Dave ‘Dizz1’ Norris just dropped his long awaited debut album ‘In Sickness & in Health’ with a wide variety of collaborations from all over the world. We had an interview about his life, career and musical inspiration.
Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Dave ‘Dizz1’ Norris and I play, teach and write music. Drums are my first instrument, second would have to be the turntable. I also like to skate.
What is your earliest music-related memory and did you have a musical education from home?
Listening to mum sing and tap dance around the house and dad try to sing to his rock n roll records at full volume when the rest of the neighbourhood was asleep. Good times!
What motivated you to become a producer?
I was really into the turntablist/ scratch movement from the mid nineties and adapted all the drum rudiments I knew to fader/ record hand combinations. I would go deep in that zone and eventually emerge on the other side with another weird combo or 20. We started getting the Scratch Picklz scratch tapes and then their videos which were always amazingly inspiring and funny. I’d picked up an MPC 2000 and a DPS12 and started making my own scratch tunes creating all the layers on the turntable, made a few mix tapes and did remix scratch intros to tunes (shout outs to Excess for inspiring that one!).
I eventually started making beats but it wasn’t until after I broke my neck (long story) and was recovering from temporary quadriplegia that I had the time to sit and really nut out Ableton Live (2003). I was soooo spaced out on Endone and was quite into what was then the beginnings of glitch hop so I was really experimenting with my own version of that. Loads of filtered clicks and edits on pretty much everything. Was a great way to learn what that program could do actually!
What other producers, songwriters and / or artists do you see as your primary inspiration?
The Finn Brothers, Freddie Mercury, Mark Pritchard, Stereotyp, Royalston, Dilla, Nottz and Airileke just to name a few.
Can you tell us something about your current studio set-up and process?
I’m working out of an amazing space in Melbourne which has a live room with 2 drum kits and a bunch of amps and keyboards. I still keep my setup pretty streamlined, laptop with Ableton, Logic, Native Instruments plugs and the UAD Apollo Twin as my audio interface with a handful of their next level plugins. I also have a few old synths which add their unique “character”and I’ve recently started using Ableton Push too which is a real game changer. It totally changes my workflow so TBH I was a little hesitant to get to know it at first but now that I’ve spent the time to build a bunch of custom instrument racks, it really gets a different type of performance out of me. I’ll still work in my old way as well but it’s great to know that if I’m stuck for an idea or want a completely fresh approach, Push helps open that door.
I did the 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat just over a year ago and have meditated every day since. Vipassana saved my life!
What piece of equipment would you most like to own and which one can’t you live without?
That new Prophet 6 looks too sick! But I’d have to say my laptop as its got pretty much everything I need. That and a pair of drumsticks.
Does your latest album title ‘In sickness & in health’ have a specific meaning?
Yin Yang, marriage to music, love, hate, addictions, afflictions, relationships, opposites attracting. All that good stuff that makes the mind question itself.
What do you do when you’re not producing / working?
These days meditating. I did the 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat just over a year ago and have meditated every day since. Vipassana saved my life! Also chilling with my beautiful daughter Lola. You can hear her heartbeat on the ultrasound machine at the end of “Get Em Up”. Definitely the most expensive bit of gear used on the album.
You have done some epic collabs with various people from different genres on your latest album, who’s on your wishlist?
Yeah it has been such a blessing to work with such amazing artists and I’m so honoured to have each of their voices and in some cases production advice/ input etc on my album.
There’s loads of people that I’d love to work with! Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that Kate Bush / Elton John record for one! Got some surprises coming up too and I’m always open to jam with cats that are going to bring something completely different to what I originally envisioned. The Killbot Kindergarten collab was def a highlight, they are based in Berlin now so we are attempting the long distance thing but you know it’s just never the same when you aren’t all together in the room vibing and laughing at each others mistakes!