ANGELZ’s raw and rugged approach to G-house comes with a certain amount of street cred. The former Def Jam ghost producer has been working the boards since he was 11 years old and was the man behind some of the biggest beats slapped in the clubs in the early aughts. Armed with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of samples and hook-worthy rhymes, his dark and dirty jams ooze with sex appeal and pay homage to a bygone era of hip-hop. All the while, his music retains a totally crisp and thumping feel that moves to the beat of modern clubbers. It’s what has allowed the Canadian artist to emerge from the studio as a pioneer in the G-house movement and one of its most creative voices.
To most fans, he seemingly arrived out nowhere with an arsenal of unconventional edits and remixes he released via BitTorrent in 2015. He quickly followed up with “Hey Girl,” the first official release on Tchami’s Confession imprint. However, his evolution was a sharply executed effort to flip the industry on its head. ANGELZ has put the time into crafting a sound that is leagues ahead of the game, leaving producers scrambling to keep up with this beat-slayer’s prolific output.
ANGELZ is on track to dominate this year with his latest track, “Devils.” There’s a huge remix package in the works that will undoubtedly be blasting from the speakers in clubs and festivals far and wide. He’s locked and loaded for an appearance on Diplo and Friends April 30, and he’s got an avalanche of upcoming high-profile releases and festival bookings, where he will continue to spread those low-down, dirty beats.
We’re still buzzing from ANGELZ’s recent set at Beyond Wonderland SoCal 2017, where he took us for a swim in the deep end. Now, the G-house don has dropped his full set from the festival on us, so you may relive every dank and dirty moment of it. We also chatted with the producer about his hip-hop past and his latest bad-boy projects.
In a previous interview, you said when you switched from hip-hop to dance music, you felt like you had to start over again because of the differences between making beats and writing songs.
I had issues with how technical dance music was, compared to hip-hop—that is for sure. I had to learn and master all the sound design and sound engineering. About beats and writing songs, when you are a beat-maker, unless you’re a super producer, your vision is ignored most of the time. You have no control over a rapper putting a horrible hook or verse over your beat; you’re just a beat-maker, not a producer. Sometimes they’ll even bring in other producers to change everything you made. I became tired of this dynamic, and I wanted to be able to release what I wanted. My thought process was, “I’m going to do it myself. If I flop, it’s on me. If I hit, then it’s 100 percent on me again.”
Do you feel like this is the first time you’ve been able to express your full artistic vision?
Yes, definitely—I’m trying to change the game now.
You were exposed to dance music early in your life, but you didn’t see its impact until you were on a break from producing. Why do you think this later realization was so impactful?
I’d always been into the competition aspect of beat-making. I want to make you go, “How did he get this to sound like this?” That’s a mentality I’ve had since I was 13, [when I was] posting my beats on forums. Around the time I took a break, SoundCloud didn’t exist, and the forums I used to go on were almost all dead. Hip-hop at the moment sounded stale to me; the only thing that had my attention musically was the electronic stuff being shared on blogs. Then, I heard Justice for the first time. I heard the samples [and] recognized some of them. I suddenly felt that drive again to come up with something no one has heard before.
The span of time between when you discovered blog house and your first official release was a while. Was your intention always to find some sense of balance between house music and hip-hop?
I knew exactly how I wanted to sound and [didn’t] release anything until I felt like I had nailed it. I always had a goal of having a signature sound that is undeniable.
Your recently launched Poppin’ in the Streets, a mix series that helps expose a lot of new artists to the masses. How does this kind of crate-digging for new and interesting artists/music help keep the dance music engine running?
Late last year, I was getting way too much good and unreleased music from Quebec, Paris, L.A., and more, that I had to either start a label or start a mixtape series showcasing it. I didn’t want to run a label, so I launched the mix series.
You got your start in hip-hop so young. How has that early experience in the industry side of music made what you do now possible?
I am used to the competition, so by now it doesn’t faze me anymore. It also built my patience. I know how far I could’ve gone then if I had been just a little bit business-minded, but I was purely focusing on the creative part. It’s funny: Now I look like I came out of nowhere, but in reality, I’ve been plotting for more than a decade.
What’s on the horizon for ANGELZ for the rest of 2017?
Higher-profile projects and shows. I’m going to be everywhere. Also, the “Devils” remix EP is coming soon.
- ANGELZ Beyond Wonderland SoCal 2017 Live Set Track List:
Imanos ft. Pusha T & Karen Harding “Gunshy”
Lupe Fiasco “Daydreamin” (ANGELZ Edit)
Travis Scott “Yah Yah” (Loge21 Remix)
Soul Surgery “Volume”
ANGELZ - ID
MERCER “Bastille” (Madskies Remix)
ANGELZ “Ass Shake”
Funkerman “You Got Me Weak” (ANGELZ Remix)
ID - ID
Movenchy & Triplight “Close Enough”
Sage the Gemini “Gas Pedal” (Motez Remix)
CAZZTEK “Came to Get Funky”
ANGELZ “Devils” (ID Remix)
ID - ID
LO’99 & Sinden “2NITE”
Bellecour “Everybody Goes”
ID - ID
Damien N-Drix “Pushah”
Madskies “In Nomine”
ANGELZ “Want It All”
ANGELZ - ID
Bassboy vs K Dot “Deka”
ID - ID
ID - ID
MERCER & SAYMYNAME “Wanted” (MERCER House Flip)
ATICA “Light Power”
Habstrakt “She Goes”
Sonny Banks & Stereoliez “Mollybreath”
ID - ID
Lenny Kiser “The Infamous”
ANGELZ - ID
ANGELZ “Hey Girl