A genuine UKG legend, DJ EZ has become renowned for his marathon DJ sets, and this Saturday he takes on the 24-hour set challenge once more, live and direct from Defected HQ, fundraising for Mind.

A musical force of nature for over two decades, DJ EZ’s notoriety as a creative mixer with unparalleled instinct and technical prowess makes him one of the best loved acts in dance, which is also credit to his mission to promote positivity, kindness and humanity. We caught up with him ahead of his set...

Hey DJ EZ, we’re really looking forward to having you down to HQ for the livestream this Saturday. What can we expect from your set?

I’m really excited, too - it’s going to be special. I’ll be mixing up new UK Garage with the classics that everyone knows and loves alongside releases from my NUVOLVE label. I’ll also be delving into music from my early years of DJing and of course some of my favourites from the Defected catalogue. 

How do you prepare for a 24-hour stream, do you have any rituals?

It’s really important to get my body and the mind prepared, so I make sure my diet is as good as it can be, and also that I get enough sleep! Of course it goes without saying my mind is totally zoned in on the music, but these healthy rituals are essential in making sure I can deliver.  

What is the biggest difference between playing a virtual set as opposed to a real-life club or festival gig?

 Of course nothing beats the experience of feeding off the energy of a live crowd, but being able to reach so many more people all around the world is also a really nice feeling. 

Apart from your marathon sets, how else have you been keeping busy during lockdown?

Me and my manager Paul Marini set up our new label NUVOLVE, and I have also been running my weekly radio show which is syndicated worldwide, in addition to hosting a monthly Residency show on BBC Radio 1.

Last year you set up your label NUVOLVE, tell us more about that... 

We wanted to set up a label for a long time as a new platform to shine a light on the incredible talent out there in addition to my radio shows and live sets. When the pandemic hit and we were locked down Paul and I saw it as a positive opportunity. In the months since we’ve already released tracks by some of the best up-and-coming talent including MPH, Fabian Dubz and SHOSH alongside some real legends of the scene such as Todd Edwards, Club Asylum and Eddie Craig aka Proper Tings and Sweet Female Attitude. What we’re trying to do is bridge the gap between the generations for all UKG fans… and we’ve got a lot more to come!

If you could go back to one gig from before lockdown, where would it be?

It’s really difficult to answer this specifically as each and every gig is a completely unique experience and they’re each as fulfilling in their own way!

How do you discover new music?

There’s such a huge amount of great new music and talented artists out there and I try my best to absorb myself in that as much as possible. I make sure that I’m seeking out and listening to as much new music as I can, as often as I can.

What advice would you give to DJs trying to breakthrough right now?

I believe that everyone has a unique skill, everyone is good at something in a way that no-one else can be. If you have that belief and a real burning passion for what you do and you work at it as hard as you can, the sky’s the limit for what you can achieve! 

Saturday’s stream is raising money for Mind, why do you think this is an important cause to support?

The pandemic has had such a huge impact on people’s mental health and MIND are doing an incredible job of being there for people, and empowering them when they need it the most. Their mission is to keep going until everyone whose mental health is suffering gets the support they need, and in order to do that they need support too!

Finally, what would be your desert island disc from the Defected catalogue… 

There’s really too many to mention on this legendary label! But here is a couple:

 4th Measure Men - 4 You (MK Remix) 

 Todd Edwards - You're Sorry