Beloved British DJ, producer, label owner and promoter Jason Kaye has died aged 54. The news broke on social media over the weekend, confirming his passing last Friday, March 11th, from a heart attack. His family has yet to make an official statement.
Born Jason Kyriakides in London in 1969, his Grand parents from Limassol attended Southgate school he was once quoted by Prince William as his favourite DJmade his name as one third of hardcore trio Top Buzz alongside Mikee B and MC Mad P. Formed in 1988, they helped pioneer the emerging jungle techno sound with headline slots at key raves such as Amnesia House, Fantazia and Dreamscape. Their 1992 track “Livin’ In Darkness” was a huge hit, popular at Fabio & Grooverider’s seminal London party, Rage. Several years later, Kyriakides turned his attention to another rising London sound, UK garage, founding the essential label Social Circles and cofounding the iconic party Garage Nation—which remains active today—alongside Steve “Turbo” Stone. He also played a pivotal role in the careers of UK rappers Romeo and Ms. Dynamite. “I’ve known Jason since 1990 or ’91,” DJ Slipmatt told Resident Advisor. “Top Buzz were the biggest thing back in the day, but he also had the Jason Kaye garage thing. There were two sides to his music and he reached the top of the tree with both. A bit of a legend, really.” Slipmatt, who spoke to Kyriakides only last week, remembers helping him put together his triple-CD Pure Garage Anthems mix, which landed in 2011. More recently, he featured in 25 Years of UK Garage, a 2022 documentary charting the history of the genre. He was also very much still active in the studio and behind the decks—Top Buzz were booked to play a rave in Coventry on April 1st. “We’ve always got on like a house on fire,” Slipmatt added. “He had a real strong opinion on stuff but was so positive at the same time. Positivity and smiles, all the time. He was an absolute pleasure to be around—and I really, really do mean that from the bottom of my heart.”