Q2 Dual DJ Interview - Jamez Zabiela | DJMag.com Skip to main content

Q2 Dual DJ Interview - Jamez Zabiela

DJmag's Jonnie Parker catches up with James Zabiela before his One+One set with Nick Fanciulli.

Listen to the interview here AUDIO

DJ Mag.
Yes yes, it's myself Jonnie Parker, we're down here at the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs party at seOne. I'm in a dodgy back room that looks like it's normally used for other things but today it's an interview room and I'm here with James Zabiela, none other than the man himself and also Lee Jones who developed the Q2 Dual DJ, which is a bit of kit that James and Nic Fanciulli use to do their One+One back to back extraordinaire DJ sets. Just say hi to the people at home Lee.

Lee Jones.
Hi Guys.

DJ Mag.
James, give a little hello.

Zabiela.
Hello.

DJ Mag.
Wicked, we're all on board. Right just to get in quickly because I know you've got to be on the decks soon James. When and how were you introduced to the Q2 Dual DJ?

Zabiela.
I can't actually remember.

Lee Jones.
I e-mailed you for a lesson on the effects unit.

Zabiela.
That's it now I remember, and I replied. Completely ignored the rest of the e-mail and was just intrigued by this little lovely box with buttons on which he said he'd invented.

DJ Mag.
One of them! "Thanks for your lengthy e-mail but that last sentence is all I'm interested in!" Fair enough. Okay so it was almost love at first sight then. So

DJ Mag.
So for the One & One launch party you scaled the planet for the humblest of locations and in the end you chose the Miami Winter Music Conference. So there you were on stage back to back with Nic Fanciulli for the first time. Was there blood, sweat and tears, underwear thrown on stage, how did it go?

Zabiela.
It was amazing, yeah. I didn't drop my underwear this time but it went really well. The great thing about the Q2 is that it eliminates the difficulties of playing with someone else, you sort of feel like you're DJing on your own. I'm not a massive fan of back to backs but the box allows you to always be doing something so even if Nic plays two or three in a row I can be there cueing my next record or doing stuff over the top.

DJ Mag.
Yeah, I do a few back to backs myself and there's always an element of "My turn, your turn, my turn, your turn.."

Zabiela.
"I'm going to go and make the tea..."

DJ Mag.
"Can you just hang on their a second, I need to go to the loo. I'll be five..."

Zabiela.
"Have you got any biscuits!?"

DJ Mag.
So basically what it means is that if know the tunes you're going to play and you're not going to go off and be a bit virtuoso then you know if you work well together then you can have that element of trust and just get on with it.

Zabiela.
Yeah totally and it also allows for loops and effects and other stuff to be done in addition to what's being played, so it's ace!

DJ Mag.
Wicked. Since then have you had any other memorable gigs with the Q2 Dual at all? Anything that springs to mind?

Zabiela.
We did a seventy two date tour, it was mental! We went all over the place. I think Tokyo was our favourite, then Chicago, also a big festival in Sydney for We Love, that was unbelievable. We've been incredibly lucky. When you're doing that many dates, for the majority of them to be great gigs is a really awesome thing.

DJ Mag.
Have you found yourself in Detroit?

Zabiela.
Erm no. Didn't go Detroit. That was one of the places that we didn't go but we did a whole month in America where we did twenty three dates so we went almost everywhere but there.

DJ Mag.
If you did go to Detroit do you think you might find yourself reaching for a Fedde Le Grand tune?

Zabiela.
No but you know what I really want is one of those foam fingers that they used to promote the record. You remember Hulk Hogan, he had the Hulkamania finger, the yellow thing.

DJ Mag.
Oh yeah.

Zabiela.
Everyone used to wave them around at the wrestling match, well they did a Fedde Le Grand one and I really want one of those foam fingers.

DJ Mag.
You should get hold of the people who ran that series Gladiator, do you remember that, they had the foam fingers in that as well.

Zabiela.
Yeah yeah, they had white ones.

DJ Mag.
See if you can get a Pugil Stick as you're at it as well.

Zabiela.
Nothing can beat a Hulkamania foam finger I reckon they'll be going for quite a lot on E-Bay.

DJ Mag.
Check E-bay. I reckon you could sell some of your....

Lee Jones.
Q2's!

DJ Mag.
Q2's, you could sell a Q2 for it. Moving swiftly on. Are there any other benefits of the Q2 Dual DJ that aren't instantly obvious to someone who knows their business?

Zabiela.
I think the beauty of it is that it's just so simple. It really is just putting another cue system on to a mixer. No one's really done that before. So it's such a great little device. The fact it's so simple, anyone can just plug it in. It just connects the same way that you'd connect Final Scratch or something like that. It's just your outputs into the inputs and the outputs back into the mixer.

DJ Mag.
So it's pretty much idiot proof?

Zabiela.
Yeah, I reckon.

DJ Mag.
Which is quite ironic because most of the DJs I've come across are so intelligent and able to grasp new concepts so quickly.

Lee Jones.
Of which you're a fine example.

DJ Mag.
Not at all, not at all! I've never met an idiotic, or annoying or self assured DJ in my life. I know this might be shooting yourself in the foot but have you witnessed any other acts that have done impressive bizzle with the Q2 Dual DJ. Anyone else you can recommend to the listening audience

Zabiela.
No I've never really heard anyone else use it because…

DJ Mag.
So you're the best!

Zabiela.
No, no I'm not going to say that!

Lee Jones.
Ha ha!

