Anyone who is a fan of UK Rap and Drill will probably be familiar with a producer named Mazza. Mazza, who hails from East London has been involved in music production for over a decade. He’s also worked with artists such as Reeko Squeeze, 67,John Wayne, Showkey, 150 and AJ Tracey.
Although Mazza has made numerous instrumentals there is one beat that would definitely have stuck out to many UK Rap and Drill fans. The beat I’m referring to is one that was used for 67’s banger “Lets Lurk”, which featured Giggs. That energetic beat was created by Mazza and fellow producer GottiOnEm.
Mazza has been invited to play guest mixes on Radar Radio, Rinse FM and Mode FM. North London Grime veteran JME has recently endorsed Mazza’s material on Twitter as well.
I wanted to know what made Mazza get involved in music production. I also hoped to find out what inspired him and GottiOnEm to make the beat for “Lets Lurk”. However Drill has been dubbed by some as the “New Grime” I was interested in hearing his thoughts on the matter.
So why the name Mazza ?
I had a couple names before called myself Mazza, when I came out of school . I started off as Mystery Kid but that didn’t go down too far. I actually changed my names a few times along the way. The word Mazza was flying around at the time and it was quite fresh as well. I soon found out that there were some people from South London who had made up the word. Mazza really means Madness. The word speaks for itself.
I heard people say “Ohh that beat is a mazza” and thought it’d be cool if the beat was a banger and it was actually produced by someone called Mazza. I just wanted to have a name, which related to the background I was in.
How long have you been making instrumentals?
I’ve been making beats for 12 years. The moment I learnt how to make beats I was just fascinated with the process and never stopped being fascinated by it.
When was the moment you decided to pursue this fulltime?
I got sidetracked with other things going on in life but deep down I always knew that music would be my career. I was one of the best in my school in terms of music ability from day one and I got recognised for that by the time I was in year 8. The head of the music department in my school used to let me come after classes were over and let me run my own little projects while bringing people in. From a young age I was doing things that up and coming artists would be doing.
“ I don’t do collaborations as much now because they can be a double edged sword ”
One thing I noticed while scrolling your Soundcloud account was that you seem to collaborate with a lot of producers. Why is that?
I saw how things used to go on in the game and I didn’t like how things were done. So when I knew that my sounds were ready for everyone, I used the influence that I had. I don’t do collaborations as much now because they can be a double edged sword. Some producers aren’t self-sufficient and expect you to spoon feed them.
You can end up carrying those insufficient producers on your back through collaborations. People have labelled me as a producer who is top on this sound at the moment, so I’ve decided it’s time to take that role and separate myself from certain producers. It’s time to associate myself with people who are on the same level as me.
When you and GottiOnEm made the beat for lets lurk Did any of you expect “Lets lurk” to get as big as it did ?
I didn’t expect it to be as big with Giggs but I did expect it to be big though. I say that because I believe in my sound. I believe in myself. I’m very self-critical so anything I’ve shared to the world is worthy enough. Even if I think “I could have done this differently” I still believe people are going to at least enjoy it.
“ We used to tell each other that we were the best ”
What inspired you both to make that beat?
Me and GottiOnEm started linking up properly and we were just like “Yeah let’s make some noise”. We used to tell each other that we were the best. We just felt like we needed to make something that’d mess up the scene.
How did you manage to connect with 67?
I worked with them early on from their career before they blew up. I connected with them at the right time. I believe it’s important for producers to find upcoming artists and develop them. You shouldn’t automatically rush to the big artists straight away.
When I first began pushing 67 many people were wondering why I was working them. Some people were like “What’s this?” or saying “This is bullshit”. The same people who questioned my involvement with 67 back then are now the ones me telling their songs are hard and singing along.
“ Drill is like Grime because of the energy and rawness it has ”
There are some people who claim that Drill is the new Grime. How do you feel about that?
Drill is not the new grime. Grime is still grime and will always be grime. Drill is like Grime because of the energy and rawness it has. The way Grime started is similar to the way Drill started. Drill comes from inspirations of other genres. A lot of the UK Drill artists are either Caribbean or African. Obviously they’re listening to the American producers and the sound coming from over but they rap differently. So they end up giving a UK touch to it.
