UK Garage legend DJ EZ took his set on tour and visited Gothenburg for the first time ever. HMWL met him for a short interview.
He was the radio pirate who became legal and eventually a legendary conqueror. As a fourteen year old kid, back in 1988, DJ EZ started airing house music on pirate radio station Dance 93FM. After 25 years of working with music he has a thick résumé, skills like no one else and a fabled status.
Through his ”Pure Garage”-compilations, first one released in 2000, DJ EZ has given garage mixing a face. The Ministry of Sound-series was widely acclaimed both in the UK and worldwide, but it is through his live performances that his true skills show. He has been a legend within his own genre for a long time, but through his Boiler Room sessions and extensive touring he has taken garage and rapture around the world.
It is hard to explain what it is like to experience DJ EZ live. It is a sprawling compilation of tracks, kept together by a 6ft tall joy spreading menace. He is said to be the best UK Garage DJ living and when he take his place behind the mixer he does nothing but to prove that what is said is true. His way of experimenting with worn-down refrains from Nirvana, Pharrel Williams and well-known old school r&b samples is ground breaking. By using the cue button as an MPC he shreds the clichés and make the crowd go from wide-eyed staring to intense dancing and back again.
I met DJ EZ for a quick chat just after he had seduced the crowd of Yaki-Da in Gothenburg with his good manners and insane mixing skills. The day before he performed in prestigious Social Club in Paris together with Kartell so when the Yaki-Da crew were to pick him up for his set he just opened the door and said he needed more time in bed. He arrived a couple of minutes before he entered the booth and just blew everyone away. His smile when the crowd cheers gives him away: that is what keeps him going.
Björn: You´ve had twenty years in the game so far. Looking out for twenty more?
DJ EZ: Oh, yeah! Forty more!
What is it that makes the way you DJ so special?
DJ EZ: Mainly it is because I have been DJing for a long time and because of the background that I come from. I first started DJing when I was 13 years old. Back then I was into r’n’b, reggae and soul and that sort of stuff and I have carried that over into what I do now. So I play new school and old school and mix it up and I am just trying to make the party move, you know. That´s me!
They call you the legend and king of UKG, but who is your god?
DJ EZ: One person: my mum! That´s who I look up to!
Your quickness and your creativity: where you born with it or is it something that you´ve learned over the years?
DJ EZ: I think it is something that you actually learn or someone can teach you, but I think I was born with it. It´s a little talent, something I am gifted with. Again I thank my mum!
What are the major events that have made you what you are today?
DJ EZ: I´d say that it´s various things, such as like my first show on pirate radio in Britain when i was 14 years old. And then I had a few more pirate shows and then I went on to my first legal show, which was Kiss FM in London. I´ve been there for 14 years and I´d that the thing that has made me noticed across the world has to be the Boiler Room session. I´ve done two Boiler Room sets and it has opened a lot of doors.. and of course with the likes of Disclosure as well. Their music is garage orientated so they have opened a lot of doors for myself and many other garage DJs across the world.
So what do you have left?
DJ EZ: I am going to do my eight-hour set on Sunday, which I am looking forward to. I am going to be in the US for the first time, and I am going to play in Hollywood, Detroit and Miami. It just go on, and I am so grateful. Forty more years to go!