Introducing: Caz Wood
Reported by Ben Gomori
Submitted 12-11-07 18:28
Frantic's Hard Dance Showcase returns to Hidden on November 23rd after a massively successful launch party in September to bring you the most promising new talent in the scene, alongside a few established big-hitters. It's all about cherry picking the most hyped new names in the scene - from Whitby's production faves Audio Hedz to Northern heroes Matt Pickup & Andy Rise, to HF's very own April. One name that has been cropping up on many a hard dance lip in 2007 has been Caz Wood - best known as a resident for Contagious (at the spin-off events spawned from their clothing range).
Having only begun playing out last year, Caz's infectious blend of high-octane, bouncy and euphoric hard dance sounds have seen her play for contagious at Global Gathering (twice) and Escape In The Park, and at countless other events like Innovate, Storm, Nu Religion, and of course for Frantic - winning a slot warming up at their 10th Birthday celebrations at KOKO back in August. We sat down and had a chat with this bright young talent to see if she can talk the talk as well as walking the walk!
So Caz, when and how did you first get a taste for harder music?
DJs such as Rob Tissera, Lisa Lashes, Lisa Pin Up and the Tidy Boys are all ones that I followed early on when I got into hard dance music. I would go and see them at events and loved the tunes they were playing which at the time, like Paul Glazby’s Fucking Hostile and Lee Haslam’s Music is the Drug! One of my earliest memories of clubbing was at Homelands in 2002, when Lisa Lashes was closing the Slinky Tent! The tunes she played blew my mind and this started my need for more hard music!
Was there a defining moment for you that made you decide that you wanted to be a DJ?
DJing has always been something I wanted to do. Even before I was old enough to go clubbing, I would buy all the latest dance albums and would constantly talk to my mates about tunes! It was when I started to go out and see DJs play that I was further inspired by them to learn how to DJ. I was opened up to new tunes and loved the way they would get the crowd going with their styles and music, so in 2002 I got my first set of decks!
Can you remember the first time you had a mix? How long did it take you to become confident behind the decks?
My first decks were a pair of Technic 1210s set up with a dodgy two channel mixer. My boyfriend and I both decided we wanted to learn so we bought the basics, along with a book recommended to us called How To DJ Properly. This book was to be our bible, as we were teaching ourselves completely from scratch (as cheesy as it sounds this book was really helpful!). I cannot remember the exact first mix I had, but I remember that at the start it was nerve wracking and not easy to mix! I would get a mix slightly in and it would make me rush with excitement that I then couldn’t cue up my next vinyl as I was shaking too much!
A few years later we invested in a pair of Pioneer CDJs and started to download music too, which opened me up to more music opportunities. My confidence was growing and I was getting the DJing bug big time, so when I was offered my first gig in 2006 I jumped at the chance! The set was at the Bang Bar in Basingstoke for a night called Bounce and was one of the scariest moments in my life but also one of the best ones too. This really helped my confidence behind the decks and soon led on to more gigs playing out including my third ever set playing out which was at Global Gathering – now that was scary and a definite test of my confidence behind the decks!
What do you feel sets you aside from other DJs?
My DJing style is bouncy, fun and energetic, with big bass swaps, thrown-in mixes, spinbacks, chopping and more. I love big vocals, euphoric breakdowns and also a hard wharpy bassline! My sets are full of this and more, and I feel this is something that sets me aside from others!
My dress style is unique too, and I love to play in Contagious Clubwear! As a Contagious wearing clubber I always wanted to see a female DJ in fluffy boots, so to be able to be that DJ is a great feeling! I figured, if I love wearing it, why not DJ in it!
Do you think the hard dance scene is showing signs of picking up after a bit of a lull over the last 2 years?
I definitely think that the hard dance scene is more fun and exciting than ever at the moment! Some of the tunes being released are reminiscent of the early hard house days, for example Technikal’s Back to the Old Skool is fun, quirky, energetic and full of pace, and reminds me lots of tunes Lisa Lashes used to play such as Medicine Men’s Psychofunk. The scene had definitely lulled but it started to pick up in 2005 when Andy Whitby appeared! His enthusiasm, energy and tune selection has inspired a lot of people and he has helped bring the hard dance scene back to life! Promoters as well, such as Storm, Frantic and Tidy have helped the scene out of its lull too and I feel that they are really listening to what clubbers want to see and hear! Overall the scene is definitely up there where it used to be and is constantly growing from strength to strength!
What gigs around the country have you really enjoyed this year? Which parts of the country really seem to be lapping up the hard dance at the moment?
I have enjoyed all of the gigs that I have played this year. All have been very memorable and great fun! I would have to say that my biggest highlights were playing at KOKO for Frantics 10th Birthday and also playing at the Tidy Weekender in Prestatyn. I felt very honoured to be booked for both events and having followed both Tidy and Frantic nights as a clubber over the years, to be playing at such prestigious events was amazing for me! Global Gathering this year was also a highlight for me, playing back to back with Wain Johnstone. During our set the heavens had opened, but despite this people were stomping hard to our set, which was great and made the set very memorable and something I won’t ever forget!
I would say that the hard dance scene is really taking off in South Wales at the moment! I’ve played at a night called Audio Deprivation a couple of times, and they have a big following! The Welsh absolutely love their hard house and I really enjoy playing for them!
