Chicago native Dave Maze has been in the music world for some time “I have been in the DJ game for 32 years and producing for 16 years” and he has a bumping new release on his own imprint D&e showcasing his own take on the classic Nigerian Afrobeat sound. ‘Nidi Kanyi (My People)’ features a killer vocal from Ugochi Nwaogwugwu, the musicianship of regular collaborator Spike Rebel and Dave’s production chops.
With two previous releases on the label which have touched on Italo and a cheeky rework of the Roy Ayers classic ‘Chicago’, this forthcoming bomb shines light on Dave’s versatility and deep knowledge of THE GROOVE. With a London date coming soon at the next Spun party (June 14th, The Horse & Groom Shoreditch, London), I pinged Dave a few questions…
JT - How’s Chicago these days?
DM - Chicago is still the mecca of house music, funk, and soul. Chicago is cool but a lot of the house music sounds repetitive lately for some reason. There is a very small amount of DJ’s in Chicago bangin’ Dirty Disco and Afrobeat.
JT - There’s definitely a unique sound you’ve got going on despite moving from Italo to Soulful to Afro house in just 3 releases, pared down but melodic, warm and funky. Can you signpost a few of your influences that have helped shape you musically?
DM - Growing up listening to soulful grooves shaped me musically. I started DJing running Roy Ayers tunes at the age of 12. I always loved mixing a variety of soulful music with a funky bass line. Deep soulful bass lines and live instrumentation has always been a part of my musical influence. Growing up listening to trendsetting DJs like Ron Hardy shaped my production style sonically and organically.
JT - Spike Rebel is a key component of your D&e releases, have you worked together long?
DM - Spike Rebel is the D&e main artist. When I founded D&e, I knew I would need the best and most talented artist I could find. In 2014, I ran into my high school buddy Raoof. He knew I was in the process of starting my label. He was like, Dave Maze you gotta meet this dope artist named Spike Rebel and gave me his number. I met up with Spike and immediately the magic happened. Spike can play over 30 instruments. The guy is an incredible talent. He is a true "Diamond in the Rough."
JT - Your upcoming London is your first here right?
DM - This is not my first time in London. I was here last year promoting our last EP on D&e Chicago. Also, we had our record release at Love Vinyl.
JT - Have you played outside of the States before? I’ve checked one of your mixes out...tight!
DM - Thanks, This will be my first time really playing outside of the U.S.
JT - Ndi Kanyi (My People) is deep! Would totally fit into my record bag (HINT)...how did the record come about? Ugochi Nwaogwugwu has a killer voice...
DM - I always wanted to do a funky Afrobeat track but had problems finding the right vocalist. I met Ugochi backstage after her performance with the legendary Tony Allen and Chicago Afrobeat project. She was performing a track that Tony Allen produced for her. I told her my idea about an Afrobeat project with Spike and she was down. We recorded everything in one take at Rahaan's studio. It was a great experience
JT - It’s a very short track on Bandcamp, is that a snippet or all of it?
DM - Yes, that is the snippet. The track is 8 mins long.
JT - I read that you are the Founder and Executive Director of Master Mix Academy DJ and Music Technology Youth Development STEM non-profit organization. This sounds really interesting, can you expand on what you do?
DM - Yes, we developed a music technology program that focus on STEM careers related to DJing, performing arts, studio production, and audio engineering. Our mission is to impact the community one turntable at a time.
Pick up Dave’s D&e releases from Bandcamp or if you get yourselves down to his London date alongside life partner Erica Kane, he will be selling some copies at the party, so get there early as they will go quick. He will also have some rare 7” copies of the first D&e release, Italo Dizco, to give away to the first 15 guests.
Event tickets here on RA - https://www.residentadvisor.net/events/1227058