I've got my own tale to tell when it cames to Biz E and his production partner Pitch Blac. Back in Sydney in 1995 we launched Melbourne's 'Zeitgeist' compilation at a rave party called Spirit, where Voiteck, Arthur Arkin and Soulenoid all performed live. Also playing that party were a Sydney outfit called Calix-Blac, and it was the first time any of us had heard them; on that occasion they worked a fusion of styles beneath their own artistic umbrella and it left us pretty impressed to say the least. What impressed most of all was the fact that the Calix-Blac soundsystem was one we'd never really imagined coming out of Sydney's scene. It was minimal techno with a groove; doof without the inanity.
As the story unfolds, Biz E has been grafting away for a decade. "At a very young age - probably around 13 or 14 - I got into the whole electro break-dancing thing and that was when I first started DJing. Then around 1987 I started getting into the whole house meets hip hop crossover point, and I began DJing professionally in 1989 when I started getting work in a scene that was half-decent - and you have to remember that back then it was hell getting any kind of work!" he laughs. "It wasn't a situation where DJ work was readily available, so obviously I had to spend a lot of time DJing at a level where I didn't really get that much satisfaction out of it. It was with the advent of house and the techno scene that my DJing really took off on a more professional level."
Since then he's never quite looked back. "Sydney is a bit restrictive, ultimately, but I've played at a lot of parties and steered my own course. Then in around 1991 I started my own radio show; it was called 'Tranquilty Bass' on RSR and we had quite a strong cult following, probably because we were so abrupt and revolutionary!" Biz chuckles before heading on. "Actually, we really were at that point in time - that was when the rave scene was just being born. We were playing a lot of Underground Resistance and Jaxx records, early Psychick Warriors of Gaia and Detroit stuff. I was getting music from Jelly Jam in Brighton [in the UK] and that was Luke Slater's shop; Dave Clarke and Carl Cox worked there; that was good because they got me fine-tuned at a good age. There was obviously no airplay elsewhere in Sydney, and we were doing buckets on air and stuff. It was a very youthful upbringing . . ."
It seems to be almost a case of natural progression for a DJ to move on into the realm of production, and Biz E is no exception. "I started writing in around 1992/93 under the name of Calix, and it was around that time that Leon (aka Pitch Blac) entered the picture." Here he shrugs. "Obviously I was heavily into the whole DJ concept and while I was fascinated with the whole concept of writing music, I was a vinyl junkie and even if I'd wanted to start all my money was going in the other direction. Leon on the other hand was dabbling with the technical side of things and he already had some gear. He knew very little about techno but he did know about jazz, and jazz itself being a form of black music linked up with the fact that I listened to black music as well. So we got together and did a project for the first Clan Analogue EP . . . then I started my own label called pH Recordings in 1993 and we followed up with two EP's for the label. They both did very well for us."
At the same time Biz founded Hardwax Records within Sydney's Central Station store. "That was a total head-fuck!" he declares. "But I had to do it because there were n