An Australian and Greek descent, the unique triple heritage of Kaz James is unlike many you’ll find in the dance music scene. But much like his origin, Kaz is no ordinary DJ and producer. Growing up in Melbourne, Kaz took early inspiration from his stepfather’s diverse record collection, with emphasis on jazz, rare groove, and house. Upon reading an article on Carl Cox in his teenage years, Kaz’s own career path was decided. With his feet dipped into the waters of the dance scene, the Aussie began producing his own tracks and remixes. A resident at One Love Records, the biggest club night in his native country, his bootleg of Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams’ was picked up by Pete Tong, and Erick Morillo, who frequently used the track in their live sets, catapulting Kaz into a more public eye, where he ended up being handpicked by Frankie Knuckles to open for his Ibiza shows. With the white isle now inevitably calling, Kaz’s Ibiza love affair began in his late teens, upon being given a residency by Pacha.
Can you tell us about your initial experiences with music? Where do some of your earlier influences lie?
I remember watching MTV and Video hits as a kid. I loved groups like Black Box and C&C Music Factory. I thought they were so cool. There was something really exciting and energetic that I loved whenever they came on. I guess these were my earliest memories. I then went on to learn the trumpet. My stepfather was a trumpet player so I was forced to digest a lot of jazz music growing up. However, it was really in my early teens when I discovered dance music properly. I then started DJing and collecting records when I was around 14.
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.
what was the inspiration behind your Ep “Life In Purple” ?
I wanted to create a really strong dancefloor record that I could drop at any time and still get a big reaction. The key change at the drop is definitely my favourite part, that kind of flips it.
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.