Dear Electro-House Fans,
It is with the utmost pride and sincerity that I present to you: Zedd, the man who currently sits at #4 on Beatport’s illustrious Top 10 chart thanks to the success of his Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites remix. Lucky for me, amidst the insanity and hype that is currently swarming him, he was nice enough to take some time and give me an interview. He is a very humble young man and a fantastic DJ, and I urge you all to support and follow him as I promise that this is only the beginning of what im sure is going to be a huge career for this Deutschland demon!
WG: First off I would like to thank you for giving me my first interview for my blog. Most people don’t realize that the music blog scene now a days has become quite cut throat with its increasing importance, and as such most big DJs wont give the little guy the time of day, so thanks for supporting the little guy!
Zedd: No, thank you! The beginning is always hard, I know that.
WG: I have found that the best way to understand a musician is by looking at his/her roots or influences. What or who got you started in your musical career? What was the first song you ever knew off by heart?
Zedd: Both of my parents are musicians, which meant that I was encouraged to play the piano when I was four years old. I then started recording my first songs at the age of six. I started playing drums at the age of 12 and have since played in a post-hardcore/rock/metal band, as you correctly described and however one wants to label it! Therefore, I have had a pretty much classical education. I have only really been producing electronic music for about two years, so I am still a relative newcomer to this type of music. I suppose I have been able to progress my development to a satisfactory level quite quickly because of my musical background. However, I still feel I am just at the beginning and look forward to each new track I produce and to learn more about the processes.
WG: Like you, I also played piano and drums as a kid and found it very helpful to reading and understanding music. What aspects from learning these instruments from a young age have helped you attain such quick success in the electronic music scene?
Zedd: I think the fact that I play instruments has helped me a lot. Even if it sounds mean, I think the problem in the electro music scene is that lots of producers aren’t really musicians, just people who learned what they need to click to get “sounds” out of their computer. Having some musical knowledge in the back of my mind has helped me to write more “musical” compositions, I think.
WG: In this day in age, a DJs choice of certain equipment and programs can heavily influence his/her success at creating music. I’m wondering what your tech set up is like (what controllers, samplers, drum machines, etc. you use), and its influence on your overall technique and style of musical production.
Zedd: My setup is quite simple. I DJ with my MacBook, Traktor Pro, and a Vestax VCI 100B. I am not the type of DJ who mixes in loads of effects when performing live. In my opinion, the art of live DJing lies in working with the most interesting and sensible musical crossovers with a view to creating a homogenous set that also hopefully doesn’t get too boring! I’m not the type of guy who deliberately plays a lame song to get the best possible boost out of the following track. If the song isn’t good enough in the first place then it doesn’t deserve to be played.
WG: For most electro-heads, there is always that one defining moment, where a single song or artist opens your ears and tears your focus away from all other genres of music. This happened for me the moment I heard Dimmakmmnication by The Bloody Beetroots. What song or artist made you fall in love with electro music and what kind of influence do they play for you in your DJ career?
Zedd: One of the songs that pulled me to electronic music was Klaas’ remix of Guru Josh Project’s “Infinity 2010”. When I was in clubs before I just recognized that house music was playing. But this song stayed in my mind for weeks and I started to “analyze” why I liked it. Another one was Roy RosenfelD’s remix of “Get This Feeling” by Fedde Le Grand. At this point I already had my first tries in electronic music and I was “shoked” when I heared that track. Even today I think it is one of the best electro house tracks ever!!!
WG: After Wolfgang recently came out with his Illmerica extended mix, he posted on facebook; describing the difference between DJs that sit and spend 300 hours working on a single song and DJs that will blast out a set in a couple of hours and release it. Since many people are comparing your style to Wolfgangs, I’m wondering if you could describe the process and steps that you follow when you create your music.
Zedd: Usually I compose my songs in my head. I have an idea that comes to my mind when I’m in bed, taking a shower or whatever. If I have this main-idea it usually is pretty easy for me to get the song done. I start with a beat, this takes me some time. When the beat sounds nice I try to combine it with the idea I had before. So the creative part for me actually starts before the production! Sometimes I also just play around with different sounds and get ideas. I love Wolfgang Gartner’s music and he has always been one of my biggest influences but I don’t agree with him that there HAS to be a difference between someone spending 300h and someone spending 30h on a track. It depends on how you use your time.
WG: From what I understand you have not yet had much touring experience outside of Germany. With the success that each of your new tracks is having globally, especially with mau5strap’s interest in your Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites remix, is it safe to say that your fans outside of Europe can look forward to you touring anytime soon?
Zedd: Well, of course I would like to answer this question with: “yes!”. It’s not in my hands though. I’d love to tour all over the world. So if YOU’RE a booking agent, make sure to get in touch with me. ;-)
WG: At the moment, who in your opinion is currently the most talented DJ or Producer in the game and why?
Zedd: Hm, this is a difficult question. I would say that probably “Skrillex” is one of the most innovative producers at the moment. His productions are absolutely unique and inspiring! I also really dig what my friends “Lucky Date” and “Porter Robinson” come up with. To pick a last one I’d choose “Madeon”. He’s a young and EXTREMELY talented producer. Watch out for him, I’m sure he’s going to be huge soon!
WG: I want to thank you again for giving me the chance to get to know you better, as in my opinion you are one of the biggest talents to look forward to in the upcoming year. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors (not that you really need it) and hope that I will soon be able to rage to your music live when you begin touring internationally. Is there anything left you have to say to your Canadian fans?
Zedd: Thank you so much!!! I hope I’ll have the pleasure to rock Canada soon!!!
- Signed Sincerely, The Worst Guy