This week’s interview features Imanzi. A diverse DJ and producer making dub, dubstep, jungle and everything in between. Co-founder of Dub, Sweat & Beers, Imanzi has been flying the flag for sound system culture in the east of England for time...
SSC: Easy Hyden! In your own words, who are you and what do you do?
I: My name is Imanzi. I’m a producer, promoter and DJ currently living in Norwich, UK.
SSC: So, how was the journey? What started it all off and how did that lead you to where you are today?
I: Always been in love with music since my youth, basically living off my Dad’s CD & Vinyl collection until I got a bit older. Then it was exclusively classic rock and heavy metal for a good few years while playing the guitar in a couple of small bands at high school and with friends.
After discovering late-90s rave music such as The Prodigy, Goldie, Aphex Twin, Aphrodite, etc – This is where my love for electronic music actually begun… I guess the journey must have properly started when I learned to DJ back in 2011-12, while growing up in the flat lands of Lincolnshire. Thus getting my first residency at a local Dubstep/Drum & Bass night known as VEXD.
Years on, I moved to Norwich where I began to play at other events such as Bassjam and Warrior Jungle. I guess this is where I started to take the music interest a bit more seriously, producing beats a lot more and networking with other like-minded DJs & musicians.
SSC: Who are the main influences for you, musically?
I: That’s a hard one because I like so many different types of music. Off the top of my head, I guess DMZ, The Prodigy, Toots & The Maytals, Goldie, Bonobo, Nujabes, The Gladiators, Jimi Hendrix, King Tubby, Scientist… I could go on!
SSC: What do you consider the highlight of your music career so far, and why?
I: I suppose the biggest highlights have been the sets I’ve been lucky to play across many venues & festivals in the UK and Europe. Also, releasing my first ever EP this year on Simply Deep was a big thing for me. And of course, doing bits with my Dub, Sweat & Beers crew has truly been a blessing with the opportunity of booking some of our favourite artists to meet and play for us!
SSC: Any moments you’d rather forget?
I: Hmmm, maybe a few silly drunk moments in the past but pretty good other than that!
SSC: As well as all things Imanzi related, you’re also a key part of Norwich’s Dub, Sweat & Beers collective. Mind telling us a bit about this and how it came to be?
I: We all started the idea back in 2017. After being inspired by other sound system & Reggae nights, we wanted to start doing ones of our own. The crew originally consists of myself, Jez, Em Pressure and Biddle (Positive Charge Sound System) where we push from Roots to modern styles of Reggae/Dub/Steppas, which then would naturally progress to Jungle for the last hour or so.
We try and keep the nights consistent in our city, aiming to host an event every 2 months. Booking a wide array of artists, MCs and producers to mash up the Norwich dance. Previous bookings including: Bukkha, Natty Campbell, Somah, Walk n Skank, Dubbing Sun, Dutchie, Charla Green, Omni Rhythm and lots more!
This year has been a big step up for us. Now running our own Record Label (helping push new, local and established producers), official DSB merchandise, as well as hosting and playing various festivals in the UK. We aim to go bigger and better next year, so who knows what we’ve got in store for 2020…
SSC: Anyone we should be keeping an eye on right now? Any particular artists/ DJs standing out to you?
I: Anything released on Moonshine Recordings! Probably my favourite label in the scene at the moment. Also keep an eye on people like Sully, Djrum, Somah, Mungk, Imajika, Kontent, City1, Samurai Breaks & Charla Green! These guys are smashing it at the minute!
SSC: Other than bass-focused music, are there any other genres or artists you are particularly fond of currently?
I: Definitely! I love Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Ska and anything instrumental/post-rock! A few bands/musicians off the top of my head would include Mogwai, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Ludovico Einaudi, Sigur Rós, Brontide, Tool, ASIWYFA, Portico Quartet, The Samuel Jackson Five, etc…
SSC: What’s on the horizon for Imanzi? Anything exciting coming up?
I: Lots for 2020! Currently working on my next EP on Simply Deep. This time collaborating with Kontent and a special Pharma remix too! Also, a few more tracks getting released here and there (can’t announce yet). We plan to do lots more gigs and shows under Dub, Sweat & Beers as well – in our home town of Norwich (of course) as well as other places and festivals…
Not to mention the DSB releases we have in store for next year… new music coming from Dub Cavern, Natty Campbell, Vixen Sound, Killa P, DJI, myself and more!
SSC: And finally, if you could give one piece of advice for those wishing to follow in your path, what would it be?
I: Persistence is key. Determination and accepting failure! We all go through failure, but it’s there to makes us stronger – so carry on doing what you love and don’t give up!
Big thanks to Hyden for taking the time to speak with us. Keep up with all things Imanzi here: https://www.facebook.com/djimanzi/