Recently finding his track “Law Of Attraction” in the top 5 Progressive House Charts on Beatport for over 3 months, Canadian producer Dezza is in great form. His unique sound can be heard in the sets of today’s most heavily toured forward thinking DJ’s. Dezza’s track “Sweet Dream” found it’s way on to Spotify’s most followed electronic playlist – Mint. His productions are heavily supported by Above & Beyond, in particular over 15+ spins and a guestmix on their radio show over the past year (2017-2018). His Anjunabeats debut “Sunburn” w/ Rolo Green took the #1 position on Beatport’s Trance Top 100 within two weeks of it’s release.
Dezza’s incredible momentum saw him release over 15 tracks in 2018. To date, he’s had over 5 million streams on Spotify. With a consistently packed release schedule on labels such as Zerothree, Spinnin, Anjunabeats and an artist album on the way with Enhanced Music – Dezza is coming in hot! He recently graced the decks at ASOT 900 in Utrecht and is making his debut in Liverpool this weekend at Government. We caught up with Dezza to see what make him tick.
So, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a Canadian progressive house producer and DJ based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
What made you start DJing and how old were you?
I was probably about 13 or 14 years old, I can’t remember exactly. As soon as I heard a compilation with continuously mixed tracks I was hooked. I would try and re-create the same mixes using 2 run of the mill portable cd players with RCA Y-splitters into the left and right inputs of the receiver and mix with the volume dials on each player. This was around the beginning of the world wide web so I had to find out on my own that turntables made the task of matching bpm much easier. I asked for one for Christmas and the journey began. Around that time is when I also discovered music production software.
What or who were your early passions and influences?
In the early days, I was fully into sample based hip hop (DJ Premier, Gangstarr, Kanye, Wu-Tang, Biggie etc) I used to always check the credits to find the samples and dig for them. That stuff resonated with me and that was my first passion in music. Years went by and I did a bit of travelling working on cruise ships as a DJ. It was eye opening because my fellow crew members came from all over the world. When it came time for a crew party, as the DJ I quickly learned that electronic music was an international language. This opened the door to a whole new world of music and discovering the likes of 2000’s era Daft Punk, Mylo, Chicane, Eric Prydz, Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim’s Big Beach Boutique Sets, Tiesto Live In Concert was a big one at that time as well.
Can you tell us how the name Dezza came about?
It was a nickname given to me back then while travelling, I needed a name so I just went with that.
What’s your preference, Vinyl, CD’s or Digital and why?
I play on Pioneer CDJ’s now. It’s a hell of a lot easier to carry a couple USB’s in your pocket as opposed to 4 crates of vinyl to the show. Playing on vinyl seems like a bit of a lost art among the newer digital generation unfortunately, with the sync buttons and all that jazz.
How would you describe your sound?
It has evolved over time but melodic, thick, and groovy. Oh and of course progressive, it has to go on a journey somewhere.
Which DJs are you influenced by now?
Anyone who is making forward thinking music. Taking influence from people that you look up to and being able to give it your own twist whilst pushing the music forward is a big thing. I look up to guys that have been doing it for a long time, stayed true to their sound, and have broken through or making a huge impact. To name a few; Yotto, Matt Fax, Spencer Brown, Paul Thomas, Kolonie and many others I’m forgetting. I am also influenced by the BIG names that support the music like Above & Beyond. It’s incredible that Armin Van Buuren supported us by having the progressive stage at ASOT900.
What’s your killer track at the moment?
Dezza – ID
What country is your favorite to play in and why?
Ask me in a year =)
Probably difficult to answer but what’s been your favorite gig to date?
I would say being involved in the warm up when Deadmau5 came to play in my hometown back in 2008. It was actually his first gig that he ever wore the Mau5 head, google it. I was part of a lot of great memorable shows back then, right on the cusp of the big EDM boom!
You made your ASOT debut last month, how did you prepare for your set?
ASOT was definitely the biggest audience I have ever played for. I have been working endlessly on my music for 10 years. To have an opportunity to play a show like that blows my mind, so it was nerve wracking. With that said, I played all original material and some unreleased stuff from my forthcoming album that will release in March on Colorize/Enhanced.
How did you get in to producing music?
