James Zabiela talks to BeatFactor

Southampton's deck wizard James Zabiela has been having an enormous career lift in the past few years. After winning Muzik Magazine's Bedroom Bedlam competition with a string of well-placed mix tapes in 2000, he went on to win the award for Best Bedroom Bedlam DJ at The Muzik Awards one year later. He was snapped up by Sasha's Excession agency soon after that and since then he is constantly touring the world wide, taking his innovative electro sound with live editing and effect units everywhere. Recently we caught up with James in Bucharest just before his set in Kristal Club.

BeatFactor: You have probably been asked this many times, but I'll do it too: how do you always succeed in getting people so hot?

James Zabiela: I don't know (laughing)! It bites me...You know, I just do my thing, what I usually do, I don't know

BF: How do you feel when you realize all these crazy clubbers are bouncing on your music?

JZ: It's great, it's amazing, unbelievable!

BF: Beside these impressive live performances, there are for a while on the market two compilations mixed by you, "Sound In Motion" and "Alive". When should we expect on a third one?

JZ: Well, I just finished one yesterday! Is going to come out in June, is going to be on Renaissance again, is gonna be called "Utilities", is this about utilizing all the difference djs want to make it...I did one cd on Ableton and one cd on the decks, so, yeah, should be out on June 20th.

BF: Let's get back in the past for a little, at the beginnings of your career. Do you happen to remember what actually made you take seriously this job and say "Right, I want to be a dj!".

JZ: I don't know, I think is wanting in the first line putting a record into another. U know, I thought, hey I can do it and then expanded it. I think it started in the first moment when I realize that I could do something, other than do to work, be designer, I can something I love. That was it really. And I always had a passion for music.

BF: You have played with many great djs; is there any of them which truly created an impact upon your dj profile?

JZ: I like different djs, I like very big djs, very popular djs, I like Sasha, Lee Buridge, Danny Howells...I like a mixture of everyone, not just one.

BF: You probably receive hundreds of promo CDr's per month. Ever discovered any talented young pretender between them?

JZ: Oh, yeah, yeah! All the time! There were a couple of guys called "Sound Eggs", they gave me a cd on a gig in Leads when I played there, and is going to be on my next Renaissance cd. I think that's good!

BF: As a dj, how do you see this fact that so much music is out for sale nowadays? Can we speak about a saturation of discs and EPs in the dance music industry?

JZ: Yeah, if you don't do something original and good, all can be washed in a month. It's not really good for a dj, in fact there's not enough time to listen to so much music.

BF: There was somebody saying that after a certain age (let's take 30 years) it is useless to start dj-ing, because there are many other young djs waiting to break the scene. What do you think; the age is so important for starting spinning records?

JZ: I don't think it makes any difference really. I don't think the age is important when you start dj-ing, there are some great djs still gig - ing on 40, even 50 years. They are also djs that can make it, and obviously it takes time to establish a career, but if you want to do it, you just have to go for it, no matter how old you are.

BF: With such a busy schedule, how do you manage to remain sane?

JZ: I don't know! Tonight Romania, tomorrow back in London, next Saturday Italy, Cyprus Monday.

BF: How's the Romanian clubbing scene, comparatively with the international one?

JZ: Amazing, absolutely, I'm sure! I also played on the Black See Coast and I was really happy there.

BF: Could you make a short description of your dj-ing style?

JZ: No (laughing), so much various stuff....

BF: What changes will be in the electronic music in five years, in your estimation?

JZ: I don't know, is always above, all the time, I don't think is going to be any dramatic change; it's just the technology and fashion. I just play what I like.

BF: How's your musical production part? Shall we see some original tracks soon, or you just stick on your edits for the moment?

JZ: Yeah, I finished 3 tracks, there are going to come out next month on Renaissance again, and two of them will be featured on the compilation.

BF: What is the best way for a new comer dj to get him noticed these days, when this industry has become so crowded?

JZ: Just have to give cds to everyone, through the internet, give it out. That's the only way, I guess, giving cds.

BF: Do you think in the next few years the djs will definitely give over the vinyl in favor of cds?

JZ: I think some will, but not everyone. Some people will use FinalScratch, Ableton , cds, I think is the personal preference. They'll have to stop manufacturing vinyl, so people could play only on cd.

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James Zabiela talks to BeatFactor

May 21, 2005 at 6:15 PM CEST


Dragos Rusu

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