Name: Lady Tazz
Occupation: DJ, producer
Current release: Lady Tazz's debut release as a producer, "Dragon Lady", features spoken word vocals by Ursula Rucker and includes a T78 Remix. It is out now on CODEX.
Recommendation: These are my all time favourites: Music – "Dreams, Stevie Nicks Remix (Deep Dish remix)"; Painting - Judith Beheading Caravaggio.
If you enjoyed this interview with Lady Tazz, visit her on Instagram for current updates.
When did you start DJing - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
Let’s just start by saying I have been raving since I was 16 years old. I always had the DJ inside of me. I have been playing for some time now but always have kept it to myself. It was only 2 years ago that I told everyone I DJ and produce.
I literally had to look after all my families' businesses since an early age and that made it always very difficult to DJ and produce music. Especially for someone living in Bangladesh where the whole idea of female producers and DJs is really looked down upon. But that never really stopped me from travelling every year to London to DJ and to learn production. I was attending London Sound Academy for a couple of years … and I was doing this without anyone from back home even knowing about it.
But I have the most supportive parents ever. Once I told them about my passion, they were onboard with doing everything that was needed for me to pursue a career in music. I’m blessed.
For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
Of course, there are people you look up to that inspire you. But I have always been my own inspiration. I inspire myself to wake up each morning, to love myself, to live a beautiful life etc. and at the end of the day you have to do things for yourself. I feel like I have developed over the years as an artist through self love.
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?
With me it’s like I am what you see. I feel like my personality has a lot to do with my creativity. I am a very rebellious and a strong person and I that really comes out when I'm playing a set or when I'm producing.
What were your main creative challenges when starting out as a DJ and how have they changed over time?
I had a very challenging time trying to discover my sound. I think it took me a couple of years. For me trying to find a unique sound that defines me from a room full of producers was very important to me.
As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?
I am always very eager to experiment, while at the same time trying to keep it as raw as possible. I think my first instrument I started with was the Moog subsequent 37. This took me some time to perfect. It has an irresistible analog synth value with a classic fat and punchy sound with a real-time tweakability - which has made it just sooo perfect for me.
Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you perform?
Even though I use a lot of technology while I play, like the Pioneer DJS 1000 sampler and the RMX1000 remixer, I can tell you that my all time favourite is playing vinyl. I just love the old school feeling.
DJing is a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation. How would you describe your approach to it?
I never plan anything when DJing. In fact, that's what excites me. I love the feeling of the unknown as I think it also challenges me as a DJ and helps me grow. Mostly when I go into a gig, I look at the crowd and try to understand the vibe. I used to be a hardcore raver so its always easy for me to understand what the crowd would like.
How would you describe the relationship between your choices and goals as a DJ and the expectations, desires and feedback of the audience? Is there a sense of collaboration between you and the dancers?
My choices and goals are simple: Keep producing and sharing good music. Let people and the way they move on the dancefloor be your feedback.
Like I said, I used to be a hardcore raver so I can totally understand when people are at it … Its very satisfying to see the crowd's reaction when they move to every single beat.
In a song or classical composition, the building blocks are notes, but in a DJ set the building blocks are entire songs and their combinatory potential. Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening and perhaps also, if applicable, your work as a producer?
I’m very unpredictable and I don't work in a certain set of way. I don't even think I ever even produced something from the same corner of my studio. I’m a bit crazy. I don't really understand notes. Instead, I feel them very deeply and then if something strikes in my head, I'll run to the studio. And if nothing strikes, I'll keep enjoying the moment.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
When it comes to my lifestyle and my routine, I'm very efficient. I make the most out of my days.
I am an early riser. I’ll be up at 5 am in the morning to do my morning cardio, then have my breakfast, then jump on all my business calls. Then by 10am I'm off to the gym to do weight training for 2 hours as I'm also competing for a bikini bodybuilding competition. Then I'll go straight to my Radio Station check up on all the employees. Then I'll go to check on my other businesses.
I usually return home in the evenings, then go straight to my studio to play around with some instruments and if something strikes I'll produce. Or else, I'll get on some calls with my producer friends. We are always discussing about some musical collaboration.
Can you talk about a breakthrough DJ set or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
That event was the first time I introduced myself to the world as a DJ and that was on Radio Intense. It was very special. I did my set in an abandoned city in Bangladesh. It was a set I'll always remember, not only because I was able to showcase Bangladesh to the world but also because it was my first stream on a very well known DJ platform. The response was amazing.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
Music can do many things to a person. It can make them experience a lot of emotions, all depending on the melody and the notes. The best thing about music is that there’s a sound for every kind of feeling of expression you can possibly think of.
Yes music can heal big time, it can also bring shivers down your body. This is a powerful source of healing.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
Someway or another there will always be a cultural touch to everything we do. It's not copying it’s more like innate, it happens naturally.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
Art is a freedom of expression, I use music to express myself. I use art in everything I do. Even the way I eat has a certain artistic way, to how I walk ... I am art.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
Music is life. It feeds the soul. It's a universal language. I’m not too sure about the death part.