Headlining numerous shows around the globe, local producer and DJ Haezer is making an impressive mark with his brand of trash/electro. Perdeby caught up with him to talk about his upcoming full-length album and being a perfectionist.
How do you see trash/electro evolving? Kids are more open to cleaner bass lines and more melody. The “bangers” being played at the moment have more melody and very simple structures. The electro crowd, in my opinion, is over just hearing hardcore trash tracks one after the other and expect DJs/producers to be more creative and versatile with their choice of songs/sounds. You’re working on an album at the moment. When can fans expect to get their hands on it? We’re aiming for the end of August/September. What made you decide to finally take the risk of making a full-length album? I wanted to release a body of work that works as a whole and not just singles one after the other. Another reason is to turn my DJ sets into live sets. I might release a six-track EP or an album. You’re a self-confessed perfectionist. At what point do you decide that a track is complete? When I can’t find anything to criticise. I generally don’t care too much about what other people think. Definitely take the people close to me and fellow producers seriously when they give feedback, but the moment when I believe a track is done, no one can convince me otherwise. You are a pioneer in the electro scene in South Africa and someone that other people in the industry really look up to. Does this put pressure on you with this upcoming album? I feel a great deal of pressure concerning this album/EP, just because it’s the next step in my career. The next stage. In my mind, this new album is my best work and I believe it will bump up my name in the international DJ/producer market. If it does nothing for me, I will have to reconsider what I’m doing. It’s a good product and some big labels are showing interest. So, I just have to wait and see. There seems to be a lot of DJs in the South African electro scene but not as many producers. Why do you think that is? The funny thing is that there are plenty of electro producers – they are just too shy to play their own stuff. Remember, electro is quite young and a lot of kiddos are just DJing electro because it’s the “cool” thing to do. Now, electro is not as popular as it was and the real producers and authentic DJs are sticking it out and doing what they love because they love it and not cause its “cool”. How has the electro scene in South Africa changed since you first started out? It’s definitely grown a lot and became quite popular. It’s now the norm to have an electro tent at pretty much every festival in Cape Town and Johannesburg. What I liked about it in the beginning was that it was still quite underground and had quite a punk attitude about it. Now you hear electro at jock jols in Claremont. In the end, I don’t really care. As long as people get to hear good music. You’ve headlined quite a few international gigs. Does it ever feel a bit surreal when you think of how far you’ve come since you first started out? I’m grateful for the small gigs when I started. It definitely grounded me and I learned a lot about the industry and what can go wrong and how to deal with it. By the time I started playing big gigs, I was used to dealing with technical issues and thinking on my feet. You were in Thailand in January, Australia in February, you’re going to be in Austria and Sweden in July and then you also have an upcoming UK tour. Does the constant travelling ever get a bit much? I love travelling. It’s one of the quirks of DJ’ing I enjoy most. When I’m away for two months at a time, it does get a bit much. But I really love experiencing all the different cultures and cuisines around the world and always meeting new people and making awesome friends all over the world. How does it feel when you’re standing in front of a crowd, watching them go crazy to your music? It’s the pay-off for all the work I put into my tracks. There’s no better feeling, seeing how people react to the beats I make and seeing people freak out, but at the same time with a smile on their faces. How has the internet changed the way musicians such as yourself work? It’s changed the way I market myself and my approach on sharing music. I don’t make any money with record sales. I make my living through DJ gigs. The only way to get gigs is to have a demand for your brand. Your brand is only as good as your tracks as a producer and performance as a DJ. The internet has made it possible to do international gigs much sooner in your career, but it’s also made it harder in the long term because there is so much music out there that is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. It has set the bar very high in terms of quality. Anyone can be an overnight success, but to stay successful for the next five (or even ten) years is the real challenge. See a DJ Haezer video pPerdeby748a. Photo: Eleanor Harding