Zabiela.
No just because I simply haven't heard anyone else use it, but I'm sure it's going to take off soon. As Lee will tell you he's had loads of interest from other back-to-back DJs and I think it's a great thing if they all start using it. The main thing for me about it is the programming of the set. In a back-to-back set, without it Nic can put on a record and then I've got to quickly find a record that goes with it. If you don't know the record then the set can sound disjointed. So it's amazing to be able to hear what he's going to play next because it allows you to always think one step ahead, which allows for a much more creative and better flowing, well programmed set.

DJ Mag.
That is actually quite interesting because I haven't really thought about that but the concept of being able to hear in your headphones the tune that your they're about to mix in. You could have a double drop planned well in advance, or even a loop or sample.

Zabiela.
Exactly.

DJ Mag.
So have you got anything special planned for your set tonight at the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs party. One thing I've noticed is that you're playing in the red room at eleven o'clock and the top DJ, whoever he is, is playing elsewhere at a different time so does that mean that you're pretty certain that you're not number one this year?

Zabiela.
I already know what number I am because I looked on the Internet and found it.

DJ Mag.
Well you're already ten minutes ahead of me so obviously the Q2's doing wonders for you.

Zabiela.
My numbers up soon!

DJ Mag.
Your number's up. Yeah he's going to have to go and do his set so have you got anything special planned for your set tonight at the DJ Mag Top 100 party that we can know about before the listeners hear it.

Zabiela.
Absolutely not and that's what's cool about the Q2 because it allows you to improvise. What's special about the set is that our last One + One date was meant to be at Space and now this is going to be our last One + One date for a while at least. We haven't played together in a few weeks because we've been doing our solo shows, so we're both going to have loads of new tunes that we haven't played to each other. In fact that excites me more than knowing all of his records, like you do when you tour with someone for a while.

DJ Mag.
Which brings me on to my last questions. A little bird told me that this is going to be the last One+One gig for a while and why is that exactly?

Zabiela.
Just because it was something we did. We made a CD together and it was fun but we also like to do our own thing. When I play with Nic I play different musically and he plays different musically as well. It's nice to be able to do something different, but it's also nice to be able to do completely your own thing. It'll be the last one for a while but I'm pretty sure we'll resurrect it at some stage and we'll definitely be doing our party at the Miami Winter Music Conference as usual!

DJ Mag.
One last question just quickly, it's a very important question. Finally, if your Mum asked you to organise the disco for her birthday party, which DJ would you pick and why?

Zabiela.
My Mum! I don't know really. God knows! Erm, Jeremy Healy. She's got an old Jeremy Healy CD in her kitchen that she does the washing up to. It's still got Night Train and stuff like that on there. She like's all the old handbaggy stuff!

DJ Mag.
Well James have a wicked set, thanks for your time mate. Well there you go. James Zabiela's Mum listens to Jeremy Healy as she's doing the washing up. You heard it here first in DJ Mag! So James has left the building for want of a better phrase and I'm left here with Lee who invented and developed the Q2 Dual DJ and his friend, appropriately called James, who's not James Zabiela. It's not like we've kept him, we've locked him in the room. It came close but he got away. So have you had any interesting reports about the Q2 Dual DJ that you'd like the people at home to know about? Any DJs, anyone who's come back and said anything to you that's told you that they've been using to really change what they do or is it literally only James and Nic who've taken it on at this early stage?

Lee Jones.
To be honest there's James Booth and myself here. We set up a back-to-back funky house and old skool night about three years ago. We were sick of passing headphones between each other so we decided to try and invent something to make it all work a bit better. But the first DJ's basically James. I sent it to him and he replied back after he'd go the prototype and he wrote an article in DJ Mag last December and mentioned about this special device that allowed two DJs to work together. The next minute he's getting hundreds of e-mails in asking him what the device was and he sent a few of them on to me. The first guys to buy it were a triple act in Edinburgh. Now there's about thirty of them being used in the UK but it's mainly James and Nic using it on a worldwide level until the launch which is at the visitBPM exhibition.

James Booth.
MYNC Project are using it as well.

Lee Jones.
Yeah and I've sent a few out to people like Sasha and Digweed and I'm about to follow up where they're at with it. Nic and James have passed the details of quite a few big names that might be interested in it.

James Booth.
SOS who are here tonight as well. They've got it. They're crazy. They've got three mixers and six decks! That's the busiest setup I've ever seen.

Lee Jones.
Yeah I'll follow up with those guys later too.

DJ Mag.
SOS have been rocking things recently. Demi, Omid 16B and Desyn Masiello are the boys!

James Booth.
Desyn's done really well this year.

DJ Mag.
That label of his is releasing some good stuff.

James Booth.
He's come up trumps this year and come really high in the Top 100 DJs poll too.

DJ Mag.
Finally is there anything else you'd like to add at all before we wrap this up and brave the debauchery that's going on the other side of the interview room door?

Lee Jones.
Basically every multiple DJ act needs to be using this piece of equipment. That's what it's been invented for. If you're going to be constantly passing headphones between each other then what's the point?

James Booth.
Any double act that's looking to push things forward…

DJ Mag.
Or triple act?

James Booth.
Or triple act or any multiple DJ act that's looking to push things forward you need a Q2 because when you've got one you can do stuff that's impossible to do on your own. It's pushing live entertainment forward and that's what the Q2's all about.

Lee Jones.
From the launch James and myself will be setting up the Q2 tour so we'll travel across the globe and hopefully next year we'll be here playing for DJ Mag. So we'll se how it goes.

DJ Mag.
As I've said you've heard it first, Jonnie Parker signing off for DJ Magazine. That's it if you're a double act, a triple act, if you've got a whole plethora of DJs, a myriad that you've got together and you want to take your bizzle to the next level it's the Q2 Dual DJ every single time. Like J M E it's serious, boy better know, signing off.