An Australian of both Italian and Greek descent, the unique triple heritage of Kaz James is unlike many you’ll find in the dance music scene. But much like his origin, Kaz is no ordinary DJ and producer. Growing up in Melbourne, Kaz took early inspiration from his stepfather’s diverse record collection, with emphasis on jazz, rare groove, and house. Upon reading an article on Carl Cox in his teenage years, Kaz’s own career path was decided.
“Carl – and his ability to mix three records at once… it blew my mind!”, Kaz laughs. “There were only a handful of guys DJing professionally when I started, but he was a big influence for sure, I wanted to be in the same league as him. So I knew I had to learn how to play the same if I was going to have a chance. Also there’s people like Pete Tong too, of course, who has given me so much great advice and support in my career. Not to mention I was a massive Sasha, and John Digweed fan.”
With his feet dipped into the waters of the dance scene, the Aussie began producing his own tracks and remixes. A resident at One Love Records, the biggest club night in his native country, his bootleg of Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams’ was picked up by Pete Tong, and Erick Morillo, who frequently used the track in their live sets, catapulting Kaz into a more public eye, where he ended up being handpicked by Frankie Knuckles to open for his Ibiza shows. With the white isle now inevitably calling, Kaz’s Ibiza love affair began in his late teens, upon being given a residency by Pacha.
Chosen to be resident for Nic Fanciulli’s much-loved Friday night Pacha party, ‘We Are The Night’, Kaz has been performing at the iconic two-cherry club for over a decade. Capable of blurring the lines between the more underground and crossover sounds, Kaz James has enjoyed a career in which he has also produced tracks for the likes of Kelis and Macy Gray, but his love of house has always been at the heart of his productions. “I always wanted to be a DJ, not a popstar. And to make club hits,” he explains.
Highly personable, Kaz has utilised his Aussie charm to focus on ventures outside of music, opening his highly successful ‘Shoreditch Grind’ coffee shop in 2011. “I moved house in London, from West to East”, Kaz adds. “This building was available in Old Street and coffee has always been a passion. I had been in music for 12 years by this point, so this was something different to break it up.”
The project, much like Kaz James’ career, has gone to strength, with 10 Grind sites across London now in circulation, through the form of cafes and bars. Entwining his love for music with the venture, Kaz opened a recording studio above the Old Street HQ, with the likes of MK, Sam Smith, Tinie Tempah, Jungle, and What So Not, all recording work there.
His Sunday night residency at the world’s number 1 beach club Scorpios Mykonos attracts more than 3500 people each week. Making it the most popular night on the island. “We are so busy we turn away over a 1000 people every week, it’s insane.” The Australian producer has consistently led the way in evolving the brooding sounds of the techno scene, playing alongside the likes of Jackmaster, The Martinez Brothers, Solomun, and Black Coffee.
Having recorded alongside top names such as Life and Death boss, DJ Tennis, and Guy Gerber, Kaz has become a regular at the latter’s RUMORS events, and will perform at the Ibiza closing party in October. Having hosted the likes of Seth Troxler, Kaz’s ‘That Party’ event has become one of the most in-demand dance events in the calendar, taking place annually on New Year’s Day in Melbourne
With 2017 providing Kaz with a hectic touring schedule which has included sets at the likes of Coachella, the ‘Arizona’ producer is scheduled to play at Burning Man at the end of August, and Portugal’s BPM Festival in September. His new single, ‘Trip The Light’, a balearic string-led anthem, released on close friend Nic Fanciulli’s ‘Saved’ label, looks set to tread the same successful path as previous releases, solidifying Kaz James as a true innovator and curator of unique and rugged minimalistic beats.