You’re playing for Frantic at their Hard Dance Showcase at Hidden on November 23rd. When did you first go to Frantic? Who played, what were the big tracks, and was it love at first sight for you?
I first started going to Frantic events in 2003, and my first one was FarleyTime at Camden Palace. I knew that Frantic had a following and wanted to know what the fuss was all about! I wasn’t let down and I remember the night being a good party with Andy Farley playing hard for four whole hours! I was blown away by the venue and the atmosphere of the event was brilliant. I remember the big tunes Farley hammered at the time were Raff vs Grit Greenlow Propaganda 303 and Edge One Compounded.
Partying at a Frantic event was definitely fun and I would say it was love at first sight, particularly after further events held by them at Brixton Academy. I just never thought I would be DJing for them myself now!
Hard Dance Showcase is all about showcasing the most exciting upcoming talent in the hard dance scene...who would you put the spotlight on in terms of future heroes?
There is a lot of fresh new talent around at moment both in production and DJing! Audio Hedz and Scott Fo Shaw are both producers who I believe will be around for a long time and who I would definitely put the spotlight. They have both brought a lot to the scene already: the Audio Hedz with their unique mash-ups, quirky scratch samples, big basslines and uplifting vocals and Scott with his hard and funky basslines, big vocals and random sounds!
In terms of future DJ heroes there are a lot of new names emerging at nights around the UK, and the standard is very high! I’ve particularly enjoyed sets from Wain Johnstone, who never fails to impress with his big tunes, bouncy basslines and top notch chopping - he is definitely one for the spotlight!
When you played on that main stage at KOKO for the 10th birthday, were you feeling seriously nervous? Or did it not really affect you, as you were warming up the club?
KOKO is an incredible club. Its pure size and stature has drawn clubbers like myself to go there over the years. Some of the best sets I have ever seen have been at this venue and I have also seen it reinvent itself from Camden Palace to what it is today. So, it is a club close to my heart and to be invited to play there by Frantic was a dream come true! With this in mind, I was incredibly nervous before playing! Stepping onto the stage for the first time and looking out to the very top of the club was an amazing feeling. My nerves soon went and as I was playing people started to come into the club, which was very encouraging!
What would you like to see change in the hard dance scene?
There isn’t much I would like to see change, just things I would like to see more of! Contagious Clubwear are growing and their parties are becoming very well-known, I want to see more of them in 2008 along with lots more outfits! I also hope that Frantic and Tidy and all of the other promoters large and small continue to put on great shows. Overall, I hope that that hard dance music continues to stay fun, lively and as energetic as it is at the moment.
What’s the funniest thing anyone has ever said to you or asked you while you’ve been playing out?
Someone once asked me if I could sign a piece of wood that they found in the club!!
Witty! And finally, what was the last track that made the hairs of the back of your neck stand on end?
Hypnotize (Lee S Mix) - it has a wicked speech in it that when it breaks always sends a little shiver down my spine!
For more information on Caz Wood: http://www.myspace.com/caz_wood
For bookings please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org // 07877 437501
Photos courtesy of Fi Stevens and Brett Wood. Not to be reproduced without permission.
Frantic presents Hard Dance Showcase
Friday 23rd November
22:00 - 06:00
FREE Before Midnight, £8 after
FRANTIC PRESENTS: Hard Dance Showcase - The Stars of Tomorrow
@ HIDDEN 100 TINWORTH STREET, LONDON, SE11 5EQ
FRIDAY 23rd November 2007
2200 - 0600
FREE BEFORE MIDNIGHT! EMAIL FULL NAMES TO ELVIS@FRANTICUK.NET £8 AFTER MIDNIGHT
You ready for the next installment of H.D.S….?
After a massively successful, filled-to-the-rafters launch party, Frantic are now proud to present H.D.S. – “The Stars Of Tomorrow” - dedicated to pushing the nu wave of DJs and producers! Anyone who thinks that Hard Dance is dying needs to take a look at the constant stream of talented, passionate young DJs that events like HDS are helping to bring through the ranks!
Headlining this event is the Welsh beauty Frisky – purveyor of banging European Hard Trance and Hardstyle – whose popularity is growing with every set she plays. At HDS she’ll be dishing out a set of solid gold Hard Dance classics – not to be missed! Production geniuses Phil York and Jason Cortez will be performing a Nuklearpuppy production showcase, featuring some of the scene’s biggest future anthems and lashings of euphoric riffs, and to top it all off, Frantic favourites Steve O’Brady, Elvis, Matt Pickup and Andy Rise will all be performing to their usual high standards!
Room 2 showcases the next generation of rising stars, such as Caz Woods (who warmed up the main room at Frantic’s 10th Birthday at KOKO in style), Squelcher’s prolific DJ D4RK, Puzzle Project’s emerging production talent Gordon Darley and the hotly-tipped April. All these and more of the scene’s future heroes!
Hidden is also looking and sounding better than ever, with a renovated outdoor area featuring new parasols, heating, loads of seating, and much more….
And remember, just email your names to email@example.com and arrive before midnight to get in without paying a penny! Who said nothing ever comes for free?
Share this :: : : :
Follow HarderFaster ::
Other Features By Ben Gomori:
HF exclusive SouthWestFour preview: Sasha vs Digweed
Scott Attrill aka Vinylgroover: The Bass Junkie
The Bluffer's Guide to Detroit Techno
Riot! memories as hard dance returns to The End
The King is back! Andy Farley finally returns
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.