He’s worked with cats such as DJ Fresh and Diplo, as well as vocalists like Wiley, M.I.A and MC Ivory, and been a part of acts such as the London Punks and Deekline & Wizard, but now uber-producer Wizard — aka Greg Fleming — is stepping out on his own. How come?
“I love working with other artists, but I feel it’s time to put out records which are pure Wizard,” Greg tells DJ Mag. “It’s all about branding my sound and production style, especially now that music is very producer-led.”
Greg is self-taught as a producer, but has had a lot of help along the way. “I’ve been lucky enough to work with so many talented producers, engineers and artists,” he says. He worked a lot with Steve Dub, the Chemical Brothers’ engineer, and Pussyfoot legend Howie B in the early days, and all manner of people — as mentioned above — in what he calls “the post-millennium digital age”.
So who has been the highest maintenance? “Haha, what happens in the studio stays in the studio,” he smirks. “I can’t really go around spreading rumours like that, but working with Alabama 3 is definitely up there amongst the highest!”
Wizard’s first spellbinding solo release, ‘The Festival Battle Weapon EP’, is rammed with dynamite dancefloor detonators (see Money Shot review, page 103). Described as “better than all 10 of the Chemical Brothers’ ‘Electronic Battle Weapons’ put together”, it’s being followed by the ‘Summer In The City EP’ that’s more of an accessible radio record in the Chase & Status mould.
“The ‘Battle Weapon’ tracks were just sitting on my hard-drive for a year-and-a-half, I always get stick from friends and other producers for not actually releasing them,” he says. “I’ve got so many unreleased tracks sitting around on my computer, that’s what happens when you do this day in, day out for years on end. It feels like a hobby because it comes naturally.”
The ‘Summer In The City EP’, meanwhile, takes in assorted styles — dubstep, electro, moombahton, breakbeat and 140 bass music — all of which Wizard turns his hand to effortlessly. The lead track, a slow-jamming ‘Science In The City’, features outlaw acid house country & western reprobates Alabama 3, who Greg worked with on their last album, ‘Shoplifting 4 Jesus’. He’s also involved in the in-house label of the Brixton Jamm venue, and has worked with acts such as Congo Natty (aka the Rebel MC), punk legends The Ruts DC and the smartly named Howlin’ Filf who have come through there in recent times.
He’s undeniably one of the finest and most adaptable studio producers in the UK, but does he find it hard to make a living now that record sales have dropped off so markedly? “I’ve had to adapt and take my skills from the studio and into the club,” Wizard says. ‘With my forthcoming album I’ll be travelling alongside two vocalists and taking the show on the road.”
Has he ever thought of growing big hair, painting his face and generally dressing up like Roy Wood from ‘70s prog act Wizzard? “I guess you haven’t seen me DJ,” he retorts.
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