Up next on Toolroom, we’re speaking to long-time member of the #ToolroomFamily & DJ extraordinaire GUZ who lands back on Toolroom with an absolutely killer new remix! We’ve been big supporters of Dutch DJ & Producer since we released his debut ‘Playing With My Heart’ on our Ibiza 2017 album & since then, GUZ has gone hell for leather dropping countless records on Glasgow Underground, Sink Or Swim & Nothing Else Matters.
Now, GUZ returns to Toolroom remixing label head, Mark Knight’s ‘You Saw Me’ feat. Damon Trueitt, bringing a classic House inspired record straight into the clubs of 2021 with a ground shaking remix & modern inspired twist. We caught up with GUZ to get to know who he really is as an artist…
Mark Knight feat. Damon Trueitt – ‘You Saw Me (GUZ Remix)’
Hey GUZ, welcome back to the #ToolroomFamily and congratulations on your latest release on Toolroom, remixing Mark Knight’s ‘You Saw Me’ feat. Damon Truiett! How are you doing and where in the world are you right now?
Hey guys! Thanks so much for having me back on Toolroom and on the remix, was such a pleasure working on it and it’s great being back with the #ToolroomFamily! I am currently in North America right now because my tour is almost ready to kick off here, I have been really looking forward to it!
Let’s get stuck into the remix! The original has a definite old school vibe to it, how did you go about approaching the remix? Were there any records or sounds that inspired you when working on the remix?
I’m always inspired by really raw old school beats, but always with a modern twist to it. I wanted to give it a bit of the feel of my singles ‘U Got My Love‘ and ‘Set U Free‘, however I wasn’t sure if the deep voice of Damon was letting me do that same vibe, as those tracks have more diva-ish vocals…
But I must say, it turned out amazing! To finalise the record and give my own touch to it the new string hook worked out great! Mark also suggested to combine it with his lead synth and those two parts blended so well together, was just great effort and teamwork!
Tell us a bit about your musical background, what was the local scene like for your when you were growing up? what artists inspired you to become a DJ? What Clubs did you frequent when you were younger?
I DJ’ed a lot back in the day under different names, but GUZ as a project was founded by me, Freek and Marco; Marco being the manager and Freek being my studio partner. We made a lot of music together before this point so we know each other very well. I myself have been producing for about 15 years now, and Freek even longer, since the late nineties.
I’m inspired by House music in general. I’m in my thirties now so I’ve seen a lot of ebbs and flows in the music industry genre wise, but House music always prevails. It’s just particular ingredients and formulas in the music which you can’t really define into words that work. Some tracks are here to stay, timeless records that can be played alongside stuff from 1992 and with stuff from 2032…
GUZ – ‘Set U Free‘
So, I started clubbing in around 2005/2006-ish, one DJ Sander Kleinenberg had great events back then that I visited a lot. His nights were a sort of mixture of Progressive House, House and the good side of the upcoming Electro House wave. Also Extrema Outdoor and Free Your Mind were 2 festivals in The Netherlands I always attended and gave so much inspiration.
The artists that inspired me to become a DJ is quite a long list, but I must highlight Benny Rodrigues here. He’s such a passionate and super active DJ who has been doing it for years and years, he is and was a big inspiration for me throughout my career!
Sander Kleinenberg – ‘My Lexicon‘
You’ve come a long way since your debut on Toolroom debut as part of our Ibiza Album in 2017! What has been a high point of your career so far as a DJ, Producer & Artist?
GUZ – ‘Playing With My Heart‘
I’ve DJ’ed a lot worldwide under various DJ names before GUZ came to life, some of the highlights for me have to be at Tomorrowland, Creamfields, a great terrace party in a skyscraper in Jakarta, a fantastic unexpected afterparty in Macedonia, just too much fun to mention.
From the music side of things it was so great to have my actual first Beatport Overall #1 with ‘Set U Free‘. That record did so great, absolutely fantastic to experience. Also it was amazing to collaborate with Jack Back (David Guetta) and the current man of the moment, John Summit.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of big names in the scene, from Ferreck Dawn to Jack Back (aka David Guetta), do you have any more killer collaborations lined up that you can talk about? Is there an artist out there that you would LOVE to collaborate with?
I’ve actually got another release coming up with Ferreck Dawn, called ‘Kush‘. It’s gonna be on Sink Or Swim on September 24th and has been in our track lists for over 2 years now because the sample clearing process took some time!
I’ve got a few things on the go at the moment too, I’m working on a few collaborations with Dombresky and a new one with John Summit landing in the near future…
What was your first gig back like? What did it mean to you finally be able to DJ in front of a crowd again after so long apart?
That was on a beach festival in Oostende in Belgium. It was so good to be back, to see the actual crowd response to tracks. It’s always a bit weird and illogical to play sets like this for me! For example, in a radio studio to almost nobody… But during lockdown that became sort of normal, which it clearly isn’t. I recorded a lot of sets at different locations and even though it is fun to play out some new stuff and share it on your social media, it doesn’t feel the same. I hope this will never ever be the ‘normal’ thing to do and only extra on top of the regular gigs.
Who are your 3 favourite artists at the moment?
It’s hard to pick just 3 names, but my buddy Ferreck Dawn is constantly killing it, I play a lot of stuff by Black Child and Sidney Charles over the years. On our label Sink Or Swim we also have loads of super talented guys that I almost play everything from, such as Westend, Ranger Trucco, Lucati. There is a big wave of talented producers at the moment.
Jack Back x GUZ x Ferreck Dawn – ‘I’ve Been Missing You‘
Sidney Charles – ‘Hurricane‘
Lucati – ‘Back 2 A Time‘
What are your top 5 all-time favourite House records?
Quite a question this one, and very hard to think of something on the spot aha! Let’s give these a random order maybe, these are classics that I still play out every now and then:
Tim Green – ‘Old Sunshine‘
The Bucketheads – ‘The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind) (Armand Van Helden Re-Edit)’
Junior Jack – ‘Thrill Me‘
Ultra Naté – ‘Free‘
Joris Voorn – ‘Sweep The Floor‘
Ok, last question… Have you got any tips for aspiring DJs & Producers out there who want to improve their skills and make it in the scene?
From the producing side of things I would say; work on your musical hearing. If you are not born with it, try to develop it. I hear so many different records out there with the wrong root notes, riffs in a different key, vocals out of tune etc. It’s super easy to stand out with music that is actually correct if you pay attention to harmonies.
Sample selection is also a good one. Many producers just smash in any given clap or kick sample, and think that can be magically resolved in the end by mixing and mastering, but if you carefully select the absolute best samples (and when you develop you will have your own personal database of stem samples to pick from) the mixing/mastering part is just the cherry on the cake instead of polishing a turd!
From an artist side of things I would say; be out there, be active in your own comfortable way on social media. We can all pretend social media should not be part of the industry, but it simply is so find a way to incorporate it with your vision and passion.