Part of the Culprit crew, London DJ/producer Jozif was asked last year if he wanted to mix the latest instalment in the highly respected 'Balance' CD series. Launching its 'Presents...' series which will be focusing on new talent, the Australian series tracked down Jozif, who partners Fabric resident Craig Richards running the Fist Or Finger label. But why did they choose him, DJ Mag asks Jozif? “I've no idea,” he says, modestly. “You'll have to ask them. I was just very happy they asked me, as I've been a fan of their mix CDs for years. It was definitely an honour.”
Born into a musical family — Jozif's dad was a professional drummer, his mother a ballerina — he tells DJ Mag that it was his older brothers who had quite a lot to do with his musical education. “I owe them a lot,” he says.
Falling in love with the whole electronic music scene, he cites Sasha's 'Global Underground: Ibiza', Craig Richards's first Fabric comp, James Holden's 'Balance' effort and Charles Webster's 'Coast 2 Coast' as being his favourite mix comps of all time. Now joining the likes of Lee Burridge, Funk D'Void, Timo Maas, Agoria, Joris Voorn and Paolo Mojo in having mixed a Balance comp, Jozif begins explaining that things didn't initially go according to plan...
“The final version only took me a day to do, but the whole process was over the course of six months or so,” he says. “The first few versions had some records on there that couldn't be cleared, and in the end something personal and awful happened that made me do this version.”
The first mixes he did for this Balance comp were quite upbeat and clubby, but then his good friend Martin Dawson, aka King Roc, died from a brain aneurysm at the end of last year. The untimely passing of his great friend led to Jozif looking differently at the kind of mix he wanted to put out, and the subsequent blend came out much more melancholic.
Starting with Charles Webster's emotive 'Butterfly', it eases into 'Our Friends Electric' by Glimpse & Martin Dawson, with its blissed out robo vox and driving electronic tech-soul a fitting paean to his close pal. More emotional tracks from the likes of Steffi, Yoko0 and Burnin' Tears follow, before Silicone Soul's Balearic 'One Thing' and Ian Pooley's melodic analogue masterpiece 'Compurhythm' shift it up a gear or so.
Jozif's own 'BT's 3 & 5', themselves shot through with stylophonic bass and violin melacholia respectively, continue the mournful mood, but this isn't a wallowing-in-self-pity, self-indulgent tearjerker. The beauty in the selection shines through, lovingly put together by a DJ at ease with the multifaceted sides to his oeuvre.
The mix is a great tribute to his feelings towards his friend Martin Dawson, and having thus expressed himself Jozif is keen to look to the future. Equally at home playing We Love.. Space in Ibiza as he is a cool underground Shoreditch den, Jozif says: “I think it's important to play to your audience, depending on who they may be, whilst retaining your own personal vibe. It's tricky when DJs just play whatever they want when maybe the time or place isn't exactly right.
"I think there's a time to be totally selfish, and a time to be a little more understanding.”