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Green Light in the City

Interview: Nightmares On Wax

1 April 06 interview: Jared Wilson

"Sixteen years on any label is very rare. The fact they know to leave me to do my thing says it all. It’s a friendship to be honest. It’s not a business relationship."

Deep in the subconscious of your average British musician and bedroom producer, there’s an adolescent hip hop fan trying to get as close to their juvenile creative juices as possible. For George Evelyn (aka DJ Ease of Nightmares On Wax), Hiphop has been such a consuming force that everything he makes, from 1995’s anthemic Smokers Delight to In A Space Outta Sound, his latest album for Warp Records, follows this pattern. Sixteen years signed to one label? He must have something good going on. We caught up with DJ Ease to find out more about his Nightmares…

Tell us about the new album. What can fans expect from it?
It’s honest music to the highest degree, I really loved every minute of making this album, and you can hear that come through to the music.
 
Who have you got in the live band at the moment?
It’s pretty much the same band we’ve had ever had since Smokers Delight apart from Chyna B and Sara Garvey on vocals. It’s a full-on sonic attack. It’s always been my vision to take things that far. You want to represent what you’re putting down on record when you play live. I have always said you can’t do one without the other and there’s nothing better than having all that energy on stage.

Many consider Smoker’s Delight to be the defining album of the trip hop genre. Did you realise how big that record was going to break when you were making it? 
Not at all. That album changed my life and is still evolving in such way that nobody could plan or imagine. It’s taken me across the world and back a few times too. 

You started out breakdancing, before you founded NoW. How are you at busting moves these days?
Get me a good drink and the right atmosphere and I’m in!
 
What was it like working with De La Soul?
For me it was an amazing experience, I was like a kid in a hiphop sweet shop. I learnt so much from that experience. I’d do it again anytime.
 
You’re signed to WARP Records. What’s it like working with those guys..?
We’ve been good for each other really. Sixteen years on any label is very rare. The fact they know to leave me to do my thing says it all. It’s a friendship to be honest. It’s not a business relationship. Obviously you’ve got to try and keep the momentum going because you build up that fan base and people want to know what’s happening or they forget. But, at the same time, Warp’s belief is ‘build it to last.’

I read on your website that you’re a big KLF fan. Is it their music or their leftfield acts that appeal to you? Or both?
It was their chill out album that inspired me to do a hiphop chill out album. Burning a suitcase of money when there are people starving on our planet is not a good idea!

Do you see Chris Morris around at Warp much?
Not really. I see his name on telly a bit. As a comedian I think Chris Morris is a unique talent, very sharp and exposes what we’re all caught up in. He doesn’t have many dealings with us on a day to day basis though.

Nottingham-based film director Shane Meadows was the first signing to WARP films. Have you seen any of his movies? 
I’ve seen Dead Man's Shoes. I think it’s a great film and story, by a great British talent. The story and the cast are tight.

What’s your favourite of your own tracks?
It changes from time to time, a lot of my tracks hold different memories...but Nights Introlude is up there.

You’ve travelled across the world with your music. What are your favourite cities and venues to play?
I love playing in Germany as we always get a lot of love out there. I’ve also always had top gigs in London, which is a surprise. The Big Chill and my hometown (Leeds) have got be mentioned. I’ve probably forgot some places, we’ve been to so many.

If you could get anyone in to do a track, who would you choose?
I really want to get Jamie Liddell into the studio with us. I would also really love to work with Quincy Jones...

What can people expect from your show at the Rescue Rooms in April?
150% good loud positive vibes for sure! We’ve got the best sound system (Iration Steppas) in the country with us. And all of the amazing vocalists from the new album ready to rock the spot...
 
What do you listen to on the stereo at home? 
Everything really, except commercial radio. You can hear the influences of what I listen to in my music. It’s always there somewhere…
 
What is coming up for you over the next year?
I’m touring, running my new record label, more recording and moving to Ibiza.

Anything else you want to say to LeftLion readers?
Keep smiling and think positive. It is the only way. One Love!
 
Nightmares On Wax’s new album In A Space Outta Sound is out now on Warp records. They play Camouflage at the Rescue Rooms on 6 April.

Nightmares On Wax website

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