I wanted to break out of being a bedroom producer

By Beverley Knight

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Producing and DJing go hand in hand. There’s satisfaction in making music and spinning it to an open and receptive dancefloor. What’s better is you repeat the process for other artists in the game. Brighton beat-maker Josh Tarzi, aka Tarzi, has seen it work wonders with his own eyes. “It is a great way of networking. You start by playing someone’s track, connecting with them, going all the way to collaborating on a song.”

Brighton, on the south coast of the UK, is famed for its rich musical history. It has a soft spot for dance music, and in 2018, ticket company Tickx awarded it the title Electronic Musical Capital of the UK. So, not surprisingly, Josh went to his first music production session when he was 12, run by the AudioActive charity. “When I first started, I was very young. Sometimes, I didn’t have all the tools to deal with the music industry” It took persistence; Josh never gave up and kept an open mind to learning. “Now I am lucky to have a lot of friends and colleagues who are massively into music I appreciate feedback and guidance from them.”

By the end of 2020, he’d released a steady stream of lo-fi hip-hop under his birth name. “I saw great success with that for over two years. Eventually, it bored me. I wanted to break out of being a bedroom producer, so I shifted my focus to making dance music, primarily with a UK underground sound.” With this fresh profile came the new name Tarzi. Feeling playful, he’s experimenting with anything from jungle to UK garage – the genre of his latest release, Sound Go.

As a soaring genre, lo-fi hip-hop is heavily populated – it’s one of the reasons Josh moved on. “The UK dance scene is fairly saturated, but it’s coming into its prime. It’s rare that UK dance songs chart in other countries, but we’re seeing it more.” Over time, his sound has matured from basic, sample-based beats to songwriting and instrumentation techniques with complexities. “My Tarzi sound is evolving as I collaborate with more people, and my tastes change.”

Being versatile keeps things invigorating, so Tarzi draws on other styles outside of dance music and entwines them in his creations. “It makes my music accessible to a wider audience, but still with the characteristics of a TARZI production.” Along with a dose of jazz, artists like Sammy Virji and 33 Below feed into Josh’s creative subconscious. Conducta scores highly, in his opinion. “What started as a garage revival is now hitting top spots in the charts. It’s making waves even outside the UK.”

Another local hero is Fat Boy Slim, aka Norman Cook. Like Daft Punk at Coachella, Cook’s famous Brighton Beach party in 2020 is the stuff of legends. Josh pulled a blinder last year when he booked him for the Brighton Youth Centre as part of B.Fest. “It was a great experience rounding off a series of nights I put on.” Originally, he organised the get-togethers for his friends and peers in his school year when they were too babyfaced to go clubbing. “These events taught me all I know today about DJing, promoting events and event management in general.” TARZI’s boom in Brighton marches on.

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Sound Go

TARZI