Q&A with DJ Hazard

Dj Hazard is without a doubt one of the UK’s most significant figures in drum and bass. Best known for iconic jump-up bangers such as ‘Mr Happy’, ‘Killers Don’t Die’ and of course the infuriatingly catchy ‘Bricks Don’t Roll’, the Birmingham-born DJ/producer has been pioneering for drum and bass for over a decade. We were given the chance to pick the legendary Playaz affiliate’s brain about the future of jump-up, politics in drum and bass, and his much-anticipated b2b set with Hype at SW4 this year.

What was your favourite set of 2016? 

Tough one, but that’s got to be Boomtown. The response to that was crazy – we never expected the B2B format to go down so well so we were pretty surprised by it all. I guess that show is what sparked us to get some more of the B2B shows set up for this summer.

And your most anticipated set of this summer?

Definitely SW4. It’s a big one for Playaz, and a bit of a homecoming show for the label after the busy summer me and Hype have got traveling all over the show with the B2B. It’ll be good to have everyone together for that one.

To what extent are your global performances significant for UK drum and bass?

You know what, I’ve never thought about it. It’s not really for me to say how significant my sets are, but I do always appreciate being able to represent drum & bass, and our scene in all these amazing places across the world. I’ve been lucky enough to see the popularity of drum & bass grow first hand over the years, it’s no longer a niche sound from the UK, but a truly global sound.

Would you argue with the criticism that jump-up as a sub-genre has reached its maximum potential?

Definitely. Nobody knows where Jump-Up could go – this is the biggest it’s ever been. But who knows what is around the corner? I don’t think anybody has the right to say that “that’s it, it’s all downhill from here” for any genre. It’s a really exciting time for drum & bass at the moment so I’m just looking forward to seeing where it’s going next.

To what extent do you consider the success of ‘Bricks Don’t Roll’ to have impacted the success of jump-up in the years following?

I don’t know how much it impacted the success of Jump-Up as a genre, but the track was definitely more successful than I could ever have expected it to be. It’s just a tune at the end of the day, but if it’s one that put drum & bass in front of people who might have otherwise never listened to it, then that’s definitely a good thing.

Do you think it’s still important for drum and bass artists and consumers to be politically engaged, considering the anarchic history of the genre?

I always try to stay out of politics – I’m not qualified to tell people what’s right or what’s wrong, but if people who listen to drum & bass are engaging in politics then it can’t be a bad thing. Drum & Bass has always been a more rebellious sound, but that doesn’t necessarily just mean anarchy I don’t think; as drum & bass is more accepted by the mainstream it’s always going to have a broader audience, which in turn means a wider selection of political views. As long as everyone loves the music then that’s what matters.

What’s your personal career highlight?

Playing the Arcadia stage at Glastonbury is one I’ll never forget.

What can fans expect to see from you in the future?

I’ve got a big summer of gigs, several more B2B shows with Hype. SW4, of course. And then who knows – maybe I’ll have some more music out at the end of the year? These days I don’t just make music for the sake of it, I only go in the studio when I feel like I need to – the shows we’ve been playing recently have definitely been inspiring a bit of creativity though.