Q&A with Zeds Dead: ‘Evolving your sound is crucial to being an artist’
Originating from Toronto, duo Zeds Dead used to spend hours making old-school hip hop beats in their parent’s garage. Ten years on from their first album Fresh Beets, Dylan Mamid (aka DC) and Zach Rapp-Rovan (aka Hooks) have replaced hip-hop with bass-heavy sounds. The Canadian pair, who took their name from a line Bruce Willis says in 90s film Pulp Fiction, have kicked off 2013 with a world tour, a new instrumental EP on Diplo’s Mad Decent imprint and most recently an Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1.
Hooks took time out of his busy schedule to tell me more about their transition into Dubstep, working together in the studio and their plans for the rest of the year.
How did you two get together and when did you make the transition to Dubstep?
We’ve known each other for a long time but started hanging out and making music together about ten years ago. Led Zeppelin made me want to learn guitar which was my first stepping stone to making music and, as cliche as it is, I really wanted to learn ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
I don’t remember how exactly I got introduced to Dubstep but there was something in the air back then. It had such a great groove, with elements of hip-hop and D’n’B in it and felt really cool to go to these underground parties and hear that type of music.
Do you guys get into arguments when you’re both in the studio together?
We mainly work on music separately and pass the song back and forth, both adding to it until it’s done. We usually don’t get in the studio together until the end. We always have some disagreements but in the end we only put out things that we’re both completely happy with so it’s a good thing.
Hot Sauce EP is an all-instrumental EP – where did the inspiration for this come from?
Each song had different inspirations. Some of them were inspired by sounds coming out of the UK and some were very hip-hop sounding. Off the EP I’d say Trouble and Demons are very hip-hop sounding but overall this release was all about doing something unexpected and different.
Evolving your sound is crucial to being an artist. Making the same thing all the time just becomes boring, I could never do that, it doesn’t give me the pleasure of exploration and creativity.
What’s your take on ‘EDM’ at the minute and people saying artists have ‘sold out’?
It’s funny how it goes, people always want their favorite artist to blow up. They always say that they deserve to be more popular but then when they blow up they say they’ve gone mainstream and they sold out. You can’t win. You’ve just got to keep making music that you love.
Technology has made everything less expensive but not easier. Making a good song that you’re happy with still takes painstaking hours of blood sweat and tears, at least for me anyway.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Just working non-stop on music. We’ve got so many productions in the works in all different genres, including some cool collaborations that we can’t reveal just yet.
We’re also just kicking off our European tour now where we’ll be playing lots of different genres and always try to slip in cool songs that you wouldn’t expect – bottom line though, our goal is to always rock the party.Dubstep, hip hop, zeds dead
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