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Interview: Waza


Coming off a big 2015, Sydney’s savviest beat-maker, and “most ambitious sampler”, Waza is again riding high thanks to his latest single Rocks and Bones feat. Aquila Young. Shredding his hip-hop roots, Waza has focused his upcoming debut album ‘Crooked Jaw’ on lush production, soundscapes, and plenty of earworm melodies. We asked the rising producer how he approaches his collaborations with vocalists and his favourite samples.

What’s it like to work with the amount of different vocal collaborators in your music?

Being a solo artist sometimes can get lonely in the studio. I can spend up to eight hours a day working on a song and completely shut off the outside world. Once I’ve exhausted all my ideas I start to think what a singer or rapper could bring to the song. I then start to toss up what kind of singer or rapper would suit the tune and then proceed to make contact via the internet. It’s a lengthy process, but worth it as it’s always great to have a different spin on my ideas! Plus it’s a great way to network, reach new audiences, and create something that can crossover.

How do you decide whose voice will work best with your productions? Has that decision process ever been difficult?

Yes, it’s always been a difficult one as I’m an independent artist and I don’t have the resources and pull to get the ideal singer or rapper that will suit my song. I just put my trust in the local artists and hope that they come through with the goods!

Rock and Bones is your latest single, what made you decide to change your focus from hip-hop based beats to emphasising more on synthesisers and melodies?

It was time for change, I’m originally a trained musician first and foremost and I can play up to four instruments. A while ago I fell in love with sample based music and wanted to do just that. But things change over time, I was feeling like I could express myself better through original melodies. I still sample though, but more of my own sounds and bits and pieces off vinyl. It’s kind of a hybrid of my styles mashed together.

How did you meet Aquila Young and what made you think she was the best voice for Rock and Bones?  

I met her through a mutual friend. I put the word out that I needed a singer for the song and he suggested her. I checked out her music and tried to visualise her voice on my song. I think it was a great match! It’s weird that I have a song out with her at the moment as I’ve only communicated with her over the internet. It’s kind of like she’s my musical pen pal…

You’re planning to feature Slumberhaze in your upcoming debut album ‘Crooked Jaw’, what kind of production can we expect from this collaboration?

Sasha the from the band sings and plays guitar on the song Bad Teeth. We recorded the song in a studio in Sydney last year. The production is a mix of rock meets electronic music with big drums, guitars, and arpeggiated synths.

There are numerous artists featuring on your upcoming album, who else do you plan to work with?

At the moment I’m starting to get back into the writing process and I’m slowly putting the word out to see who would be interested. But I would like to continue working with people who featured on my album to see what else we could bring a second time round. I feel I’ve only scratched the surface with these artists!

Who is your dream artists that you hope to collaborate with?

I really dig Anderson Paak and Homeboy Sandman at the moment. If I come across a genie in a bottle, I would make a wish to get them two on a track!

Lastly, what are your top five favourite samples you’ve used?

Quirky sampling is the foundation of sample based music, the more obscure the better! My top five would be…

  1. Jake ‘the Muss’ from Once Were Warriors
  2. The Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz
  3. Richard Pryor
  4. The Skyliners
  5. Audrey Hepburn

Written by Max Higgins