G Wizard - The Wiz
Responsible for co-mixing the rnb superclub Greatest Hits compilation, DJ G Wizard has all the tricks at his disposal to justify his moniker. 3D’s Nina Bertok heard more about the release, and the man responsible’s take on the current state of the genre.
Ever wondered what makes a classic RNB hit- Well, that all depends on which generation you’re talking to, says Sydney DJ/producer G Wizard, whose own answer would point towards Lionel Ritchie and Stevie Wonder. But when it comes to the tenth installation of the rnb superclub compilation series, it’s all about what the people want.
“What I consider to be the greatest RNB hits doesn’t necessarily reflect what are considered to be the greatest hits in the clubs,” he laughs. “But it really depends on which generation you’re talking about. With the rnb superclub series, it’s purely based on crowd response in the clubs, it’s what makes people dance, it’s what they want to hear. Personally, when you say ‘greatest hits’ I would talk about Motown but there is a generation out there for whom the greatest hits are Red Red Wine and Return Of The Mac and the Boyz II Men stuff.”
Which is fine with G Wizard who is just as happy playing Nelly Furtado as he is Luther Vandross, something he attributes to the recent merging of the pop and RNB genres.
“If you look at RNB, it really is strongly rooted in American culture but it goes down really well in other places like Australia too,” G Wizard contemplates. “I think the reason that it’s relevant internationally is because a lot of RNB artists and groups that have been around for longer than ten years are starting to collaborate with pop and rock groups more and more. Look at Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado, whose roots were completely in pop. As soon as they started choosing to work with the biggest and best producers in the RNB world, their songs were getting played in the clubs. RNB is a culture that’s influenced pop and so the way I see it is whatever is big in pop is going to be big in rnb superclub. What you’re hearing in the RNB clubs, 50 percent of that is what’s hot in the pop world. This is stuff that’s happening on a worldwide scale, if something is happening in the ‘States, of course we will get it here.”
And G Wizard will be one of the first DJ/producers to know about it too. Growing more and more restless with the Australian club scene in the late 1990s, he set out on a journey to learn the practical skills of a professional recording engineer in Ohio, USA. – a recording workshop whose graduates have gone on to work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Outkast and Coldplay. Upon his return to his hometown of Sydney, G Wizard became one of the most sought-after local DJs, notching up a record number of feature industry gigs, guest spots and club residencies.
“The whole time I was in the ‘States I just kept thinking, ‘how could I apply this to Australia-’. At the time I played a few different clubs here and there in the ‘States, but DJing wasn’t the reason that I was there. I knew a few guys and I got a few gigs but I never really worked there as such. I just remember one minute I was dropping out of uni in Australia and wanting to be in music and have the chance to entertain, and then next minute I found myself being able to formulate it.”
Since then, G Wizard has been back and forth between the two countries four times, he says. “Each time I’ve gone back I’ve made sure to check out new ideas and see what people are doing over there. I’ve also always wanted to travel and be able to learn from people that I meet on the way. I managed to do that through the music production and engineering that I did at one of the better schools in the States and since then I’ve been coming back and putting everything I’ve learned into rnb superclub. I would like to think that the end result has been a success. The whole point is to bring the good stuff back to Australia. RNB and hip hop are nowhere near enough as exposed in Australia as they could be. When you put it on the scale, it’s like we have even started this fire. But as I said before, the more that RNB is injected into pop and Top 40 stuff, the more we’re going to see it flourish.”
And G Wizard with his team of official rnb superclub DJs – including Def Rok, Eko, Kevin Watts, Lilo and Troy T. – are here to ensure it happens with not only a brand new collection of the hottest club hits spanning the last nine years, but also a national tour.
“I’ve been very lucky to have been able to surround myself with such good people, like the rnb superclub guys as well as Platinum One,” G Wizard claims. “Right now we’re basically getting ready for the tenth round of this compilation. I have been the executive producer for the whole series but I have also had the opportunity to mix it on three different occasions. This is the fourth one I have had the chance to mix. This one is also a bit different in that it’s done with a team of people rather than just another person. The way the tour will work is that there’ll be one part of us in each state so the first one is the launches happening in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and so on happening at once. Right now the main things keeping me busy are working on a new CD here and there, I might be planning a set for this or that event, or traveling interstate for rnb superclub like I am right now. I think the key is to surround yourself with a mastermind group where you’re able to share new ideas between one another until you come up with something great.”
WHO: DJ G Wizard
WHAT: rnb superclub Greatest Hits 2001 to 2009 / rnb superclub at Tank
WHEN: Out now / Every Friday