An Australian of both Italian, and Greek descent, Kaz James is one of electronic music’s most indispensable talents, finding a home for his floor-filling sounds on some of the most respected labels in the scene, which include Circus, Objektivity, Saved, FFRR, and Glasgow Underground.
Honing his craft, and identifying a natural talent for DJ’ing, Kaz soon found himself holding down a weekly residency at iconic Ibiza superclub Pacha, with Nic Fanciulli’s for his ‘We are the Night’ parties. Ten years on, he is still a Pacha regular, whilst also producing tracks for pop favourites like Kelis, and Macy Gray, skillfully blurring the lines between underground and chart-friendly sounds. However, it’s his enduring love for house music that always shines through.
Kaz kicked off the new decade with a remix of Coldplay’s chart-ascending single ‘Orphans’, delivering a rousingly atmospheric rework of the world-conquering track, before linking up with Hot Creations affiliate Ali Love on an emotion-tinged progressive house cut ‘Stronger’.
With a current shift in sound, and creative vision, this burst of output signifies the start of a new artistic chapter in the story of this talent artist.
Kaz James Ft. Ali Love – Stronger is OUT JUNE 12TH 2020
Balance Selections Q+A
Name: Kaz James
Location: Los Angeles
Alias/Producer name: Kaz James
Labels affiliated with: THREE SIX ZERO Recordings, Circus, Objektivity, Saved, and FFRR
My recent releases:
Kaz James feat. Al Love – Stronger [THREE SIX ZERO]
Coldplay – Orphans (Kaz James Remix) [PARLOPHONE]
Kaz James feat. Mr. ID & Kawtar Sadik – Through Your Love (Guy Gerber Remix) [FFRR]
What music did you listen to as a child?
Growing up there was a lot of music in the house. My step father was a Jazz musician, so we listened to a lot of Jazz. He would play a lot of music from artists like Dizzy Gillespie, and Louis Armstrong.
When was the first time that you realised that you liked electronic music?
We had a show in on Saturday mornings in Melbourne where I grew up called ‘Smash Hits’, kind of like MTV. I would religiously watch it every Saturday morning. I remember loving groups like C+C Music Factory, KLF, Culture Beat, and Deee Lite. That was definitely my first introduction on a commercial level. However, where I really started listening continuously to electronic music was from my auntie she was always out at the clubs so she was always coming home playing a lot of disco and retro, which I loved. I remember being obsessed with the record ‘Born to be Alive’ by Patrick Hernandez.
When was the first time you saw a DJ in a club?
I went to a rave at one of the local School gymnasiums, up the road from my house. I remember it was called something like ‘Ballistix’, when I was 13. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I was obsessed they were playing more rave music then, and all the kids put talcum powder on the floor so they could shuffle better. I remember hearing a record for the first time called ‘Loops & Tings’ by Jens. It had this (what I thought at the time), a dope intro. That was probably my first introduction to watching a proper DJ play. I have no idea who it was, some local guy. Could’ve been Anthony Pappa (who knows), he grew up down the road from me. We actually went to the same high school. But I never met him till years later. Great DJ!
Which producers/artists/acts inspire you?
As I grew up into my later teens, I really fell in love with House and Disco. I loved the scene and everything about it. It was cool, it was sexy, and no one gave a fuck where you were from. Gay or Straight, Black or White, Gangster or Supermodel, no-one cared, it just had a certain energy and vibe that I loved. I started to listen to (and was heavy inspired by), DJ’s and producers like Mark Farina, MAW, Derrick Carter, Thomas Banglalter, and Erick Morillo, the list goes on and on! Especially guys like Morillo and Carter, they could play three records all night like a steam train, and keep it sexy. I also really loved DJs like Carl Cox and Jeff Mills, some times musically it was a little too hard for me, but technically these guys where on another level that I wanted to be at too.
What was the last album that you downloaded/bought?
Recently I downloaded all the Beatles albums after I watched their documentary ‘Eight days a Week’. There was so much music on there that I had forgotten about, and some that believe it or not, never heard. So, I wanted to listen to it all. I’m now officially obsessed with their record ‘I Want You (She so Heavy)’.
What is your current production and DJ set up like?
I started DJ’ing on vinyl when I was 14. It really took me a lot to transition to USB sticks, and I really couldn’t get my head around the whole CDJ thing for a while. Now I get it, but to be honest, if they still pressed every release on vinyl, I would probably still just play vinyl. It sounds better, and it has an instant vibe. But, in saying that, when I make music now, I’m mainly all in the box. It’s quicker and soft synths are so good these days. I occasionally like to use my Juno 106 and my Rhodes but mostly it’s just plug-ins. My main studio is above the Shoreditch Grind, in London. However, I have little set ups in L.A., Melbourne, and Mykonos. Basically, places where I spend a lot of time. Nothing fancy, just a small keyboard, and some little powered Yamaha HS5 monitors. It’s enough to write and produce a record these days, but I mainly finish all my records in my studio in London.
What releases do you have on the horizon?
I actually finished my new single ‘Stronger’ in L.A., and it turned out great, and it features my good friend Ali Love on vocals.
Tell us more about the podcast you made for Balance?
I made the mix at my place in L.A. I’ve been kind of stuck here during COVID-19 waiting for the borders to open up, so I can get to Mykonos for my summer residency at Scorpios starting at the beginning of July. It felt weird making the mix, because at the time there were proper riots going on just down the road from my place, so the energy was super weird, so it took me a while to get it feeling right, and block out what was happening around me. I really liked how it turned out in the end, and you can check out my new single ‘Stronger’ that’s in the mix… LOL.
The top track in my DJ wallet currently is:
To be honest, I’ve have been getting the most traction right now from my Coldplay remix of ‘Orphans’. It’s a mad one, as they don’t often release any of the remixes they get, but I loved doing it, and everyone’s been asking me for it.
If I could recommend only one of my tracks for you to listen to it would be:
I’m really proud of the production on the record I made with Nick Morgan called ‘Twisted’, we really nailed that one.
If I could recommend only one track for you to listen to it would be:
My favourite record of all time is ‘Relight my Fire’ Dan Hartan. I just think this record is an absolute masterpiece from start to finish it’s like 10 great songs in one piece of music. Plus, it was also mixed down by Francois K… FYI, which is dope!
The last movie I watched that I really liked:
Once upon a time in Hollywood – It’s truly an amazing movie. I went back and watched it maybe 4-5 times now, and it just gets better and better.
My favourite TV show:
‘Curb your Enthusiasm’ is my favourite at the moment. I’m an old Seinfeld fan, so I guess I just love that kind of humour.
Balance Selections 134: Kaz James
1. DJ Buck ‘Make It Hot’ (Dub)
2. Motor City Drum Ensmeble – 04 Raw Cuts #3 (Original Mix)
3. Coyu, Uner – Raw Sweat
4. Marius Laurentiu, Andrea Bigi – Rainbow (Original Mix)
5. Knee Deep – Can We Really Do This?
6. Kirk Degiorgio, Esoterik – Starwaves (Spirit Catcher Remix)
7. Unknown – Alma
8. Unknown – Handsome
9. Damiano von Erckert – Housem (Remastered Version)
10. Sebastien Vorhaus, 4004 – Room Selections B (Original Mix)
11. Dwayne Jensen – My People (Original Mix)
12. Zaid Abdulrahim – Maximum Curves (Magic Touch Remix)
13. Ii Faces – Jasmin (Abra Edit Vox)
14. Kaz James feat. Al Love – Stronger