In Conversation with… Elias Mazian
Elias Mazian was born and raised in Amersfoort, just a short journey from Amsterdam, where he is now based. Elias initially a keen Hip Hop enthusiast then discovered the sounds of early Chicago House, Acid and Disco and was instantly hooked. Amsterdam became the cultural hotspot for Elias where he became extremely engrossed in the clubbing scene. The numerous record stores and open-minded spaces enabled Elias to begin his quest to become an eclectic artist amongst the local dance scene. With a dance floor focus it is not a surprise that Elias Mazian became a household name in a city that simply loves to dance.
In s short space of time Elias has secured residencies at prestigious venues such as Trouw and Studio 80 and boasts a debut E.P on Top Trago’s Voyage Direct imprint. Today he graces the decks at the highly popular De school, which is so talked about not just in Amsterdam but also across Europe, with a CV like that it is not a surprise why Elias is a must see artist across Europe’s dance music circuit. We caught up with Elias ahead of his performance at Oranjebloesem and discussed Amsterdam, Trouw and much more.
Can you firstly start by discussing the city of Amsterdam and why it is so special to you?
Elias “I used to live in a town very close to Amsterdam called Amersfoort, it is about 20 minutes away by train. There was not much going on in my town really it was quiet, I used to travel there initially with friends to buy records and find out new music, it was the main hub. I always wanted to move there and I finally did when I decided to study. Amsterdam has such a cultural scene, the artists all hang out together, there is a real sense of community and it is easy to meet new people. A great thing about Amsterdam is that because it is small everything is in reach you can get everywhere easily just with a bike”
I just want to discuss the festival, Oranjebloesem that falls on Kings day. Can you tell us what to expect from your set and if there’s anyone you are looking forward to see?
Elias “Well Kings Day is a massive celebration across the Netherlands it’s a great time and is a public holiday, you see market stalls across all the streets and it has a great atmosphere particularly within Amsterdam. Oranjebloesem is an amazing outdoor festival so I will probably play a slightly more joyful set then usual. I always try to be eclectic in my sets, instead of simply just playing out records, I’m going to try and catch Kinks live set as I have not seen him yet so it should be really cool”
Can you talk to us about your Trouw residency and why the venue had such a big reputation as one of the best electronic music venues in Europe?
Elias” The place really shaped my career and my decision to become a DJ. Trouw was really sophisticated and hosted artists like Flying Lotus so it was great to be a resident there as the focus was always on delivering excellent experiences, it gained such a good reputation that tourists from all across the Europe would visit the venue, it had a particular vibe to it where the emphasis was to party. We were all sad when it closed but it left such a cultural impact on the local scene and actually helped to start new opportunities within the city like venues such as De School”
You have released your first E.P on Tom Trago’s imprint, what are you looking to achieve when you are making music?
Elias “ It really depends my first E.P was very much based on drum rhythms I never really try and make the same type of music, I want to be able to create something different with every release, now for example I am very influenced by Mr Fingers and 80s house it just depends on how I feel, I think it is the best way to be”
Do you approach your DJ sets in a specific way or do you try and make your music solely focussed on the dancefloor?
Elias “I first started to DJ at parties so that people would have a good time, I just love playing records and I think that I still do that today, I try to read a crowd and then ensure that my selections are best suited to make the party better”
Can you talk through how you got into dance music and your early influences?
Elias “ I used to really love Hip Hop when I was younger that was really the first genre that I was deeply interested in, I then started to see the connections from Hip Hop to House and started to explore artists like Kerri Chandler and music from the Paradise garage, it was all a process”
Can you discuss some of your favourite ever gigs?
Elias “ That is a difficult question I played at Sub club in Glasgow recently and the place was amazing, it was so crazy I played alongside Jasper James and Tom Trago and the crowd really know there music. I actually started playing Electro at one point and they seemed to love it, it was kind of strange for me because the club closed at 4 am, I am not used to this as the parties in Amsterdam can last until the early mornings or even the next day”
As you have some roots in Morocco can you tell us about any dance scenes that is happening there at the moment?
Elias” There is a very small scene in Marrakech at the moment they do host some electronic festivals and I think Ben UFO is due to play there. I think they have small labels such as Cosmo where I think Sonja Moonear and the minimal crew have gotten involved with.
I always try and finish with this question, can you give us any artists within the Dutch circuit that we should be more aware of in the UK
Elias “ There is an artist called Oceanic which I think will definitely blow up in the future, he is a very particular DJ and plays very rhythmic beats and is also very melodic he is playing regularly across Amsterdam at the moment so check him out. I also have to mention the Red Light Radio DJs they really do play some cool music at the moment so don’t forget to give them a listen too”