Updated: Nov 3
flick by Steez. @madebyandrrew
ZA: Names and Nicknames?
Big Bazz: Basil Illawani. My friends just call me Bazz.
ZA: What do you do this for?
Big Bazz: I do it for myself. (But) I’m not going to lie, my real passion is Football. But the way music makes me feel inspired me to start making it myself. I want to be able to make people feel things.
ZA: What’s your favourite song that you’ve ever made and why?
Big Bazz: That’s a hard one… I’ve only got two released songs, there are so many unreleased. There are even songs in my head that I haven’t recorded yet that I feel could be my favourite. For right now though, I’m working on one called “Bella Ciao”. I think that’s my favourite right now.
ZA: What and who are your influences in music?
Big Bazz: Burna Boy. I make Afro/Afro-Swing, so he’s a big influence, my greatest mentor. J Hus too I just like his wordplay.
ZA: J Hus is popular with the Nexgen artists.
ZA: Favourite album?
Big Bazz: I’m not even someone that listens to albums like that.
ZA: Hm. How about your favourite song of all time?
Big Bazz: “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston!
ZA: That’s a good song, We’ll be honest. A great song even.
Big Bazz: Actually–my favourite album is ‘African Giant’ by Burna Boy. Also, ‘Big Conspiracy’ by J Hus. Those two are probably my favourite albums of all time.
ZA: Valid. Is there a certain demographic of people that you want to reach with your music?
Big Bazz: Anyone that wants to listen to Afro and Afro-Swing, but I want to be global. Burna boy is a big influence for me for that reason. People that don’t even listen to Afro music often are listening to him. I want to be like that.
ZA: What would you say to yourself 5 years from now?
Big Bazz: I would remind myself to remain humble. To not forget the people that were around when I first started out. ‘Don’t let yourself get too high off this. ‘Cuz I know what the lows are like’.
ZA: What is the biggest hurdle for you right now and what do you plan to do to overcome it?
Big Bazz: I think marketing because I see the Top 40 ‘Top This’, ‘Top That’. A lot of the time the songs aren’t really the best in the country, it’s all a case of (the) marketing. I feel like I haven’t mastered publishing and marketing my songs for real and it's expensive. So for now I’ll get over this hurdle by working some more to be able to afford that luxury.
ZA: We were talking to Prxnce about this, about how we need to make do with what we have because if we keep waiting for perfect equipment, we’ll probably never get stuff done. For example, we are recording these interviews on voice memo until we can get proper mics and stuff-
Big Bazz: You think I can record a song on voice memos?
ZA: No! we’re just using this as an example. We’re making do.
Big Bazz: That’s the thing. I’m too picky. If I make do it’ll never meet my standards. Literally the first song I recorded, I sent it to this guy to mix and master and he did it, paid him and everything, but I didn’t like it. I went off again to pay a different guy. I need my stuff to sound good. Someone can have a good song but if it wasn’t recorded properly, with a terrible mic, not mixed properly, it’s probably not going to do too well. Quality is important.
ZA: You’re right. Have you seen that Temz actually recorded her first single under her bed? That’s making do!
Big Bazz: Under her bed?! Actually, I have this picture of me… and I’m not showing anyone this picture of me recording a song in my friend's tiny storage room. Tiny, tiny space, man. His mum packs everything inside. We hung the mic up and I had to squeeze in just so the sound wouldn’t escape. I’ll release this picture when we make it.
ZA: We’re going to see that photo!
ZA: Tell us about your creative process? How do you begin creating?
Big Bazz: Youtube. I don’t have a go-to producer or anything. I search up Afro beats, and just listen. When I find one I’m feeling I start humming to the beat, because I’m not good at freestyling. I get a little melody going, I record it on my phone quickly so that I don’t forget it and go from there. Other times I come up with songs on walks.
ZA: What is your dream venue to play?
Big Bazz: O2 London, it’s a status symbol. Everyone must know you if you’re performing there.
ZA: How do you define success and what is your biggest achievement so far?
Big Bazz: When me and my friends are able to live off of this, like when we don’t need any other jobs to survive. That’s success to me. Me and my group making money solely off music. My biggest achievement so far…hmm, these judges at a music show for the BBC followed me and complimented my music. This was after I applied for my song to be played on the BBC.
ZA: What’s a message or feeling that you want your listeners to take away from your music?
Big Bazz: I just want people to get lost in my flow. Get goosebumps and stuff. Just feel it.