New Zealand’s Haz Beats is the inhouse producer for Home Brew and Team Dynamite while also working with the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Araadnha, David Dallas Raiza Biza, Dialectrix to name a few. His new EP “E5” is a reflection of his time spent recently in the east of London and is a short journey through public transport fuck ups, come downs, hangovers, the good and bad people he met along the way to the 35 hours it took for him to get back to Auckland.
What are your earliest memories of music?
Anything from the East Coast although I loved the Death Row movement also but mainly Mobb Deep, Nas, Premier, Pete Rock etc.
What got you into Hip Hop production?
The fascination of how to sample music and manipulate it into your own sound.
Who were your musical influences coming up?
Everything my parents, Uncles and Aunties were listening to in the garage when they partied.
What equipment did you first use compared to what you are using now?
My family’s shitty 80Gb square box having screen PC that stayed in the lounge with a bootleg Fruity Loops studio till I got PC laptop. Now I got a Macbook and I’m running Maschine and Ableton Live all legit.
When did you realise you could make music as you career?
After I quit my job with my Dad as a welder I had to make it work. Once things started flowing I met Tom, Lance and Tony and I haven’t had to go back to working for anyone above me since.
Your new EP “E5” documents your recent trip of Europe in 5 tracks. Can you give us a breakdown on each song and what they represented on your journey?
Overground: The public transport that I preferred to used everyday coz it was cleaner than the tube.
55 to Shoreditch: Was the bus route to Brick Lane for a salt beef bagel and to shop for vintage Polo Sport.
Roadman: My representation to all the hustlers grinding on the streets day in and out of the E5.
Phammm: A dedication and appreciation to my girl An Pham who I stayed with in London. Love you babe!
Home: 35 hours and 3 airports later I was home.
What is your favourite track off the EP and why?
Home. Everytime I listen to it, it reminds me to travel more coz you can always come back home and the beat just bangs.
Being it was your first time what were your expectations of Europe and what are some of your memorable moments from your time there?
It was a bit too much to take in at first but I got used to the people, the language barrier and just tried to fit in and make it not so hard on anyone trying to understand me as I was the foreigner in their country. I even learnt some Spanish LOL. I expected everything I saw in Europe, the buildings, food, the culture, it was like I had been there before in my past life and enjoyed every moment of it. I haven’t walked around that much in my entire life.
You mainly spent time in the UK how would you compare the music scene there to back in New Zealand?
Here in NZ we all kind of know each other in a way that we sort of stick together where in the UK there was a lot of stuff going on I almost couldn’t keep up with the play most times. Different boroughs had a different sound/parties etc which was cool coz I got see and hear all types of UK genres but I guess it’s sort of the same but in it’s own ways and sound just on a bigger scale.
What did you most learn from the trip?
The trip really humbled me to be honest. I came back more open to ideas and saying yes to more thing instead of being a bit closed off to everyone who wanted something from me. I more open to hearing people now and giving them a chance than just blocking them. So my listening has improved a lot LOL and I learnt don’t be an asshole coz there is one out there already, don’t be him.
What is your process in making a beat?
Find a sample, chop it up, arrange & manipulate it, add drums, get a bass player to lay a bassline, get a keyboardist to add some keys, mix it and add it to the archives that never see the light of day.
Do you prefer to make music on the road or in the studio?
Depends really. On road I’m mobile so I tend to make more loops and get ideas down where if I’m in the studio I’m there to finish something off or get something mastered. I rather be on the road though coz thats where the bones of every beat comes from.
How would you describe the Haz Beats sound?
Soulful boom bap? Fuck knows..this is a hard question hahaha!
What one thing does Hip Hop in New Zealand need right now?
A magic gate that opens and we can show off the talent we have here to the rest of the sleeping beauties of the world.
What one artist would you most like to hear over a Haz Beats beat?
What new and upcoming NZ artists should we be on the lookout for?
Yokozuna, Omni Potent, Bailey Wiley, Scraps & Debris, Eno x Dirty.
What is the best piece of advice ever given to you?
Do me and watch my own back coz at the end of the day these industry motherfuckers don’t give a fuck about you. All they see are dollar signs. Also don’t be an asshole.
What does the future hold for Haz Beats?
I haven’t really thought that far ahead but def another beat tape, maybe even an EP with rappers over my beats? More projects with Team Dynamite, maybe a Home Brew album (maybe) but yeah just work till the wheels fall off and see where it gets me.
What is your definition of Grindin’?
Eat, shit, sleep, pay the bills and have time to do your thing whatever it is and still get the job done.
Interview by Duggs.