Friday 8th February @ Hit & Run’s 7th Birthday Tru Playaz night. Carling Academy, Oxford. On Friday night, I made my way to the Carling Academy, Cowley Road, in anticipation. As I arrived, this was heightened by the view of an extensive queue of excited and expectant clubbers. We were all here for the same purpose: the much awaited 7th Birthday Hit & Run special, featuring the Tru Playaz. Not only was I here, however, to rave the night away to the likes of DJ Hype, I was here to meet the Drum n Bass legend that is DJ Hazard. So, as I pushed through the crowd with Hazard following me to the dressing rooms back stage, I felt energized beyond belief. Hazard, ( real name S. Molloy) from the Midlands, is one of drum n bass’s most innovative and prestigious DJs and Producers. So how did he first get into it? “I don’t remember!” After he left school, Hazard worked in a local record shop called Basement Beats, and saved up money to buy his first “little crap pair of decks”. From there he got a slot on The Midland’s most prominent radio station Kool FM, got into producing, and began to climb the drum n bass ladder to the successful position he is in now. Attached to DJ Hype’s record label, Tru Playaz, he has been able to assert his unique form of music. Hazard has always been interested in rave music from its beginnings, but he emphasises the importance of other genres of music influencing him: motown, reggae and soul in particular. “I think everyone should listen to other types of music”, he affirms, “there are so many ideas out there waiting to be got.” He even admits the influence of pop music that comes on in the radio in the car. Hazard’s diversity is also expressed within the varied sphere of drum n bass itself. He discusses the cyclical nature of the progression of drum n bass between dark, bouncy and dance edges. His ability to adapt is evident: “the scene will change, it always does…I’ll go with the flow.” The influences on Hazard are thus varied, but he emphasises that it is musical influences alone which affect his work: “I don’t take influence of drum n bass producers…I want to keep myself original.” His originality has certainly been illustrated, with hugely successful tracks such as Mr Happy and Busted. When asked what animal his music would be, Hazard perfectly sums up his diversity: “It would probably have a snake body, with a snake's head, and a lion’s head. In the middle would be a parrot. For a joke. I make a lot of tunes with jokes in them. It would be all different ones and would keep changing. I don’t make one type, and can switch it up every now and again.” So what about Hazard the person? As I chat to him, I begin to realise that this guy takes his career very seriously indeed. He works hard with determined self-belief. As such, it is difficult to uncover the man behind the resolute mask. His average day consists of sleeping till late afternoon, then seeing his kids, then into the studio from about 10pm till 9am. This busy schedule means he doesn’t have much time for being a spectator rather than performer: “I try to! But I don’t actually get to go out.” He does, however, try to stay after gigs or come early to be amongst the ravers. Why? “I think that teaches you a lot of what actually is going on in the club, not just from behind the decks – I don’t really see anything when I’m playing.” Hazard is intense and collected, so it is surprising to hear that he does get nervous before performing. He admits “at some clubs you shouldn’t get nervous but you’re just nervous. There’s a real big vibe and when you get there you think oo, I hope I don’t spoil this.” So what’s the future for Hazard? He has an EP coming out in March called Machete Bass, and is currently on tour promoting it. The beginning of 2009 will see the release of a first album for Hazard: “I feel ready for it now, so I’m just going to go for it and see what happens.” It’s going to be a big and exciting year. I asked him how he felt the night would go, and in absolute conviction he replied “I think it will be brilliant.” It was. Hazard played the midnight to 1am set, and burst the Oxford crowd’s anticipation in an energetic explosion. Can he describe his music in three words? He replies without a delay: “Dance to it.” Oh, we certainly Catherine Moloney