DJ Ease tells Time Out about spiritual calm and experimental sets
What can we expect from you on the night? I try not to pre-meditate too much but generally I’ll go from old-school to new-school tunes – from old funk and positive grooves down to head-noddin’ beats… I don’t really know the whole scope of what it’s going to be yet so I’ll have to measure it on the night. How big is the capacity at The Warehouse?
Er, I’m really bad at this. About 300-400 people in the club area? Oh, that’s perfect – there’s nothing more challenging than DJing in a massive club and being miles away from the crowd. I come from house parties, illegal parties, stuff like that, so for me there’s nothing better than being in the crowd. I’ll be spinning tracks from my Wax On label and some new twisted hip hop electronica stuff. I reckon I’ll go completely experimental with it all and ride the vibe on out. I like to go on a bit of a trip when I DJ – like sampling live and bringing grooves and loops in, going nuts, then bringing the crowd back with tunes they know.
How did you start out? For me it began in 1979, when I was nine years old. My brother’s friend had a reggae soundsystem and through them I learned about The Scientist, a reggae producer who would make these dub albums. I started collecting them because they had these cartoon-style covers, but I began to study him as a producer. I progressed from that to ska, then hip hop, and by 1982 I was experimenting with making my own mix albums on a tape recorder. Then I met a guy called Kevin Harper [who would become one half of Nightmares On Wax before he left Ease with the name] who taught me to scratch on his mum’s hi-fi. At 16 we did a 20-minute set at a club called Downbeat and the following week they called us back to do the whole night. We kept playing there and years later eventually ended up running the club!
What about production? In the late ’80s we met Steve Beckett who’d just set up Warp records. He gave us a record deal for a single called ‘Dextrous’. That turned into a two-single deal, then an album deal, then a three album deal, then a five album deal. And it just kept growing like that.
I’ve heard that since you became a father you’ve started to think a bit more deeply about life. Do you take yourself more seriously now? I take myself less seriously! [Laughs] It’s funny how people receive that information – they say, ‘He’s more serious now.’ But no, I’m less serious even though I look at life in a deeper way. Once you go into these realms of self-realisation, you notice that all the old clichés are true – that belief and faith in what you do will get the right outcome, and that changing the way you look at something changes thing you’re looking at. Mostly it’s about getting rid of stress – I’m not mentally busy right now, even though I’ve got more projects happening than I’ve ever had in my life.
What projects? Wax On’s just released a second compilation album and I’m working on a compilation for Ministry Of Sound, a best of for Nightmares On Wax and production on The Deadbeats’ new album as well as writing a new LP for myself. So that’s where I am. Oh, and I’m organising a weekly radio show on Ibiza Sonica (www.ibizasonica.com) called Wax Da Box and some beach parties called Wax The Beach. It’s great! I’m loving it! It’s like being a kid again! DJ Ease plays The Warehouse on July 18.
The Ease life
DJ Ease’s five-step inspirational guide to improving your day
Step one: When you wake in the morning, you must recognise your state of being – that is, where you are in that moment – then be grateful and thank yourself from within. Don’t give thanks for what you have – just for your existence.
Step two: Visualise in your mind the day ahead no matter whether it holds work, family or fun. See yourself enjoying doing it all and it being easy! Have a great day – it’s all yours!
Step three: Tell yourself, ‘I am brand new, like every moment’ and that you love yourself. By doing this you send a warming message to every person that encounters you throughout the day. They will pick up on that loving energy of yours!
Step four: Accept challenges as indicators to show you how far you have come. It’s not what happens that matters but how you deal with it. Choice is your power.
Step five: Before you go to sleep be thankful for the day and be excited about tomorrow’s mystery.