Becky Lucas cornered London’s Pure Garage guru mid-flow, ahead of his Dubai set this week.
What’s the difference between working on a pirate and working on a licensed radio station?
It’s very similar, other than the fact that obviously pirate stations are illegal so there’s always a risk and a worry of being shut down, and equipment and records being seized by the authorities. My reason for being on radio in the first place was to get my sound out there and obviously legal radio offers many more opportunities for that. Their equipment and studio is very professional and the coverage is much better than on a pirate station. But the basics are very much the same.
Why did you change your name from Easy O to EZ? Did you change as a person?
No, not at all, but the music I was playing at the time changed. I was Easy O for around 5 Years playing Acid house, house and techno. Then there was another name change to ‘EZO’ (pronounced EE ZEE O) for around a year or two when I mainly played hardcore and house. The next DJ name change to EZ was around the time of the beginnings of the UK Garage sound. It was really only just being developed and I decided that it was the style of music I wanted to play, so I thought to myself, “new sound, new name,” and with a new show on a new station I just wanted everything to be fresh. EZ (pronounced EEE ZED) was a cool sounding name too.
At one point you were playing ‘an average of four clubs a night every weekend’ – how did you manage to get to so many different places so quickly? Do you have special powers?
It’s all planned out thoroughly by my office beforehand. Obviously the distances and travel times have to be checked to see if it’s feasible, but that’s really all there is to it. Many DJs do it, nowadays I only have so many gigs on seasonal nights, such as Christmas, new year and bank holidays, other than that the most I do is three in one night.
How did you meet your sidekick Winston? Who is he? What does he do?
I met Winston through a friend of mine and we soon realised our personalities were very similar and we both loved to joke about. I thought that our silly conversations and banter would work well on my [UK radio station] Kiss FM, so I decided to bring him down to the studio. He’s been my radio show assistant/co-host ever since and of course, a really good friend.
What do you like about garage music? Do you think it’s coming back/never went away/has changed at all?
The thing I like about garage music is that there is no set formula for the productions, so the sounds are all very different: some garage sounds very ‘housey’, some tracks sound like drum’n’bass – such as DJ Zinc’s productions. It has changed very much, but a lot of the productions coming out at the moment are reminiscent of the original UK garage sound, so I think it may have gone full circle.
Where do you think the biggest garage scene is?
It’s most definitely still in the UK; it’s a home-grown sound. The people who love garage and have grown up with it are all still there, when I go to clubs people respond to the music as they always have. Also, because the sound has a strong appeal to both the young and old, I find that it attracts a new audience week by week. The UK garage scene is very much alive and well in the UK, it’s just now that it’s also developing abroad and I’m getting more and more bookings for new global destinations, which is very exciting.
Do you ever play any rave or hardcore house anymore?
Yes, I do special one-off radio shows and I also play it at some gigs I go to, where I think it’ll work.
The thing I most regret is…
Never having flown on Concorde – especially when I had a chance to on a flight home from America, due to the amount of air miles I’d racked up.
My favourite website is…
I have to say my own, www.djez.com. Check it out.
My prized possession is…
Most definitely my music collection. I’ve worked hard on it over the years.
You wouldn’t see me dead in…
A Fiat Multipla!
Glitter feat. DJ EZ and DJ Flex is being held at Elegante on Friday February 8, Dhs125.