Next up in the Skirmix series, we are delighted to present London DJ Dozer. A veteran of the London drum and bass scene, the past few years has seen Dozer veer down the house and techno route. A true music obsessive, his knowledge of tunes is second to none and he can be found every second Saturday playing out on Kane FM with his regular collaborator Subterra. For Skirmix #11 Dozer has laid down some techno and we’ve sent a few questions his way to find out a bit more about it and his foray into the world of DJing.
Thinking back, what was the first music you remember being obsessed over?
I was a teenager in the early nineties, and I got really into Heavy Metal, mainly due to my peer group. It started off with Guns ’N Roses, then quickly moved onto Metallica, Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, Fear Factory and Cannibal Corpse to name a few. I got really obsessed and used to make mix tapes for my mates at school, I always loved discovering exciting new music and sharing it.
You “earned your crust”, so to speak, in the Drum and Bass scene, was there an initial record(s) that got you into the sound?
I hated a lot of Jungle at first as I was so obsessed with Heavy Metal I think, but one tune I always loved was ‘Adam F – Circles’! It was just classier than other Jungle/DnB I was hearing at the time, it has a great collage of samples and a killer bassline.
How did this translate into you then DJing?
I got more into DnB around 97/98, listening to the likes of EZ Rollers and Bad Company but I was a more of a casual listeners until 2001 when more of my mates got into DnB and we started going to Fabric & The End regularly. We all became obsessed with DnB which soon lead to my good mate JrS getting some Vestax Decks and Citronix mixer in 2002 and there was no looking back.
You’ve held down a residency at the famed Essence of Chi, what are your fondest memories of the night?
This is a tough one, Essence of Chi did a lot of nights over the years and there was a lot of wicked ones. One of the best, was the 1st Birthday with London Zu at the Scala, with Calibre & Zero T headlining. It was a great line-up, it was packed to capacity and all my friends from the DnB scene were there. From personal DJing perspective, the 2nd Birthday at Hidden was the best, I played a late set after Fabio and managed to keep quite a busy dancefloor to the end. Also Andy C @ Plan B was another highlight, he was really up for it, played an Essence of Chi selection and totally smashed it.
As a DJ, what’s the most important part to you of constructing a set?
For me, it’s all about the music, if you’re not playing exciting music, then I’m not interested, even if you are a DMC Champion. I also like variation in a set, too much of the same thing and I switch off.
The past couple of years you’ve recently started playing more house and techno. Did you find it was a natural transition from drum and bass? A lot of DJ’s have followed the same path.
To be honest, when I started playing more House & Techno, in 2011, I was feeling a bit jaded with DnB, and I just found the new House & Techno that was coming out to be more exciting. Prior to that I had been playing a bit of House since about 2005, and after the UK House explosion in 2010, it just sort of took over as my favourite new music.
You often play out with Subterra, how does DJing with someone compare to an individual set?
I really like both to be honest. I like playing on my own, as I am in total control and I can take the set on a bit of journey through different styles and sometimes different tempos. I also love playing back to back with other DJs, as you vibe off each other, you don’t know in which direction and that can be really fun.
You both also have a show on Kane FM? How did you get involved in the station? What’s the ethos behind the show?
Subterra has been involved with Kane FM for years, playing DnB mainly, but he had started playing more House & Techno in 2013. We had been doing the odd House & Techno set together, and Subterra decided to start a show mostly dedicated to it and we have been doing it ever since. The ethos is basically Subterra and I doing our thing, mixing up the different styles of new electronic music we are into at that particular time. At the moment there is probably more Techno, than House, but we have also been playing a bit of DnB on every show, as there is a lot of great stuff around at the mo. Catch us every other Saturday 3-5pm on Kane FM, 103.7FM in Guildford and surrounding areas and online.
As a proper music obsessive, can you recommend some labels and producers that you can’t stop listening to at the moment?
In terms of House, I would recommend DJ Haus, and his labels Unknown to the Unknown and Hot Haus, also Food Music, the label from Shadow Child & Kry Wolf.
As far as DnB goes, Ivy Lab are the most exciting artists at the moment for me, especially with their Soulful DnB. Also Metalheadz have a very strong roster at the moment, and Mark System & Fracture are also making top quality DnB.
When it comes to Techno, I have to big up the DEXT label, run by my old friend James Haze. Their 6th Release is out on 15th April, and they have already features some of the most exciting artists in Techno like Dubspeeka, Lo Shea and Alden Tyrell. Their vibe is right up my street – dark and dancefloor. There are 4 tunes from this label in my mix, 1 tune taken form DEXT003 to 006, so if you like my mix, you will like this label.
Having grown up in London, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the scene throughout the years?
It’s hard for me to answer this one, as I was totally immersed in DnB for so many years and now I go to more House & Techno nights. I see a big differences between the two so I can’t really compare to when I first starting going out clubbing. A lot of amazing clubs have closed down over the years, like The End, which is great shame and not many new ones have opened, which is an unfortunate change. I do go to DnB nights still though and when you find a really good one, I don’t think they have changed much at all. A lot of people there are the same as well ha!
What advice would you have for any budding DJ’s?
Never forget that the music is the most important thing, the DJs, the MCs, the equipment used and the media are all secondary in my opinion. When you are learning to mix, record yourself and listen back to improve your technique. Networking is obviously very important as well!
I don’t have any gigs in the diary at the moment sadly but I expect you will catch me at Kane FM nights in the future and also Essence of Chi are planning a come back in 2016, after a 5 year hiatus, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Can you give us a bit of background on the m
I don’t do a lot of studio mixes and this is my 1st Techno mix, so I have basically included my current favourites and some of my top Techno tunes from the last 3 years. There are various styles in there, which I would loosely class as Techno, although some may disagree. It’s certainly not one for the Techno purists and for me it’s more about having fun with Techno, without getting cheesy. My favourite electronic music often falls in the middle ground, with a bit of depth, but also with some dancefloor energy, and hopefully this mix reflects that.