After impressing many an ear in their home country and the Europeancontinent, North London's Space DJZ are set to invade Australia for thefirst time as part of the all seeing, all dancing, Halcyon Knights NYEextravaganza. Their mix of hip hop, techno and electro has landed themcritical acclaim and a string of releases (including the Rate Of Changeep of 1997), both vinyl and CD, on labels such as NovaMute, Infonet,Reload, Soma, and their own personal labels Ground and Potential. Whenthey play out the Space DJZ concept in public, they do so using fourdecks and two mixers as a pair. Four turntables- Two mixers- I couldimagine the logistics of such an event would be hard to master. Not so,according to Ben Longs, who along with Jamie Bismire makes up the group.
"It's basically like two musicians jamming," he states. How so- "I meanthe deck at the end of the day is an instrument, so when we playtogether its like two musicians playing two different instruments andjamming together, or playing the same instrument. It's quite off thecuff, none of its rehearsed, except maybe the first two tracks, theintro, but other than that its all off the cuff basically. Jamming onthe decks!"
With this being the Space DJZ first visit to these shores, a quickhistory of the group is necessary. So how did it all begin-
"Hhmmm....um....what actually happened is we made a track and it sort offeatured a vocal that sounded like 'Space DJZ' so that gave us the name,and the idea of the actual title. Me and Jamie had been friends forabout 15 years or so, just hanging about together before we startedmaking tunes basically."
So what else interested you in your formative years-
"We were just hanging y'know. Just being at school doing generaladolescent sort of things, listening to electro. We loved graffiti, BMXbikes, stuff like that."
BMX bikes, haven't they may made a big comeback-
"I think you could say they have come back in vogue."
Did you ever have dreams of being the main man in Team Haro or TeamMongoose-
"Yeah! There was a couple of kids from around our way who ended up goingto America riding professionally, getting sponsored. About that time Iwould have loved to have ridden professionally, but its all about havingdetermination and the skill to do so. We were all well into BMXing man,that's all we did. We were always building ramps and building halfpipes, this big clan of us, about 30 of us, just riding around. It wouldhave been good, just travelling up and down the country, going to allthose meets, all those skate parks. Shit man, it's good fun!"
The link up between Ben and Jamie came as a result of not only theirinterest in BMXing, but also through their shared passion for hip hopand electro. These early days of hip hop are times Ben holds quite closeto his heart. "I was glad to get the first wave of it when it came toEngland, because y'know, they were special times," he reminisces. "It'salways been there, but for a while hip hop went way underground yet thepeople involved kept at it man. To give you an example the breakdancersof today are so advanced, and they have been there throughout the entirething. Y'know it's like they never left, they have always been true totheir art. And they are so advanced, the moves that they are busting arejust sick, and I think that stands true for everything. It's like us.
We've been into techno and been doing it for about six years now, andy'know we won't be going away, we always be doing it, and it will alwaysbe diversified....mutated basically. But it will always be advancing andgetting better."
After knocking up some electro tracks, Ben and Jamie realised that themusic that they were really taking their initial influence from was hiphop. What stemmed from there was a meeting of the styles, in the factthat the two were taking the smooth sounds of techno and electro andmixingTags