Fusing funk and soft r'n'b vibes with house music on labels like Crosstown Rebels and Wolf + Lamb, the London producer is set for a big year ahead of him
London-based DJ and producer jozif's music is always instantly recognisable from its typically after-hours vibes - low slung rhythms, funk-tinged basslines and dramatic strings, made for the 6am dancefloor. With solo releases on Brooklyn's Wolf + Lamb to Vitalik, he also released a limited edition EP with Fabric's musical director Craig Richards which was an instant sell out, before their second cut ‘Brick Jane’ following suit and the imminent ‘Room 3’. Since this year's ‘Sunrise’ EP on Agoria's InFiné label, as well as remixes for artists and labels from Compost, Mobilee and Suol, he's also embarked on a vocal project with Roc-A-Fella-signed r&b singer/songwriter Terri Walker on More Music.
Dazed Digital: Having had so many remixes under your belt, what are you working on at the moment? Your own productions or more side projects?
jozif: Yeah 2011 kinda ended up being a bit of remix year for me - mostly due to the fact that a lot of the original stuff I'd written got stuck in the pipeline. Craig Richards and I were due to put out another 2 'Fist or Fingers', an EP on Infine and something on Jonny White's No.19 but for one reason or anohter they just didn't make it out. I never stop writing music, I'm totally addicted to it, so what this means is, I have a harddrive full of original material that's just sat there for the time being. It's kinda good though because it means that I have a whole bunch of records I can play each week that I know no-one has. I've recently just finished an EP for my friends at Culprit in LA, that's due out in February... Then I'm doing one on Hot Natured, A V/A with Tale of Us & Visionquest and another track for my little mate Bloody Mary's label Dame Music.
DD: How do you think your sound has progressed since you first started producing?
jozif: I think most importantly it's developed along with my production skill. For me, that hardest thing about writing music is actually get the ideas and the sounds outta my tiny little mind and onto the page. As I've learnt more and become a lot more fluent with my equipment I've found it easier to get ideas down and down quickly (which is super important to me 'cause I have lots so they kinda fly in and the fly out again & I get bored very very quickly).
I think that production level is a real key point in the development of an artist's sound, I'm a firm believer in really getting to know one piece of equipment really well rather than having lots of different bits - this way the frustration (and subsequent loss of time) doesn't pollute your studio sessions. I kinda quite like the idea of being limited somewhat as well... I've recently gone back to all my original standard Logic Plug-ins and found that being limited to the same equipment as everyone else, it makes you kinda use it in a different way or at least look to use it differently. Very much like what the early acid generation of the 60s did - taking drums and running them tape delays, Hammond b3 organs through Marshall stacks etc.
...your secret talent?
I'm amazing at Badmington.
...your worst vice?
As well as really really uncool pop music i'd have to say The Simpsons. I could quite happily spend days on end, eating naughty food going through my box sets - my girlfriend isn't exactly what you'd call a Simpsons fan so this kinda thing don't really happen that much. That said we do have a 'day off' each week where we eat take-away, watch DVDs and just try to recharge the batteries - when you work for yourself at something you love its very difficult to keep track of where the work starts and stops - there are no 'normal' time restrictions or limitations, which can be both a positive and a negative. Now I come to think about it, another vice would have to be food! Really really bad food, Pizza, Fish and Chips, anything Turkish.... YUM!
...the story behind your name?
I just love the way it looks in lower case - I think I might be slightly obsessed about lower case text actually... might be due to the fact that, for some unknown reason, I can only write in capitals when using a pen and paper - very odd.
... your favourite sound?
Good question... in general, laughter. In music, snare drums.
...your worst fashion secret?
For some reason I find it completely impossible to wear matching socks. Maybe its the 80s kid in me trying to get out, I dunno, all I do know is it looks bloody ridiculous & yet still I persist. I think I'm a wee bit obsessive compulsive (as per above!), when I lay the table for supper I have to make sure the cutlery matches and that the napkins are all the same... I think I've just developed this but with my socks the other way round. Matching socks just look odd to me.
It's the same with my Logic sessions, if you look at the arrangement page it's made up of loads and loads of small blocks - all lined up neatly, audio on blue, midi in green - each channel has to have the same size block or it drives me crazy. I guess thats what happends when spend an unhealthy amount time on your own, in the dark, with a computer. Mmm... wait a minute that sounds a bit weird doesn't it ...hehehe.
...your favourite website?
BBC iPlayer - I haven't owned a television since about 1998 when I moved out of my parents' house - I've always just been either playing or writing music so didnt really see the point but I love the iPlayer 'cause it means I can watch all the documentaries and especially my favourtite - David Attenborough.
...the best thing about where you're from?
The motorway out of it - hehehe. Seriously though, I guess id have to say variety - now that I'm traveling so much I get to see soo many other major cities that simply aren't exposed to the kind of variety of cultures, music, language, food as we are here. I think we're kinda spoilt for choice really.
...at the top of your shit list?
Government. I'm not a particularly well educated person but read a lot (I find it very very difficult to work on aeroplanes) and the more you look into exactly what these people are doing (and not doing) it drives you crazy. In some cases I find it completely and utterly unbelievable that no-one has pointed these
glaringly obvious, cataclysmic stitch-ups. As a kid I was always brought up to respect people in places of authority but as I got older it just kinda realised that no-one really knows what the fuck thery're doing - everyone's just making it up as they go along. We think that in the UK (and probably the West as a whole) we are free and that democracy rules, when in actual fact, it doesn't, its just an illusion. We think we have a choice - we don't. These people will always just do whats right for themselves - they're just human beings after all.
...are you listening to now?
I'm actually listening to Pete Tong's essential selection, something I very rarely get to hear anymore. It's very easy to kinda get stuck in your own little bubble of producing, travelling, performing, producing and when you're surrounded by electronic music everyday the last thing you wanna do is put on is Pete Tong but what this means is I'm not really hearing what the wider audience is hearing so I try and listen to shows like his when ever possible.
As a kid growing up playing records & partying, Pete's show always meant sooo much to me - back then it was the place to hear the new music (as well as the club) and I'd listen to it on my way to the little bar gigs I was doing (and the essential mix on the way home on Sunday am). As soon as you heard that Intro you'd know that it was Friday and that the weekend had begun! It's funny 'cause when I think back to it now - there used to be section where the DJs would phone in and tell Pete where they were playing and what they'd been doing - I always thought how great it must be being one of those artists running up and down the motorway playing a whole bunch of gigs a weekend... Now I'm doing it... but on aeroplanes.
How would you describe your work?
Avatism - Dragging On
Eastmen - U Dig
Matt Star & Candy Csonka - Softly feat James Teej
Coat of Arms - Lovin
Avatism - Within
Moodz - Swing It Up (SImon Wish Remix)
AO Featuring Impermetic - Revolution In a Bottle
Hamid - if i - (Jay shepheard Remix)
Jona - Orion
jozif plays the first Fabric London night of 2012 alongside Carl Craig on the 7th January.