I really got motivated after my stint travelling. When I heard the first Eric Prydz pres. Pryda stuff, goosebumps! I was like “I’m going to give this melody driven stuff a shot”. I also had the chance to see John Digweed play in Bucharest, Romania, that was extremely eye opening. Shortly after I began producing, one of my early tracks got into Tiesto’s hands and he played it out live a bunch. I just kept at it and used the same formula hoping for big DJ’s to play the music.
What software and hardware do you use?
I use FL Studio 20. I have used FL since version 1. KRK Rokit 8’s for monitors which I love but they will be upgraded very soon. Sennheiser HD25 headphones. A Roland ep.7II digital piano that my parents bought for my younger brother and sister. It’s probably 15 years old but works fastastic as a midi keyboard HAHA! Nothing too fancy here, It’s not what you have, it’s how you use it 😉
Talk us through what you do when you start writing a new track and how does it evolve from your initial idea? Do you start with a melody and work it from there?
I usually start with a stretched out pad as a key center and build an arp over it, followed by a bassline. 9 times out of 10 I always start with melody first and then build from there. I like to try and take things in a different direction than the norm, whether it be layering a bunch of different arpeggios, or going in a strange direction with the chord progressions.
Out of all the music you have produced which track are you most proud of and why?
That’s a really hard one. ‘Law Of Attraction’ did extremely well in 2018 as the 5th top selling track of the year in progressive house. Also, I have been working tirelessly on my upcoming debut album for over a year now. I’m trying to go a bit outside the box with it with some experimental tunes and even some with my own vocals. I feel people are listening to music and appreciating underground artists now thanks to streaming services. The public is more open to discovering different music instead of being forced to listen to what’s on the radio.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, having fun sorting travel logistics for some Australia shows and Government (Liverpool,UK). My album is in the mastering stages and pre-singles are being released leading up to the March launch date. I have recently been working on new originals and a remix for Paul Oakenfold as well which I am thrilled about. I will be releasing some sample and midi packs via www.amplifydmusic.com soon so I have been working away at that. Also in the process of sorting out a visa for the US to meet the overwhelming demand for prog house artists, very excited!
Is there anyone you’d like to produce a track with?
I’m a big fan of film scores, to be involved in any way with that type of production would be absolutely epic!
If you weren’t a DJ what would your dream job be?
To be able to work in a studio full time and create music is the dream job. If not that, it would be cool to be the guy that looks after Floyd Mayweather’s cars.
What would your year book quote be?
“Don’t judge a cover of it’s book by its look.”
If you won the lottery…….what’s the first thing you’d buy?
A fancy ghost producer, some smoke & mirrors and a million instagram followers like all the cool kids. Just kidding haha! I guess after looking after the family, I’d likely build myself a really nice cabin in the woods on a lake with an insanely over the top recording studio. If there’s anything left, I would also build an actual nightclub in my hometown, we don’t really have one that’s world class. Have I spent it all yet?
What’s the funniest story you can tell us from a night out ‘On The Sesh’?
Most stories are better left un told because my Mom might read this, but this one was funny and quite memorable now that I look back… The night I got to be Lil Jon’s driver for a local concert… He’s a machine, and a really nice chap to boot. It was a small town Monday night, after the sold out show we expected him to head back to the hotel because he was flying to South Africa or something the next day. Nope, “where’s the afterparty”, he said. In other words, Turn Down For What? I then had the task of scrambling to find and prepare a venue to host the King Of Crunk in a ghost town where bottle service is actually illegal. We went to two different venues that night, the crowd followed along and filled the places. My favourite part was when the bouncers carded him at the door. It’s Lil John for fucks sake, look at him! This guy makes 90% of the music these places play every night! Anyway, in we go with bottles of Hennessey in tow, hidden of course. All was well by nights end, the guy didn’t drink a drop all night, instead, he gave out all the shots to his fans and made the city come alive. YEEEEAHHH!
Do you have any bad habits?
Smoking… and being an asshole according to my ex-girlfriends. *rolls eyes*
If a film got made about your life story what actor would you want to play you?
What do you have planned for the rest of 2019?
Album release, collaborations, and lots of shows!
Buy tickets for this Fridays Government HERE