If you were anywhere near the bassPOD on Sunday night, you know that one of the most highly anticipated drum and bass sessions was the epic back-to-back from Hype and Hazard. With each one a legend in his own right, the Playaz vibe was thick as the pair smashed their way through an hour of hypnotic bassline rollers, jump-up classics, and straight up dancefloor bangers. Not satisfied with the usual double and triple drop action, the crowd was treated to Hype cutting, scratching, dropping doubles, and straight-up remixing tunes on the fly as well.
With our social media feed blowing up over the set, the anticipation is high as Hype and Hazard prepare to bring the heat to Los Angeles this Friday night at the Belasco Theatre in yet another Bassrush takeover (lock in your tickets here). To get you primed for the action and to get a sense of just how monumental and historic this pairing is on this side of the pond, we thought we’d take you straight to the source and let Hype and Hazard drop some knowledge on us before we dive right in.
Let’s go back to the beginning. Do you remember the first time you met each other? Did you know who the other was at that time?
Hazard: I think the first time we met was when I was a guest on his radio show. I was more of a newcomer back then though so he probably didn’t really know who I was, but we were in the same studio! It wasn’t long after that when he called me for the first time to ask me to do a remix, and then after that he called to say that he didn’t realise I wasn’t signed, and would I like to join Playaz?
Hype: I used to get dubs of Hazard from Jason at Back To Basics Records many moons ago and I just assumed Hazard was signed to Back To Basics. I called up Jason to ask when Hazard’s track would be released, and he replies he has no idea as Hazard ain’t signed to him at all, they just worked together in a record shop. So I called Hazard up and offered for him to join Playaz, and the rest is history.
At what point do you remember the b2b idea coming up and what did you initially think of it?
Hazard: I can’t remember exactly who came up with the idea, but I remember our agent persuading us that it was something we should do. I was never that fussed about doing b2b sets, but I went along with it because Hype convinced me it would be fun. After seeing the reaction at Boomtown and doing a lot more since then, I guess he was right.
Hype: Neither of us are particularly fond of b2bs but we did Boomtown in 2016 and it was a game-changer; the response to our set was overwhelming and we agreed to do more as a result. We’ll keep doing it as long as we don’t rinse [the concept] out, as we are both individual artists in our own right. But yeah, it’s been fun so far.
What do you think the key to a successful b2b performance is?
Hazard: Our key is that we don’t plan anything. We both know each other so well that it just works, and that’s why it’s successful, I suppose. We’re not forcing anything.
Hype: I think two DJs have to connect in styles. Me and Hazard have totally different styles of mixing and DJing really, but the two styles seem to gel.
What kind of preparation do you guys put into it? Do you chat about what each other is playing before you go on? Any tunes that are off limits for the other one to play?
Hype: We just vibe and get on with it; we have never rehearsed together, ever. We just do what we call “winging it.” I think it’s more fun that way.
Hazard: We will chat about who goes first, mainly. I usually get Hype to play the first track, and to finish as he likes to have a little mix at the end. It’s a bit of a free-for-all, though. There’s definitely tunes which we know each other usually play, or like to play, so most of the time we’ll just let each other do our thing. Sometimes I’ll play a track that I know Hype wants to lay, just to wind him up and annoy him. I’ll look over with a smile and a wink.
Any advice for other producers out there asked to team up with another artist for a festival on the b2b tip?
Hype: Producers? Thought we were talking about DJing?
Hazard: Yeah, it’s nice to team up with someone on occasion for these b2b sets, but don’t lose your identity. It’s great to be associated with other DJs and groups, but if you have your own identity and direction, you don’t want to end up being forever known as a duo when that’s not really who you are.
It’s great to be associated with other DJs and groups, but if you have your own identity and direction, you don’t want to end up being forever known as a duo when that’s not really who you are.
You’ve both been around a while. What’s the biggest difference between crowds back in the day and crowds now?
Hazard: I’ve thought a lot about this recently and I don’t think the crowds are changing, I think it’s me. There was a time when I thought the crowds were all getting younger, but really it’s just me getting older! It’s funny, I’ll be at a gig and see someone in the crowd and think, “should you be out this late?!” I’m a father of four now so it’s definitely changed my perspective I think, but as long as everyone is still loving it, that’s the most important thing.
Hype: Nothing, really; the music, fashion and dance styles change and evolve, but at the end of the day it’s still a DJ playing some intense music to a crowd that love to party.
Hazard, it’s been over a decade since you’ve been to North America. It’s been a dream of so many people to see you here on our shores. What’s changed and did pairing up with Hype have anything to do with getting you on a plane?
Hazard: I did try and tour Canada about four years ago but it didn’t go so well. The big reason I’ve not been touring abroad recently is due to travel sickness, but last year I got this new medication which just takes all the sickness and anxiety away, and has allowed me to start considering overseas shows again. It’s great, and yeah, it was definitely a plus knowing I’d be touring with Hype for this trip. Touring is always more fun with a mate.
Hype, now that Hazard is returning to North America after an extended exile, did you have a chat with him about what’s changed and what’s stayed the same?
Hype: To be honest, I myself have not been to the USA since 2013 I think, so I am kinda rediscovering the USA myself. It’s one big adventure for us both, really.
Bonus question for Hazard: “Mr. Happy” still makes the crowds go wild and we hear DJs dropping it at least once at every festival. Do you feel like DnB owes you money for that one and that a certain percentage of all DJ fees should be sent your way as a legacy payment?
Hazard: [Laughs] To be honest, I think it’s the other way around. I owe the scene for the way that the track has been treated! It’s amazing to see so many DJs still supporting it, and even just for the nice nostalgia when you hear it dropped. Even if you don’t like it I think most people can appreciate it so I should probably be paying other DJs back for keeping it so popular for so long!