Yesterday, Nigel Haze passed away. I don’t know the details of his death, but I do know some important details about his life. So indulge me for a moment, I’m going to get into them.
Nigel Woodward AKA Nigel Haze was not just a fantastic person, but also the first person to show me how DJ mixing actually worked. I remember walking into this house party near McKenzie and Interurban and I was going to do one of my ambient-mixing sets. That’s pretty much all I had been able to figure out at that point. I had played one party before and folks there would beatmatch but not quite at the level that Nigel displayed that night. He locked two records and would create something new out of both of them by cutting and manipulating bass and hi-end sounds – it was the real deal.
Of course, I my jaw was on the floor because I had never been this close to a display of talent like that. We were in my friend Jay’s basement kitchen, turntables set up on the countertop. I bothered him with flattery but he would have none of it. Instead he shoved the headphones in my hands and said “It’s easy – you try it!” I did. It was not easy. But with a little help from him and Tim (who I also met at that party – and eventually started 3 radio shows with), it became second nature soon enough.
My friendship with Nigel evolved after that – we would go on to headline raves under the Etheric Link banner, share a club residency together with Yoseff at Neptune, and of course share the occasional beverage at the Rooftop patio. He was always upbeat and knew how to make jokes work at seemingly impossible times. Nigel will be missed dearly, but will live on through his influence as a musician and a genuine, real person.
I’ll keep playing tracks with woodblocks for ya bud.