"He plays CDJs the way people play drum machines."
Every Saturday throughout New York's long hot summer, MoMA PS1 presents Warm Up, the museum's annual courtyard party that celebrates music's experimental spirit. Each week, The FADER will be speaking to one of the billed artists to find out who they're psyched about playing with. This week, legendary US house and garage producer Todd Edwards takes time out from working on his new vocal-led album to wax lyrical about UK garage DJ and old friend DJ EZ.
I consider him my biggest fan. He’s been supporting me since back in the '90s. I remember meeting him first when I was collaborating with Karl Brown from Tuff Jam and he came by to say hello. But then, around 2002, I had dinner with him and a couple of friends when I was in DJ-ing in London and I got to know him. He was quiet at first, but he warmed up by the end of the night. He brought me out to one of his 4x4 events, which was the first big gig I ever DJ-ed. It was an epic one for me and really solidified the beginning of our friendship.
Usually I get on my knees and pray that I go on before him—and I just found I am on before him at Warm Up—because no one goes on after EZ, not unless you’re looking to feel depressed. You can’t match his energy; he hits the crowd’s G-spot. He knows how to charm a crowd and it’s not just about UK garage; he’s versed in different languages of dance music, and he plays CDJs the way people play drum machines. He’s a technical DJ but he’s a great selector, too—c’mon, the combination of the two?
It is an art form. I have a piece from Serato—an all-in-one with the fake CDJ pads and the mixer built in—that’s made to do what he’s doing on two CDJs that weren’t meant for that but that's he's able to work as such. I actually got this thing to try and emulate him. What he does is what I should be shooting for, because I have this cut-up sound that it would work great with, but do you know how much time you’d have to put in to learn how to use CDJs like that? There’s got to be a battery in his back—that’s what I always say. I don’t see him enough because I’m busy in LA. You pick up where you left off with good friends, but I do miss him. I’d be his warm-up DJ any day.