Interview by Arnold van der Walt
Australian producer Kaz James has just released his latest single ‘Paradise’ alongside frequent collaborator Nick Morgan today via Glasgow Underground. His debut on the prominent British label, Kaz has played with his sound over the last couple of years finding success in each venture. His team up with David Guetta (‘Blast Off’) shot him into the international circuit where he has since travelled the world, bringing his music to a wider audience. His previous release on Saved Records, ‘Twisted’, was also a collaboration with Nick Morgan, proving that the two really blends well together.
Kaz James’ latest single’s title, ‘Paradise’, perfectly encapsulates the summer-feel of this smooth house track. ‘Paradise’ features samples from Sade’s track of the same name and her voice blends in effortlessly with the layered production. The song conjures up images of cocktails, sunsets on the beach and summer romance.
Kaz James recently had Sunday residency at one of the most picturesque venues in all of Europe, Greece’s Scorpio Mykonos, where he performed alongside acts like Black Coffee and Arthur Baker.
We caught up with Kaz James ahead of his release of ‘Paradise’ and spoke about growing up with musicians, working with Nick Morgan, and building an emotional atmosphere.
Set the tone for us. Why did you decide to go into the music industry? Why the arts?
I guess you become who you hang out with. My family was involved in night life and my step Dad was a jazz musician. So I was forced to play the trumpet which I hated and somewhere along the line I found house music and then that was that. I kind of knew what I wanted to do by the age of 15.
‘Twisted’ with Nick Morgan is a fantastic track. How was the response to it?
Response has been great I’m super happy with how the record turned out and it was super cool working with Nick. He’s a great new producer from LA and really glad he’s on my new record ‘Paradise’ as well. Working together just comes so naturally, it’s nice to be able to have that creative relationship with someone.
Today marks the release of another track with Nick Morgan, ‘Paradise’. What do you hope fans can take away from this?
This record started out as a little bit of fun but the response and demand from the record was so big we decided we should put it out properly. It’s a bit different from what I usually release as it’s this huge disco number.
What did the creation of ‘Paradise’ entail?
A lot of red wine and a bit of inspiration from a Tim Sweeney and Eric Duncan mix tape.
On a related note, how do you go about selecting who you want to collaborate with, or is it more of an organic process?
Producers can get weird about who they work with but I’m down to work with anyone especially people from different genres as I find it refreshing and inspirational. The idea of collaborating is being able to bring different styles and techniques to the table so you can learn from each other and create something really unique.
What’s on your current playlist?
I listen to so much music it changes everyday but to be honest I listen to a lot of rock music more than anything. It’s always good to have a break from dance music every now and then otherwise you’ll burn out!
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Yes, Nick Morgan – he’s dope and should definitely be on everyone’s radar. Check him out!
If you had to choose between never playing live again or never being able to release new music again, which would you choose, and why?
I would have to play records. Being a DJ and being able to build an emotional atmosphere in a club and just watching the crowd go crazy – nothing really compares to that. The music I produce is stuff I make for myself, not for the the pat on the back so I could live without that.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage/social media/etc?
I suck at social media to be honest but I’m getting better. I’m not really the type of person to share my personal life with the world, but I feel my fans know and respect that about me.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
A bottle of red wine.
Every Sunday, you play at Scorpio Mykonos in Greece. What has that experience been like?
It’s definitely been challenging at times, but it’s been an amazing experience helping build something so successful alongside some great artists like Sneaky Sound System. I’m looking forward to seeing how we can expand the residency and the tribe that we have coming week in, week out.
How have the shows been alongside Black Coffee and Agoria?
They were super fun. It was cool to have them join us on Sunday and I hope to have them back soon. They are both rockstars, so I appreciate the fact that they wanted to play and they’re artists that I really look up to.
What gets your creative juices flowing? How do you make sure you stay in the zone?
I think it’s important to do something creative everyday. Like anything, it’s just practice and the more you do the better you become. For me inspiration comes from everywhere. Sometimes it’s from reading, other times it’s just from conversation.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Practice makes perfect. But to be honest, no one is ever perfect and we should always keep learning from our peers!
Let’s get technical for a moment: take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
My set up these days is basically Ableton, a lot of guitars, Juno and a moog. NS10s, K&Hs, and Quested monitors and a great sounding room in east London.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year? Performances, new music, album, etc.
Have a few more records coming out before the end of the year that I’m really excited about and an album early next year!
Kaz, thank you so much for taking the time to chat to The Playground. Before you go, what are your famous last words?
Enjoy yourself as much as humanly possible!