Monday, February 27, 2012

Blackdub Podcast #1: DJ Haze

For our inaugural edition of the Blackdub Podcast we asked Red Mist Recordings' label owner DJ Haze to throw it down. He went in deep on this one, carving out a 70 minute slice of tough, uplifting Drum & Bass and we can't thank him enough for his efforts! 

Expect Red Mist tracks past and present, remixes of some of his all time favourites and a few unreleased gems.

Read on for the interview and you can find the podcast player at the bottom of this post along with a link to download the file in glorious 256kbps. Enjoy!

For the people who don't know much about you or the label, can you give us a little background on yourself and Red Mist?
Sure. I started out in the scene MCing for my mate Danny Ethics, that soon sparked an interest in DJing and eventually hosting radio shows, and of course the label.

Red Mist was started by label partner Paul Moody and myself simply because we got tired of being the fans who sat moaning on the sidelines about how we wanted things doing differently. We were alumni of the classic Good Looking era and there were so few labels back then pushing the sounds we were into. It's so easy to sit and criticise when artists or labels change direction but what if you could contribute yourself? It really isn't that hard. We weren't names, we didn't have a lot of money, we just had the will to give it a go. So we got in touch with people in the scene, labels, artists, and took it from there, before we knew it we had enough material for a CD album which felt was the best entry point, soon things had snowballed and we were lucky enough to release music on vinyl as well as CD, which was the ultimate aim.

I'd count Good Looking Records, 720, Covert Operations, Temple, Timeless, Renegade and Purified Audio as influences for Red Mist, in terms of artists we've always loved ASC who has been a big part of Red Mist from the early days to now, and of course other stalwarts of the label including Antibreak, Electrosoul System, Greenfly, FX909 and ICR amongst many others, without them none of it would have been possible.

How would you describe the Red Mist sound/ethos?
I guess deep, danceable atmospheric music, not necessarily sticking to one specific style but each track we sign is always something Paul & I immediately feel is simply Red Mist somehow, when that happens we do everything we can to sign it and the rest usually falls into place. We ignore the trends of the rest of the scene to a large extent which is probably to the detriment of wider success in the market, but we both firmly believe that doing our own thing and sticking to our tastes 100% is the best way to stay interested and retain our integrity. I can honestly say we've never signed a track because we thought it would do well as opposed to simply loving the music. As soon as you cross that line, you lose your identity and when your label isn't a career or an avenue to make you money which Red Mist certainly has never been to us, why release with anything other than the heart?

The last release on Red Mist was the excellent Eleven Shades of Night LP by Antibreak. It's been pretty quiet since then. Any news on what's happening in the future?
It has been quiet, to be honest life has got in the way of things since the Antibreak album, Paul & I have both had our minds on our careers amongst other things with D&B taking a bit of a back seat, but the door hasn't been closed. Our most recent vinyl distributor went bust recently, and the market for CDs is waning but we refuse to take the easy way out and become another digital label. Neither of us see any reason to be involved in this scene as label owners simply putting files on a website, we want to give people something they can hold in ten years and have some memories, you just don't get that from an mp3, and I have great concerns about quality control too. The same tracks you might like but aren't quite good enough to put your money behind can now come out, this can be a good thing but it also brings with it the danger of watering doon the scene, the huge slew of digital content available is a detriment in my opinion as it's just getting too hard for fans to filter the wheat from the chaff, and when you reward mediocre music with a digital release it sends out entirely the wrong message to both the artist and the buying public. But going back to our situation, as soon as we feel we're ready to release again we will, but only when we have full confidence in the music, the format of the release and our ability to dedicate enough time to do it right. 

Are there any artists out there that you're particularly feeling at the moment?
Antibreak still surprises me on a regular basis with his ideas, guys like Yorke, Soultec, Silent Dust, Freebird, Bulb, Mage, Edward Oberon, Shebuzz and East of Oceans are highlights at the moment, and of course ASC just keeps on bringing the quality.

What are your feelings on the general state of D&B and electronic music as a whole right now?
In terms of D&B, the quality of music being released has noticably dropped in recent times in my opinion, partly thanks to the saturation of the scene by there being far too many labels with little genuine identity and it being too easy for artists not quite ready for releases to get tunes out there before they've had the time to perfect their craft, but that could just be me and my ageing ears, who knows! I'd love to see more of a 'quality not quantity' approach, I mean there are digital labels out there churning out 30 releases in the space of a year without the fear of failure that comes with physical releases, and it can be tough to keep up as a listener when that's just one label out of a whole bunch you're following. One of my biggest problems with D&B at the moment is how forgettable a lot of it is, many tracks I hear I think 'yeah this is great', but I can barely remember it the next day, which seems to be a more recent thing to me but again that could just be me and my own changing tastes. I do still occasionally hear tracks which allay my fears I've heard it all though, and the faith is still there that there's life in this music yet. As for other genres I'm enjoying progressive house and trance, both of which are taking up a lot of my time, and have a lot to offer D&B in terms of influences and how they're coping with the changes in market trends I think.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Not much really, I've waffled on enough! I'd just like to say thank you for having me on the podcast and for taking the time to ask these questions, it's been a pleasure answering them and to contribute to what I'm sure will be a great project going forward for Blackdub.
Also, you can check out the Red Mist Recordings website where you can shop for Red Mist releases, download mixes from Paul & myself etc, and Red Mist Radio hosted by myself is every 1st Monday of the month, 7-9pm GMT on Bassdrive.

Scroll down for the podcast player!

Smote - Moonlight [Red Mist]
Native - At My Side [Red Mist]
Atmospherixz - Daytona Dreamz [Red Mist] 
Kyro - Dark Devotion [Red Mist] 
Laroque - Goldfinger (Unreleased Mix) [Hospital] 
Artificial Intelligence & D Bridge - Better Days [Liquid V] 
Mav & Implex - Chasm (Future Engineers Remix) [Covert Operations] 
Method One & Besk One - Between Two Worlds [Levitated] 
Blame - Alpha 7 (ASC VIP) [Unreleased] 
J-Laze - Stratosphere (Remix) [Unreleased] 
Arje - Over Clouds [Red Mist] 
Funky Technicians - Airtight (Furney Remix) [CIA] 
PFM - The Western (Mike's Ricochet Remix) [Good Looking] 

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Thanks to Dark Skies for the webspace!

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