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MIXED BY James Zabiela

"Maybe I'm living in the past a bit, but it's not a bad place to be at the moment."

UK jock James Zabiela is saluted for his fast-handed mixes and technical prowess, but he's got love for wax too. When we hit him up for a MIXED BY, Zabiela ended up sending us the second edition of his four-part series Quantity—plus, some ace pictures from his basement record collection, a lot of which comes, adorably enough, from his dad. The whole mix is, he admits, pretty nostalgic, capturing the sounds of his childhood and ending with the perpetually stuck-in-the-past tune, Fatima Yamaha's"What's A Girl To Do." You can check out the first mix here.


THUMP: Let's hear about some of the tracks included—what do they mean to you?
James Zabiela: [The] Tuff City remix comes straight out the back of a sound byte from a certain outspoken Brit, talking about a "bleak future." It's with some irony just how old-school-sounding the following track is, and I love it because its encapsulates a sound of my childhood—amen-style rave breaks and the Korg M1 organ-sounding synth. All that's missing is some 303 action, but that comes in quite prominently with the next few tracks from Kerri Chandler, Andraes Gehm, and Omar S. There's also a deep, hypnotic section featuring the warmth of Efdemin before Bicep's "Believe." I guess my past influences are particularly shown in this mix, this section is particularly nostalgic. Maybe I'm living in the past a bit, but it's not a bad place to be at the moment .

You're known to be a very technical DJ who constantly is using new, advanced gear. But this mix includes some vinyl selections. What do you think of the medium in 2015—how do you continue to relate with it?
I relate to it now mostly as a collector of music more than anything— I really enjoy receiving a new delivery to my house, then spending a few hours playing through them in basement, that's quality "me time." I digitize almost everything I buy on 12", as such I'm forced to listen to them all in real time which is no bad thing. When I play [clubs] I don't travel with vinyl internationally (as I type this British Airways just announced new restrictions on hand luggage), but if I have a UK weekend where I can jump on the train and play some records in my sets I do do that, provided the club has turntables. Admittedly this is mainly for my own enjoyment.


What are some of the utmost treasures of your vinyl collection?
I've had to retreat down to my basement because that's an impossible question to answer without quickly leafing through a few shelves of records:

I continually inherit records from my dad's immaculate vinyl collection that he has been drip feeding me over the years, so some of these came from him, most notably LFO by LFO in it's original purple Warp house bag. There's also Hardcore Uproar by Together and the seminal vinyl Detroit compilation, Techno the New Sound of Detroit, Penetrate Deeper from Deep Dish. UR003, some of which plays backwards!

Finally, where and how did you record the mix?
It's been recorded all over the place. I've been on the move whilst putting this together so some of it was made at home in my basement. Some of [the mix] was recorded] in my local cafe, on planes, trains and various hotels. In the end everything ended up in Ableton but I think people will be able to tell the long crafted sections amongst the parts were records are slammed in. I hope that has somehow given the mix [some contrast], because it's mostly 4/4.

Intro 'Bleak Future'
Hugo Barritt - Penumbra (Tuff City Kids TDK 90 Mix)
Kerri Chandler - Return 2 Acid [Large Music]
Andraes Gehm - Grounding Your Mind [Stealth Mission]
Omar S - This Muthafuk'ka (FXHE Music) / Birdman - The Critic
Stojche - Codex 2 [DMK]
Delano Smith - A Tale of Two Cities (Efdemin Mix)
Jeff Rushin - Infiltrate [ON Records]
NIBC - Love Lesson (Hans Berg Remix) [Trunkfunk]
Trevino - Eclipse [Klockworks]
Palace - Codex [Hot Haus]
Bicep & Hammer - I Believe / Planets Come & Go
Fatima Yamaha - What's a Girl To Do [D1 Recordings]