To brighten up the end to a disastrous year, north-west London’s DJ Tiny Eaze has been bringing a bit of levity by playing brilliant, low-key bizarre sets outside famous landmarks. He’s built up something of a SoundCloud following with his dancehall and hip-hop mixes in recent years, but this month really blew on Instagram and Twitter when he took his mic, laptop and phone to Number 10 Downing Street (inside the gates, somehow) to broadcast a massive set on Instagram.
He’s currently best known as London rapper Nines‘s DJ, but that’s perhaps set to change now that Tiny Eaze has amassed almost 160,000 views on that Number 10 set. He’s also broadcast from the London Eye and outside Scotland Yard – where he claims he was almost arrested – and, above all, these stunts have helped to bring people together, even if we can’t do it in the flesh. He’s something of a firebrand, too, and in that Downing Street set proclaimed, “Boris Johnson fucked up my life!”
So, NME gave the outlandish DJ a call to talk about his wacky sets, the Government’s approach to the virus and what it’s like to be an ascendent star in the middle of a pandemic. And – wait, how did he get inside the gates to Number 10?
What was it like doing the set in front of 10 Downing Street?
“It was cool. I was just being myself. I wasn’t putting on an act. This is me – not on a day-to-day but, I would say, as soon as I hear music, this is the real me. I’m in that vibe and want to get that enjoyment. Number 10 haven’t contacted me, but just to say I’m ready to go on Good Morning Britain.”
How did you get inside the gates?
“To the public, I can’t say how. I’ll leave that one up to you.”
Is this No. 10 stunt a part of something bigger? A series, maybe?
“At the start of lockdown, I noticed everyone was going on Instagram live and I wanted to do an instalment where I went live everyday. So I chose Mondays and named it Stardawg Mondays. I did the first one and said, ‘This is alright – I got a 100 viewers’, but then it grew to just being me playing in my house with girls dancing along.
“The I got my iRig [to help with channel all audio into his phone clearly for us to hear] and ran my programmes with the mic and mix playing together into my phone, and took it around London.”
What’s the inspiration behind Stardawg Mondays?
“Other DJs are doing the same shit as each other, but I wanted to stand out, so I thought I’d start doing my thing outside. I did one DJ set for my friends’ birthday and wanted to do something mad for them. I live near Wembley Bridge and did a set on the bridge. These times no one was allowed to go to other households, so I just wanted to do a party for them on the phone.
“I want everyone to hear me. I’ve been trying to do this for a long time and I just want to be noticed.”
Liam Gallagher recent played a gig on a boat, sailing down the Thames, and told the London Eye to “Fuck off!” How do you feel about that?
“I never heard that, but if that’s how he feels…”
How does it feel to not be doing much in your career right now due to the pandemic?
“It’s not good. It’s not a good thing because that’s my enjoyment gone too, not just work and money. Music is more of a love to me and I’ve lost my vibe now. Not being in the club is like, ‘Yo! I can’t enjoy myself like I used to and do my job’. Just making people feel happy – that is why I love the club. You don’t know what anyone is going through, and then they come to the club to feel better. When you walk in and see everyone, you feel a bit ‘Ooh’ because you get to bring different people together, and I love it when I do that.“
Should creatives, such as DJs, be blaming Boris Johnson for his lacklustre approach to the virus?
“Not really! I just wanted to make people realise what’s going on through the Instagram live and my views on lockdown and quarantine. When I said, “Boris Johnson fucked up my life”, it was hyperbolic. It’s not Boris’ fault, but I’m watching the news and realising that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, so I had to pull up to his house and told him how I feel – I told him that sometimes he’s chatting rubbish.”
In October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak suggested creatives should retrain in more traditional professions. How did that make you feel?
“I saw how DJs and others were panicking about staying afloat, but I’m just trying to stay calm and tell others [to do so] too. I work for Uber Eats on the side and had to go extra hard to stay afloat. So when it came to my Stardawg Mondays, something had to give. I want to make it [big] so I [perform at] festivals [when they’re back]. I give me anything — I’ll do it.
“There’s a stereotype around being a DJ; having bare girls, etc. I feel like there’s some people doing this DJing thing for the wrong reasons. I’m fully for the music. Everything is music. I see others becoming stuck because music isn’t everything to them. There are many that aren’t doing more, but I’m about to come off this phone and go do a mazza!”
What’s the future for you, Tiny Eaze?
“I just want to make it to those big festivals and do those big tours. I want to make people feel happy and just share everything with my peoples. My phone’s been blowing up ever since I did the set at Number 10, so I’m getting noticed, but I’ll stay humble with it.”