Known for his distinct, deep jackin’ house sound, Weiss knew he wanted to pursue this path from the moment he picked up his first record at twelve years old. He learned to DJ in the 90s on belt driven decks, and slowly evolved to producing in the early 2000s. Hailing from the UK, Weiss has toured globally, bringing his unique style to some of the world’s most renowned clubs and festival stages. Sought out by numerous artists for remixes and collaborations including Green Velvet, Tube & Berger and MK, he’s released tracks with Toolroom, Dirtybird, Play It Down and many more. His recent track Feel My Needs has been well-received on UK radio, charting on Spotify’s prominent dance playlists among other lists globally. I caught up with Weiss after his recent gig in Toronto - here he describes his preparation for gigs, production process, beginnings and having conviction. Enjoy getting to know this talented artist!
How do you prepare for a gig in terms of music selection, and in general?
The same way I’ve always done it, and that’s to take some good amount of time out and listen to the promos and concentrate. To be honest, if it doesn’t catch my attention in the first couple of bars and skipping through the track, it won’t make it.
I’ve always gone by “If it gives me a tingle on the back of my neck, then the crowd should get the same feeling.” And this is coming from a punter when I was 16 before I started doing this for a living.
You started in the 90s, right? How did you learn to produce and how has that evolved to now?
This is correct. First of all I started by doing it in my bedroom when I was 12 on belt driven decks and slowly evolved to producing. Back then it was a very expensive thing to do as everything was hardware, unlike today where you pretty much have a set up just in a laptop. Back in early 2000 I went down to Brighton to learn how to use the hardware. A friend of mine was the engineer for Some of Massive Attacks albums, so I was in good hands. I then came back home to Surrey to get a loan and buy my own studio equipment and the rest is history.
Can you talk about craftsmanship and the art of producing and/or DJing?
To a certain point, yes haha. To start with, I have to have an idea before I go in the studio. I might even do what I like to call “acoustic versions” where I’ll get a few ideas down of the original idea, and take the best bits from each one. It doesn’t always work out that way as in it might just take off from the start.
Don’t be scared to think outside the box and do something different to what other people do. By all means get influenced from your favourite artists, but don’t copy. It’s more fun this way as when you get that hook it’s a real buzz.
I saw a video where you talked about 90s classics that influenced you, can you talk a bit about tracks or producers that have influenced you more recently?
Yeah.... Producers like Timbaland and Pharrell Williams for their production and cool sounds they use. I’ve really been listening to War On Drugs' new album so much when on tours. Great alternative music for traveling with. Check out Lenny Kravitz' new track “You” - proper funky too.
What’s your perspective on emotions and music, and your experience as a DJ or producer with that subtle art of sensing what works or doesn't?
Music and emotions is everything. The fact that sounds can pretty much change your mood and make you feel better, or sometimes sad. I think the greatest thing about human senses is that they take you back to places and bring up memories - luckily all good in my case. This applies on the dance floor as well where music the DJ is playing is pretty much controlling the crowd's feelings. Very powerful! Even better when it’s your own music.
From what I’ve read you have a deep musical background and started quite early, do you see yourself as educating dance floors or spreading an idea about the power of music?
I hope so. It’s all about that one time in your life where you can just leave all your problems at home and be free of any trouble.
Did you have a mentor? Was that important for you?
Not really, but as a young kid practising to DJ in my room, I looked up to DJs like Tony De Vit, Carl Cox, Pete Wardman and Harry “Choo Choo” Romero.
How did you develop a sense of believing you could pursue this and that you’d succeed?
It started as soon as I picked up my first vinyl when I was 12 and said, I want to do this for the rest of my life. Nothing was going to stop me and I always believed it would happen. It was not an option to fail.
What’s next for you?
Just finishing up a few remixes from Kylie Minogue, Shift K3y, and a few other surprises to come. Lots of new music from myself and future collabs with other artists. Another America tour coming up, Australia tour and trips to Europe, Asia and South America. Big gig coming up in London next weekend with Toolroom celebrating 15 years of the label.
Amazing - thank you for taking the time here and have fun at the gig!
Many thanks to Sebastien Gosselin and Imaan Pirani for setting up the interview, and Weiss for the awesome energy and insight.