Connecting the dots

Interview with Elias Mazian

Connecting the dots

13-09-2013 | 11.22

Last year, at the Nachtdigital festival, I met Elias. Back then I had never heard of him as a dj, nor see him play. Nowadays, things clearly have changed. Over the past year he truly started putting himself out there and by now he has seen most of the cities dj-booths. Still there is a very special one missing, but that is about to change. Friday next week, Elias will be making his debut in Trouw. Something he started dreaming about only twelve months ago.
Elias, over one year time you gained quite a bit of fame in Amsterdam. What happened exactly?
"To be honest, I really don’t know. Things have changed a lot over the past years though. Before I moved to Amsterdam, I was living in Amersfoort and touring as a dj with Hef, the rapper. I did go to Rush Hour to buy the records of Tom (Trago) and Steven (Awanto3), they brought out a type of cross-over records that I really like. Besides that, I also came along with guys from Barre Tijden to minimal parties, but I never really got into that music. When I started to join them to festivals as well, I finally heard something that got me right away. When Barre Tijden started to make a name for itself, we all kind of got a similar taste in music. That was also right around that time I started living in Amsterdam. My first year here, I didn’t get booked too often and I just started performing under my own name. Back then, my life was all about practising and searching for the right music. When I went to Nachtdigital last year, it was truly a moment of inspiration. After that, I decided to quit my study and just went for it full force. Coincidently people started noticing me, and things really started to happen. It took years of searching, but around that time I finally found my way. Though all of these things are said afterwards of course. Honestly I have no idea how it exactly went, but I can admit it went pretty fast."
Last year you told me that Joy O is someone you really look up to, is that still so? 
"Definitely. In my eyes, he’s one of the best dj’s when it comes to timing. Somehow he always manages to give his sets really rough edge, but also really sexy, and that’s exactly what I want to do. It’s some kind of style, which I admire. Joy Orbison and Motor City Drum Ensemble are the two deejays that I agree with the most. They spin very edgy and cool, that’s something that's probably related to my hiphop past. Actually, my favourite dj at the moment is Ben UFO. The way he manages to combine everything in a very logical and smart way, that’s something that I try to do myself as well. Connecting the dots, it’s probably my biggest challenge."
I do get the idea that he's also still searching for the right sound.
"Yeah he is, but that’s what I really enjoy in a dj, that you can hear a noticeable development in his sound, just because there is so much to discover. That is exactly the feeling that I gained over the past two years. I went searching, and quickly discovered that there is so much to find! It’s really a kind of playing field, that house paradigm. And a playing field, that was very exciting for me as a kid. That feeling is exactly the way I started to feel two years ago and it’s still there. I don’t know where things are going, but that’s what makes it so much fun. You can try almost everything, and the crowd really opened itself up for it."
Is there a certain element in music that always gets you? 
"Yes definitely! I’m not able to describe it in a style, but more in a feeling. There are a few things that regularly come back in my music taste. At least, that's what I hear from others. Back when I often listened to Dilla's beats, it just got to me and I could only think: ‘Wow! What is this? How did he make this??’ Or when I went to hiphop parties and people just went crazy on tunes from A Tribe Called Quest. When I first heard the album The Low End Theory I was so astonished of what I was hearing. That’s what I still get with a lot of the times with music. It’s my cup of tea when it gets me right away."

Text: Ruben Leter