When it comes to South Africa’s top electronic exports, you don’t get much bigger than Haezer. Over the past few years, he’s exploded in both the local and international electronic dance scenes. His filthy basslines and hard-hitting drops can send any crowd bouncing through the roof!
Haezer’s played alongside some of the biggest bass-heavy electro acts on the planet, like Crookers, Alex Metric, The Bloody Beetroots, SebastiAn, Must Die, Feed Me and the god of all that is techno … Gessafelstein! He has no intention of slowing down anytime soon, and has recently embarked on his sixth European tour, which saw him tear through those international crowds just like he does back home.
Having recently signed a deal with Kannibalen Records and releasing his track “Mind Off” with the one and only Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo of the Bloody Beetroots, we simply cannot wait for his upcoming EP, which will be released at the end of September and will feature “Machine”. The future looks bright for Haezer as he journeys on to take over the planet with his music and we can’t wait to watch it all unfold!
We spoke to him ahead of his brief return to Jozi for Grietfest … he had some pretty awesome stuff to say with one or two surprises thrown in here and there. Who knew one of the filthiest names in South African music could be such a gent?
What are your favourite things to do when visiting beautiful Joburg?
Haezer: Joburg is a very vibrant city and the beauty of Joburg for me lies in the people. I just love hanging with my homies and once in a while I’ll go animal gazing on my friend’s family reserve.
What is your favourite Joburg bar and clubbing spot?
Haezer: Bar I would say Great Dane, club I’d say And. The sound is amazing and I like that you can smoke in the club 😉
Tell us three things you love most about Joburg … the things that keep you coming back for more!
Haezer: The people, the vibrant nightlife and the amazing gigs I get to play there, of course!
In the most creative way possible, how would you describe your sound?
Haezer: Imagine a steam train going at 130bpm, with subs as the engine and the tracks made of rhythm and percussion and these train tracks take different routes and bends and are laid over bridges that cross oceans of more organic sounds humming along to the industrial sound of the brakes and sheer power of the train … imagine that and throw in some distortion.
What would your fans be surprised to learn about you?
Haezer: I’ve never done drugs. I don’t smoke weed, but I like the smell of it. I listen to blues and enjoy good whiskey and I am totally addicted to coffee.
What can we expect from Grietfest 2015 and what do you think separates it from your average Joburg blowout?
Haezer: The organisers are very passionate about music and spend a lot of time curating the lineup. You can expect a perfect flow of genres building towards the end of the night with terrific sound and an awesome location. Grietfest is still my favourite festival to play in SA.
If you could give any piece of advice to young, aspiring DJs and producers, what would it be?
Haezer: Be unique, don’t release until you are 100% ready for what will follow if people actually like your stuff and want to book you, work your ass off, get enough sleep, don’t party all the time thinking you can still be productive, be open-minded and, when you are ready, get a team behind you.
In today’s clubbing culture, which is highly prominent in Joburg, do you believe a crowd is able to appreciate the complexity of your DJ sets without knowing exactly what is going on behind the decks?
Haezer: Yes, that’s the point, really. The clubbing scene is for people who want to let off some steam, dance and enjoy electronic music. Your job as a DJ is to take the people on a journey, keep their interest and keep them dancing. I believe when I do crazy transitions and long build ups people know what’s going on, because they know a lot of the tracks and can hear how it’s being manipulated … that creates excitement and tension. The wall between artist and audience has been slowly taken down through social media and there is almost no mystery involved anymore. I personally don’t think this is the best thing for the music industry and for artists, I always love going to see my favourite artists and marvel at the sounds they are creating and part of the magic for me is that I don’t know what they are doing or how they are doing it.
Do you alter your sets depending on the audience you are playing to? What seems to hit the spot with the Joburg crowds?
Haezer: I don’t plan sets, I do it off the cuff. With massive festivals I prepare a set, but I play off CDJs, so if I can see the crowd is not feeling it, I try feel it out and alter the set accordingly. I must admit, with the JHB audience these days, they are so open to anything and it’s awesome to play for them more so than other places as they don’t put these expectations on you, they just want to hear great music and appreciate it so much when you pull it off.
Don’t miss Haezer’s set at Grietfest … catch him on the Olmeca Main Stage at 19:00. For more Grietfest info, click here.
By Adam Lenhoff