By Bill Rah
It was dark as he skated through the streets of Glasgow, his heart racing. He swerved around the corner and reached his destination. It was his Boiler Room debut at Sub Club, a month after the release of his debut EP Good Thing.
“I went straight from the skatepark to Subby. I remember skating down across the bridge over the motorway and down to the club. It was a mental night.” However, he encountered a peculiar issue that distracted him. “My needles were skipping on my records, I couldn’t work out for the life of me what it was. My ex-girlfriend and her pal were both hammering the table with the decks on, absolutely buzzing, which was making my needles skip.” After the release of his Boiler Room, his career skyrocketed. At the time he was relatively new to the game
“When I got my first record out on DABJ and they asked me to do the Boiler Room it was one of my first gigs on my own. Before that, I was just running my club night DJ’ing with my pals at La Cheetah.” When young Miz and his squad of House and Techno loving selectors were coming up they built a reputation for their outrageous and fierce club nights.
When they first began their club night Offbeat, they were buying lots of records and mostly DJ’ing at house parties. “The older house and techno crew used to call us the young team. We used to go to them with our list of artists to book and it would be people they had on their lists for years.” They hosted Jackmaster and Bake for their launch party in 2011. Skatebard, DJ Funk and Lory D supported their parties. Miz recalls hosting some of the most extraordinary sets in his career there
“Had some of the craziest nights in La Cheetah DJ’ing, with my mates Joe McGhee and Jordan Coleman.” They tended to perform on the last Friday before Christmas for the birthday. “That was always a mad one. On the 5th Birthday and final party, there were literally two layers of people. One on the ground and one on the shoulders, it was crazy.”
Back then he was a young bam waving a bottle of tonic. Now he is a deadly proficient producer and sampling wizard. The next release, Coming Up Roses, will be out in February. The breathtaking four-track EP is composed of energetic House, Garage and Acid accompanied with exquisite vocals. “Four tracks I’ve made with my pal Michael, a singer who goes under the name Bodega.”
Miz describes Bodega as a “talented singer and songwriter.” They have been friends for a few years and regularly spoke about collaborating. “I had these tracks sitting and asked if he wanted to put vocals on top of them.” It’s something that he’s wanted to do for a long time. “I’ve always wanted to make tracks for singers. I made the tracks with nice simple but interesting chord progressions that would be easy for a vocalist to write melodies over.”
Due to the current economic climate and lack of income, he needed to source other revenues. “With coronavirus, I don’t have a lot of spare cash but ideally, I would have pressed them on to a record. That’s just not viable at the moment, unfortunately.” This motivated himto plan the release around Bandcamp Friday, which has significantly supported artists during the past year. Last year, Big Miz released a stunning EP ‘Cartha Cuts’ on DABJ.
He shared some of the other tracks he has in the pipeline and said: “I’ve got another two tracks I made in Devon Analogue Studio and a remix with Dart from Ireland that I would like to get out at some point.” His production is extraordinary, as his versatility is unparalleled. He decided to try something different by making four heavy techno tracks and began learning music theory.
He has a remix of the classic Kariya ‘Let Me Love You for Tonight’ coming later this year. Big Miz shares a studio with Kenny and Dan, the legendary duo behind DABJ. One of Glasgow’s elite record labels and promoters. “I met Dan from going into Rubadub buying records when I was younger and had just started my club night.” Kenny and Dan used to run a night called Monox. Miz and his mates booked them to do a reunion night at La Cheetah.
His first release was supposed to come out on La Cheetah’s label although it fell through. Despite this, things worked out for the best. “Dan emailed me and said right let’s do it, and that was that.” After they put out his record and performed together, he built a relationship with them. As he described their bond, he candidly revealed his perception. “They have been my family all through my career so far. They released my album and a few of my EPs.”
As a self-taught producer, Big Miz believes you get settled in your own routine and find out what works for you. Although he appreciates getting a second opinion. Last year he produced multiple tracks with Liam Doc in Devon Analogue Studio. “It was good because we both have a different way of working. When that comes together you come up with ideas you wouldn’t normally come up with yourself. Two heads are better than one.”
Before the recent restrictions, Big Miz was working on a collab with Jasper James. They had been planning on getting together in the studio for a while, having previously produced tracks before COVID. “We have tried to make tracks at parties and I went up to his house a few times. I asked him to come down to the studio end of last year and we got 2 finished. It’s always good working with Jasper. Hopefully, we can get a collab EP rattled out.”
During the lockdown, he began a new business. “During the lockdowns, I have been providing a mixdown and mastering service. It’s aimed at up and coming producers, who don’t fully know their way about compression, limiters, EQ and things like that.” He has enjoyed this as it gives him a reason to go to the studio. “People send me the stems of their tune and I would go through it and make sure it’s sounding polished and ready for the club.” He has also been passing some on to other superstar selectors.
“I’ve been sending a few to La La for her label. I’ve been getting some absolute belters that I want to keep for myself.” He has considered starting a label to release some of the music he has discovered. Without regular income from gigs, he has occasionally picked up on delivery shifts to get by during the pandemic. DJ’ing was his life and the pandemic took that away from him.
“It’s been tough, that was my life and my full-time job before, but I’ve just got my eyes set on the light at the end of the tunnel. Waiting for that vaccine to get rolled out, waiting to get back to it.” When clubs return the prodigal son of Scottish club culture will be the one hammering the decks with sheer joy.