This week we talked to Zedd, German electro producer/dj extraordinaire. Zedd’s been making fiercely funky electro with a maximal approach to soundscape that synthesizes aspects of electro, house, and dubstep while his compositions join house-style build ups with epic electro drops. Like Skrillex, Porter Robinson, and Dirtyloud, Zedd is part of a next generation of musicians racing at the heels of the likes of Deadmau5, Wolfgang Gartner, and Felguk. In what he called “Zedd Style”, you’ll find almost compulsive attention to detail- no hook left untightened, no synth left unwobbled. Today we talked with Zedd about future collabs, past works, and his part in Skrillex’s chart-topping EP.
ELR: Skrillex’s Scary Monsters EP dominated the Beatport top 10 recently with your remix high on the list. What’s it like being on top?
Zedd: It’s indescribable!!! I’m so thankful for everyone who made this possible, especially my brother from another mother, Skrilly!
ELR: Yeah, the electro world seems so small- anyone else you want to collaborate with in the near future? Porter Robinson? Lucky Date? More with Skrillex? That was a shameless plug for our previous interviewees but still relevant.
Zedd: Haha… well with Porter Robinson and Lucky Date you have already two. I’m currently collaborating with Radio Jack, David May and Roy RosenfelD. Furthermore I hooked up with “Penny” who I’ll write a song with which I’m very looking forward to. And I still didn’t mention a few others I plan on working with.
ELR: Younger guys like you, Skrillex, and Porter seem to be following Wolfgang and Deadmau5 into this region of electro-house-meets-dubstep which has been getting attention in the Blogosphere lately. I wouldn’t call this a genre, because while you make some of the same sounds I think it’s more because you have a shared high standard and attention to details in your productions.
Zedd: Well, first of all thanks for saying that people like Porter and me would follow Wolfgang Gartner and Deadmau5, this comparison is a great honor, of course. I think there are some parallels between Porter’s and mine productions. I love what he’s doing and we both love to work on little details. I’ve lately tried to create something like a little genre, I’ve read some people called it “Zedd Style”. I think what makes it … well, let’s say “Zedd Style” is that there are lots of different sounds and details running together, combined with fat bass and lots of melodies / harmonies. I’ve always been a fan of chords and melodies in electronic music. I’m not too much of a minimal-fan because I think that sometimes it misses the “music” inside. I don’t know if it has a lot to do with “dubstep” though. I’ve had some dubstep sounds in my latest productions- that’s true. And I also recognized that lots of producers were making some dubstep parts in their electro tracks. I like that.
ELR: Were you spinning or producing first? How did you get started making electronic music?
Zedd: Producing!! I started to DJ very late but I’m producing my own music for over 10 years.
ELR: What is your approach to composition when you are making a track / what kinds of things do you focus on in a production?
Zedd: I always try to give every single track a face. It has to be an autonomous track, having it’s own style and good production. It’s difficult to answer that generally. It just has to be a great track, doesn’t mind if it’s electro house or big room stuff.
ELR: Analog or Digital, for DJing/producing?
Zedd: Analog might sound better but Digital is good enough and WAY easier to handle sooo… digital! For DJing and producing!
ELR: When would you say your career became all about your music? How do your parents feel about it?
Zedd: My parents accept that. My own band Dioramic has always been very important to me. They knew that in my heart I’ve always wanted to make music so I think they can live with the fact. I’ve fought a very long time to make it possible for me to live from music. It is still very hard since most people download music illegally. At least I think people enjoy going to live shows which is a great thing.
ELR: What do you think this means for the music industry? It seems like you are doing well for yourself despite your music being illegally available on the internet.
Zedd: Illegal downloads have a positive and negative aspect. The positive side is that your music goes around way faster than I think it was many years ago. Lots of people share music, which is not a big thing since we all use mp3s and there are lots of illegal websites where a new song is downloaded like 5000 times in 1 day after a song comes out. It also means that 5000 people know your name, which is good!
Of course, the bad thing is that people don’t think it’s necessary to give a few pennies for a piece of art someone created in lots of hours! I can’t really say what this means for the music industry, I can imagine that live shows will get more and more important.
ELR: Speaking of live shows, when are you coming to California next?
Zedd: I’ve confirmed a show in Portland and we’re trying to get a little tour around May 2011 so probably I’ll be able to check out California as well
ELR: Favorite person/group to work with in studio?
Zedd: If you mean who I’d love to work in a studio I’d pick Deadmau5, Wolfgang Gartner or Lady Gaga. I’m down with any of them!
ELR: Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Zedd: Hang out with friends, talk, sleep, eat, drink!
ELR: Favorite venue?
Zedd: I haven’t played there yet but I’m pretty sure I’d instantly put it as favourite: “Cocoon Club” in Frankfurt (Germany).
ELR: Favorite album.
Zedd: Ugh, that’s a tough one… I might pick the latest Skrillex EP / Album “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites”. I love every single track on it. To pick one I’m not involved in, I would choose “Split The Atom” by “Noisia”. Amazing album.
ELR: What other music have you been into recently?
Zedd: I’ve liked everything from Jazz, to Metal, to Hardcore, but lately I’m not listening to a lot of music. I prefer just to produce music. Most times I listen to music I’m in the car. And when I’m in the car I often listen to my own productions to improve them!
ELR: Okay, you are stuck in the movie Castaway and you’ve found one of your belongings on the beach to be your only companion. What is it, and what do you name it?
Zedd: My iPhone. I’d call someone to pick me up from that island, would have some music on it to listen to while waiting for the rescue!
ELR: You didn’t give it a name. And it can’t be “Wilson”.
Zedd: Maybe something like Super_Mega_Speed-5000-Pro-HD… sounds magic!!
ELR: Finally, do they have burritos all the way in Germany?
Zedd: Dude! SURE! But I’m sure they’re not as good as the original ones!!!
ELR: They are delicious. Where’s your favorite place to get them?
Zedd: I don’t mind where to get it, as [long] as it’s tasty as heeeell!!
You didn’t think we’d leave you without any tracks did you? Here’s some of Zedd’s recent material including his remix of Skrillex’s ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.’ Show Zedd some love and buy a track or two of his here.
Be sure to check back here for our interview with PeaceTreaty as well as pictures from the show with Steve Aoki!