Interview #16: Zedd

By: Forward Musiq
Today we sit down with one of electro-house’s fastest rising starts, Zedd.

When Anton Zazslavsky first hit public light as Zedd his fame was nowhere close to where it is today; he had very recently taken the top slot in both Armand Van Helden’s “Witch Doktor” and Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice“. Arguably, his first ‘breakthrough’ came with his debut on mau5trap with his remix for Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites“. All the elements encountered in this remix, ranging from his simple percussion to the elaborate use of various synths and musical chords, would later on develop into his present hard-hitting electro-house style. Now, 2 years later, Zedd is one of the scene’s fastest rising artists. Receiving much praise from his fellow fans, and releasing hit singles such as “Shave It” and remixes for artists by the likes of the Swedish House Mafia, 2011 proved to be one of his most successful years to date. And with his most recent release, Slam The Door, topping the Beatport Top 100 Chart at #1, 2012 is turning out to be just the same. Without further delay, we present to you the german electro-house mastermind, Zedd.

Name: Zedd
Genres: Electro House
Years as a DJ: 1
Social Media: Facebook Twitter

Forward Musiq: First off, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, it is greatly appreciated!
Zedd: My pleasure, thank you!

FM: Zedd. What does the name mean? Why did you choose it?
Zedd: It basically doesn’t have a meaning. The first letter of my last name is a „Z“ and you pronounce it „Zed / Zedd“ all over the world except for the United States. So I decided to be Zedd because I was too lazy to think of something else.

FM: Do you remember your first gig? How was it like?
Zedd: I do remember my first small DJ gig. It was quite a lot of fun but I had no stage presence; I didn’t talk / interact with the audience and I was not secure with what I was doing. I also remember my first „real“ gig, which was Webster Hall in New York and is still one of my favourite gigs ever.

FM: How about your favorite one?
Zedd: It’s hard to pick a favourite gig; there were so many incredible gigs I’ve played. I really don’t wanna pull one out and say it was my favourite one!

FM: You’re characterized for your hard hitting bass-driven drops. Even so, how would you describe your sound at the moment of producing?
Zedd: Well, mostly people know the harder stuff but I also make more melodic stuff which is not that hard. I didn’t release anything in that direction yet but I will really soon!

FM: The music you produce seems to take some cues from the gaming world with its liberal use of chip-tunes and 8-bit samples. You also have been known to be a fan of games. What views do you have towards the gaming culture?
Zedd: I’ve used to be the biggest fan of computer games. If I was not that busy I might still play a lot of them. I loved a lot of the computer game music; especially games like „Gran Turismo“ had incredibly intelligent composed jazzy music which I still love! Definitely influenced me a lot!

FM: Following the previous premise, why did you choose to include chip tune influences and 8-bit samples into your formula?
Zedd: I didn’t; I definitely didn’t. I think the Zelda theme song is still one of the most epic songs ever so I decided to re-create that one by putting my twist in it. But I don’t really follow that rule anywhere else in my songs.

FM: Can we expect another pop-culture and gamer hit such as The Legend Of Zelda from you?
Zedd: Maybe – why not. Not against it. Eventhough it’s probably the biggest pain in the ass to get things like that cleared; if I really love something, I’ll do it. Maybe!! 🙂

FM: Of all the tracks you’ve made, which is your favorite one? Why?
Zedd: I think one of my favorites so far is my remix for Skrillex’ „Breakn’ A Sweat“ because it has all elements in it that I love. A melody; harmonies and my favorite bass sound; and it’s just very emotional.

FM: You recently released a free dubstep track, “The Scorpion Move”. Will we be hearing more dubstep from you in the future?
Zedd: That’s possible. At the moment I don’t really feel like producing dubstep so at the moment I’d say no; but this could change any minute. I did „Scorpion Move“ because I was on the plane, I was bored and I wanted to try out producing dubstep for fun. This could happen again anytime!!

FM: What artists served as inspiration for your formation in the beginning and why? And who do you look up to now?
Zedd: Definitely Skrillex, Wolfgang Gartner, Deadmau5 just to name a few!

FM: If you could collaborate on a track and spend one day with any DJ/Producer, who would it be? Why?
Zedd: It would be Wolfgang Gartner for sure. I’ve spend a lot of time on „computer“ (=studio) with Skrilly, spent some time producing with Deadmau5 but never got to meet Wolfgang Gartner. He’s my biggest idol!

FM: How was 2011 like?
Zedd: Impossible to put into words. It was phenomenal!

FM: Are there any other things you enjoy apart from producing music and Djing?
Zedd: I love food! Really do! Besides that I really love to chill and hang but I don’t get to do that a lot unfortunately!

FM: What was your childhood dream like? Did it have anything to do with where you are now?
Zedd: 100%. I’ve been making music my whole life; dreaming of one day being somewhat like where I am right now. It definitely has always been a dream to be making music all day long and now that’s what I’m doing!

FM: At the end of the day, what makes you happy?
Zedd: Good people and good music and good food!

FM: Where do you stand regarding music piracy? Are you in favor of it, or against it?
Zedd: Generally I’m against it just because I don’t think you should steal things. Though, it would be stupid not to realize that it is promotion at the same time AND if labels or stores make it harder for you to buy a song than to download it illegaly; they’re doing something wrong. Itunes does it right; they try to make it as easy as possible to buy a song, but still it’s easier to grab a song illegaly. Maybe there’s an even easier way to buy songs.

FM: You recently played a killer set in Puerto Rico alongside Skrillex and Alvin Risk. How was the crowd like? Was it easy to play?
Zedd: I felt like it was not really easy to play, though it was a lot of fun!! The crowd was definitely different from the normal US crowd.

FM: Oh, and, do you like bratwurst?
Zedd: Not really. I don’t like Bratwurst and I don’t like beer. I’m probably some sort of Fake-German hah.


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