovering fresh music for sets?

I would say first and foremost I am a Music Lover, so I am constantly on the look out for new music.  I am always checking for news on Social Media, I listen to all the Promos I am sent, and I check New Releases every Friday.  Also I listen to other DJs a lot and I find plenty of bangers that way.

So for anyone who not aware, Dozer is a name more commonly associated with DnB and after we bonded over our common interest in certain vibes of 130bpm, I requested this mix so this then leaves me wondering…. Would you be keen to be more associated with this tempo of electronic music as you are with Dnb?

I would.  I love 130bpm stuff, I find it very exciting, and I would like to do more sets at this tempo.  I spent about 5 years concentrating on House and Techno between 2011 and 2016, and I came back DnB in 2016.  Now I am doing a bit of both, and I feel like I have found a bit of a different sound (for me) in the 130 stuff, so you never know.

While we are on the subject and it’s also in-line with your mix content….. Can you let us in on some artists that you currently rate highly within the techno world?

A few of my favourite artists at the moment would be:  Djrum, Client_03, Special Request, Anunaku, Skee Mask, Joy O and Martyn (although not all strictly Techno).  Also some labels I am currently rating are: Ilian Tape, DEXT, Clone Basement Series, Whities, Livity Sound & 3024.

How about within dnb?

 Artists:  Sully, Coco Bryce, Gremlinz, Sicknote, KillaKlan, Madcap, Anile, Tim Reaper, Blocks & Escher.Labels:  Rupture LDN, Western Lore, The North Quarter, Metalheadz, Function AKO & Astrophonica.

So let’s talk about the mix, it’s a great journey of varied vibes, it has 4/4 thumpers that KICK, it has loads of atmospherics, it has elements of tribal stuff (that even gives me feels of the old masters at Work mixes I used to love when I was younger) and loads more … Can you Talk us through your process of selecting tunes for the mix and putting it together?

The main thing I keep in mind when putting a studio mix together is listening back and enjoying it myself, so I like to get it close to perfect.  I will usually plan it out, and record it a few times to get it right. For this mix I wanted to play a cross section of 130bpm music which I find exciting and that works together, with a few curve balls.  It starts with an Ambient track, then some more Leftfield techno sounds, then gets into some Techno and 130 with breaks and interesting rhythms with a bit of shuffle.  I always like to play some oldies, there is a Photek tune from 2000 in there, but most of the tracks are from the last few years.  I completely immersed myself in DnB for 10 years, Jungle DnB vibes get me going more than anything, so I always bring this influence to my 130 sets, and that is where my love of atmospherics come from.

In regards to different tempos, 130bpm deffo has that space and time to be relaxed about mixing or infact do more with it… do you find you change your approach to mixing when you put together 130bpm in comparison to a 170 bpm?

 My style of mixing is predominantly Mix and Blend, so I would say this isn’t much different if I am mixing 130 or DnB. However with DnB I do like to mix quickly sometimes and throw in a few tricks which wouldn’t really work with 130. When listening to other DJs playing Techno, I notice some of them play with the filters a lot, me and my mates call it ‘Random Filter Movement’, but I’m not into that, so I just stick to the Mix and Blend!

Let’s talk about present day, starting with your semi regular slot you hold on London dnb Station Rude FM. Can you give us some background into when/how it started and what listeners can expect when they lock in?

 I have played on quite a few stations over the years including Life FM, Origin FM and Kane FM (Guildford).  I started playing on Rude FM in 2006 and was there for 5 years.  I just love the vibe, it’s Dark, Deep, with a bit of Jungle influence, and it really connects with me.  When I came back to DnB in 2016, LS Dare invited me to guest on his show, and things progressed to a Fortnightly show.  I have since met so many great DJs, and great people through Rude, so it’s been a great way for me to get back into the scene.  Shouts out to Fugee, Flava, Nick EP, Daz, Staunch, Spectrum, Mindset, Immerse, Diazide & Blaine.

You are also a fan of going back 2 back with your guests on your Rude FM show, can you explain what it is about this approach to djing that you personally enjoy when you have guests in?

 I love to vibe with other DJs to create something unique, and with DJs that I like to listen myself, that I rate. When it works and you get in the zone, there is nothing like it. Also, when you are only doing half the mixing, it makes it a bit easier and therefore it’s a bit more enjoyable for me.

Next up your most recent excursion is the 2nd part of the all Calibre mix series which you self release through your Soundcloud.
Calibre having now elevated to the legendary level within electronic music with his productions since he came on the scene and in addition he has a phenomenal output of music, must make curating this mixes great fun right? 

Definitely.  When I was getting into DJing he was coming to the fore as a producer, so I have followed him since then and he is one my all time favourite producers.  I therefore have a massive Calibre collection going right back to the start, so I had to do a Calibre Mix Series at some point.  One of the main things I look for in my music are killer grooves and Calibre music has them in abundance.  This keeps me coming back to his music for more.

Let’s Talk about venues… You’ve played at various gigs over the years so can you give us a few examples some of your favourite venues you’ve played at?

I have played at The End, Bar Rumba, The Scala, Ministry of Sound, Plan B (now Phonox), Fire, Herbal, the Rhythm Factory and more.Easily my favourite venue I have played at is The End, and it’s also my all time favourite venue as a Raver. The set-up was amazing, 2 crystal clear monitors above your head and a massive speaker stack opposite, so the sound was totally on point. As soon as I brought the 1st mix in, I could tell it was gonna be a dream to mix on and I loved every minute of it. One of the lesser known DJs was on in Room 1 at the same time, and LowQui was MCing with me, so it was packed in Room 2, so it was a special set for me.

Talking of gigs, you are also a resident at the Dnb event “middle School”, can you give us some insight into how this came about?

When Middle Skool started up, it was in association with Essence of Chi (EOC), and I was a resident at EOC from near the start, so I was booked alongside the rest of the Healing Crew from the first one. Middle Skool was Mike Ascension’s brain child, so when he went it alone, I offered my help and thankfully I continued playing. The Middle Skool era 1999 to 2009 was when I got into DJing, I played out frequently at the time with EOC, and in my opinion it was a great era for Drum & Bass. I always like to play oldies in my sets and I very often go back to this era, and I like digging out forgotten gems, so I am well suited to playing at Middle Skool I like to think.

Can you give us some insight into any plans for 2020 Dozer? 

Things a bit of bit quiet for me on the gigs front recently, so any promoters out there, book me, I love playing out!  I have been planning to start an Event with my good friend LS Dare. We had an Event booked for early May, but it has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak, which is unfortunate. However, we have done a lot of planning, so we will be ready to dive back in when things get back to normal.
I’m gonna use the Lockdown period to get a few more Studio mixes done, different styles of Jungle DnB mainly, and I might get some more 130 mixes done as well.

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