Is education in music production really necessary?
Not really I think everyone should teach themselves on how to make music. If you want to make music don’t learn from a next man. Making music isn’t one of those kind of things. The art comes from within you and the knowledge comes from you looking for it. The most you need nowadays is youtube and some books. I actually didn’t do a lot of youtube or books, I learnt a lot from trial and error but I’ve had twelve years to do so.
“ I’ve realised that if you do the right networking then your problems can be solved ”
In our scene a lot of rappers/mcs get a lot of acknowledgment do you feel that producers in the UK rap scene are overlooked or underappreciated ?
Come on man I’m sure you know what I’m going to say (laughs) but seriously a majority of artists don’t give a shout out to the producers. A lot of it actually goes much deeper than you think. I don’t really want to speak about this too much because it’s a political topic. Fortunately I’ve got good-standing with many people. I’ve realised that if you do the right networking then your problems can be solved.
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?
Hopefully out of a shit situation to be honest. I see myself with a label, which is full of producers. I’ll grab a couple rappers and develop them. I also see myself DJ-ing and touring . I like to take things a step further and evolve.
Would it be fair to call you a drill producer or do you feel that’s unnecessary label?
I’m not a drill producer. That’s actually a mad thing to call me because what people are going to realise as my career continues is that I make different types of music. Drill is not the be all and end all of my career.
So many producers are making drill type beats. What do you think sets you apart from the rest?
I’ve got that little bit more. I keep an eye on things a lot of producers don’t even think of. I think a lot of the elements of my beats because Drill is a very straightforward sound. In order to make the sound more impactful you have to have an eye for detail. Producers will hear it, other people will like it as well even if they don’t really know why.
“ I’m a dark kind of person, the happy sounding beats don’t appeal to me ”
Your beats have an eery sound to them. Is that an attempt to make your beats align with the dark and aggressive nature of drill music?
Well I’m a dark kind of person, I make beats in a dark room a lot of the time. Apart from when I’m at my mates because I do spend a lot of time making beats round there. But in my house all the lights are switched off, the curtains closed and I’m in my bed. My laptop is the only source of light (laughs).
I really don’t like a lot of people or noise around me when I’m making beats. I just want to concentrate. I’m a dark kind of person, the happy sounding beats don’t appeal to me.
What got you into making drill beats ?
My best mate told me to listen to Quietpvck and listen to a couple beats. I’m not going to lie I wasn’t really feeling it at the beginning but then I actually heard some actual tracks, which featured those beats. Those tracks are what made me go back and listen to Quietpvck’s beats. I didn’t get it at first because it was a new sound to me but after a while it grew and thought to myself “I can actually fuck this up”.
Tell us something the public don’t know?
I’m an all-round artist, I do photography, poetry, singing, sound engineering and graphic design. My mates have even told that I’m a good Grime MC. I believe it’s all about self-sufficiency and learning things quickly.
Which producer inspires you?
I grew up listening to a lot people like Madlib, DJ Premier, J dilla, Dot Rotten , Davinche , Darkness, OTG , QTLA, A2 , GottiOnEm and Producer 5.
“ I enjoy listening to heavy metal music and I don’t care what anyone else thinks ”
What do you listen to?
I listen to all kinds of music except country. I enjoy listening to heavy metal music and I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I like the dark sounds of heavy metal. I also like the solos and overall the artistry of that music. I listen to music as a whole.
Do you have a favourite beat that you’ve worked on?
I’ve got a favourite beat that I’m working on. I actually lose a lot of interest in my beats once I’ve finished them. Me and Zeph Ellis are currently working a beat that I’m really feeling at the moment. I make beats every single day. There’s no day when I’m not thinking about making beats. I might take 3 days break every fortnight but after that break its back to making music.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a music producer?
Youtube and books, its all about trial and error don’t limit yourself. You need to think out of the box and be creative. Listen to as much different styles as music as you can.
You can listen to Mazza’s new project called Drillmentary below on Soundcloud. However it’s also able to heard and downloaded from the Link Up TV Traxx app.
Follow Mazza on Social Media
Twitter : @MazzaMurda
Instagram : @MazzaMurda
If you wish to contact him through email then his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.