Last month, Larry Heath sat down with Sydney artist Waza while he was at the inaugural Australian Music Week to talk about his shows there, his latest single “Lost in Space”, his upcoming album Crooked Jaw, his involvement in the Captured Australia project and more! Read on:
Welcome to Australian Music week, the first event of its kind. Tell me a little bit about what you’re up to while you’re here.
Just catching a few conferences, doing a couple of gigs. I’m doing my own gig at Northies on Saturday with Tuka and I’m also playing with Slumberhaze just filling in on bass for them. So just basically networking, and meeting people face-to-face because a lot of the industry is behind computers so it’s actually great to see everyone in one spot and then to chat.
It is a great opportunity to put faces to names – tell me a little bit about what you’re up to at the moment musically. You’ve got Captured which is a part of Australian Music Week – you’re one of the seven featured artists in that. Tell us about that and the song that you’ve got in this project.
I’m working on an album. Its’ going to be released hopefully March next year and I’ve released the lead single off it about a week ago, it’s called “Lost in Space” and that’s actually coinciding with the Captured competition so I’ve linked up with Vanessa Dang, also from NSW, and she directed a video clip for my song. We shot it in an old PA shop in Camperdown called Smithys. It’s actually funny because I had a really bad experience there about 10 years ago and it was actually quite ironic to be back in that place again. It’s actually just like an old warehouse and there were people living in there, so it was a great experience. Again, one of the main reasons why I entered it was to network with like-minded people in the industry and to keep progressing.
The album’s going to be called Crooked Jaw. It’s going to be showcasing a different side of my music making, whereas in the past it’s been fairly sample-based. This album’s going to have hardly any samples, more sampling myself and playing practically all the instruments. So it’s a step in my evolution because I grew up playing in bands and I can play more than one instrument.
Then when I got into the producing side of things, especially hip-hop, I fell in love with sampling and bought records like crazy for the past four years and had to kind of stop because I had too many records that I wasn’t even listening to and I started feeling a little bit guilty, because I can play the instruments but I’m sampling, I’m taking the ‘lazy’ approach. Another thing I started to notice was that when I picked up my instruments again, I wasn’t comfortable holding them because I was so used to doing everything on a computer or pinching a sample from a vinyl and just tapping it out so I made the conscious decision to get back into who I was as a musician, but incorporate both.
Were you feeling a bit lazy?
Yeah, lazy. Then it actually scared me because I’m originally a bass player; I’ve been playing bass for twenty years and there was a time when I picked up my bass and I didn’t feel comfortable holding it and that was like a wakeup call for me, to go back to basics.
And you’re going to be playing bass for Slumberhaze later?
Yeah, so that’s good, it’s keeping my dream of being a bass player alive and their songs are very intricate. Sasha, the singer, he writes very intricate time signatures and chord changes and it was a bit of a challenge for me learning the songs because I also am playing here, so I have to work on my set, and I also play in another hip-hop group called Two Toes and we’ve been doing some, so I practically overextended myself so my head’s a mess and I just have to pretty much memorise three different sets for one week.
Yeah, I can see the pain in your eyes. And Sasha’s on the “Lost in Space” track?
Yes! So that’s kind of how we linked up. I ended up supporting Slumberhaze at the Oxford Art Factory this year two nights in a row off the back of their “Nothing But You” single release and we hit it off. We use the same radio servicer, Nik Tropiano, and I was speaking to Nik about any singers he knew that I could collaborate with and he suggested Sash from Slumberhaze and the connection with Sash and me was pretty instant. He’s a very likable guy and was easy to get along with and when I presented him the song he liked it straight away and we have a lot of the same influences so he was easy to work with. So it’s turned out good! The radio released it last Tuesday and its been added to 2SER and waiting to hear back from other radios but I’m sure it’ll go okay.
Can you tell us a little bit about the themes behind the track.
It was one of the first songs that I wrote getting away from the sample-based music. I’d been experimenting with this sound for a while, while I was releasing the sample-based music, and was slowly working on it. It was time for me to show that side of me. Its very synthy, still very hip-hoppy in the beat and the bass lines. The way I can explain it, is it having a crossover appeal with alternative type singing with overlay hip-hop beat and it’s got just a nice blend. You can hear the two different styles of music and when I linked up with Sash to record it and write the lyrics, he showed me what he’d written and I was happy with it.
It was a story about a girl who is escaping the stereotypes and realities of the world: going out on Friday nights, taking drugs, and drinking alcohol and stuff like that. I think what everyone normally does when they’re in their early twenties, trying to figure themselves out and, I guess in Australia as well, our culture is very ‘party-culture’ – we like to go out and binge drink and do all these kinds of things so basically it’s like all that in a nutshell and Sasha talking through the eyes of a girl!
“Lost in Space” is one of the video finalists in Captured Australia. You can watch the clip and vote for it HERE. Waza will be performing at the AU Awards this Wednesday Night, where the Captured Australia winners will be revealed.
Follow Waza on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wazabeatz