Zed Bias is Dave Jones: producer, DJ and a prolific innovator from deep within the UK music scene. Zed lurks behind as many production names as he has musical styles. He’s Maddslinky for west London’s Sirkus records and one half of Phuturistix With Injekta . With Italy’s DJ Rocca he’s Daluq and alongside MC Juiceman and Simba has formed The Henchmen. The Zed Bias moniker has even had a surprise chart hit, with ‘Neighbourhood’ denting the top 30 in July 2000. To date Zed’s completed over 65 remixes. It’s all a far cry from his days as a local rare groove DJ. During the
mid-90s, he began producing. Early cuts such as ‘Crazy’ by 7 Wonders [with Injekta and Andy J] blew up and were signed to the Dreem Teem’s DFL records. Others like ‘All Night Jam’[with Sidewinders’ DJ Principal] and his mix of ES Dubs 'Standard Hoodlum Issue' helped make Zed’s name. These early releases helped set the blueprint for the darker strains of garage that were to emerge towards the end of the ‘90s. They were also the beginning of his musical partnership with Manchester’s Injekta. Together as Phuturistix they have redirected the garage sound towards a jazzy, soulful future. It’s rhythm music with no limits. Music to make you both think and feel.
Back in 1998 they’d produced a series of remixes together, for big name artists like Whitney Houston, Tatiyana Ali, J-Lo and Destiny’s Child [before they were huge]. But it was 2000’s ‘Matrix EP’ and 2001’s ‘Deep Down EP’ for Locked On that heralded a new direction in garage. An incredible remix of The Beard’s ‘Someday’ took things deeper and further into blissful Gilles Peterson territory. When ‘Deep Down’ was released it was quite unlike any of the UKG before it.
Now the debut Phuturistix album pants a bigger picture, combining the depth of soul and jazz-past with the tuff swing of garage beats. Plus the odd heavyweight bassline. The lp features a host of live guests: Ray Gaskins, Roy Ayres’ sax player, vocalists Jenna G [Future Cut] and Simba. MC Juiceman busts rhymes, Martin Iveson from Atjazz and Mayhem from Ultrasound play keys. Kevin Robinson from Jazz Jamaica provides horns. On a similar tip to Phuturistix is Zed’s Maddslinky project. It was signed to west London beats label Sirkus after he remixed 'Hook And A Line' for 2Banks Of Four, and is based around Zed plus guests.
The album ‘Make Your Peace’ takes a similar path to Phuturisix, if only deeper and techier. Hitting the streets mid 2002, it’s a new direction for garage, somewhere between the west London sound and garage’s b-line dynamics. It’s far and away the biggest and most complete statement by Zed. It might even prove a musical landmark.
No account of Zed’s career so far would be complete without mention of Ammunition Promotions: the east London label management duo that is Sarah Lockhart and Neil Joliffe. At the beginning of 2000 Neil was selling Zed’s Sidewinder and Sidestepper releases at a distribution company. Sarah contacted Zed to remix DJ Zinc’s Super Sharp Shooter, which went on to sell out. "Meeting those two people at the time I did and going out to Miami for the 2000 conference was amazing,” describes Zed. “It really was a meeting of a few like-minded people that had the same ideas about making a garage scene that wasn’t dependent on champagne, Versace and Moschino. A scene that was all about the music.'
The sound, like many a Zed production, was dark and bass heavy. And the location for this sound, once Ammunition were up-and running, was the monthly Forward>> Sunday sessions at the Velvet Rooms. With the help of Ammunition Zed runs a host of labels including Sidestepper and 10inch dub label Subbz. Over summer 2002, the former is to release a heavyweight cover of reggae classic ‘Ring The Alarm’ featuring
Juiceman, Simba and some terrifying breaks. And taking the jazzier sound into Heavy b-line territories, ‘Superfine’ by Daluq looks set to batter dancefloors. Mixes for Ms Dynamite and Pressure Drop are complete. It seems the world is waking up to Zed Bias. From west London jazzers to the east London raves, Japanese festivals to New York clubs: everyone’s in tune to manlike Zed Bias. Won’t someone ring the alarm?
Martin Clark, May 2002