Zeds Dead on Joining the Mad Decent Label and the Post-Genre Future of Dance Music
Producers Hooks and DC started out their careers sampling hip-hop as the duo Mass Productions in 2004. However, after competing their first album, they found themselves drawn to the intensity and bass of dance music, particularly dubstep. Renaming themselves Zeds Dead in 2009, they have since toured tirelessly (twice in Europe and now for the second time in the U.S.), while releasing mixes and EPs, most recently on the Mad Decent label. Although primarily known for their dubstep productions, their versatility remains a prominent factor in their success: There was a remix of dreamy pop group Blue Foundation's "Eyes on Fire," and even an homage to to their hip-hop roots with an Aretha Franklin sample in "Coffee Break." The duo spoke with All Shook Down about the release of their newest EP, and why they think people dislike dubstep. They play The Regency Ballroom this Thursday with Big Chocolate and DJ Audio One.
How's the energy holding up on your extensive tour?
It can be really rough some days, but we always get in the zone for shows.
Why is it called The Graveyard Tour? Is that in the spirit of Halloween?
It was originally going to be called The Raveyard Tour, but we had been advised that many places frown upon the word "rave" and we didn't want any of our shows being shut down.
Congrats on your recent release of Rumble in the Jungle. For those of us that dream about releasing an album on the Mad Decent label, what's the feeling like?
We were very happy to do that with Mad Decent, not just because we've been listeners for a long time, but also because we're trying to show people that we are much more than just dubstep. Their sound is very eclectic, so we thought it was a great fit for the EP.
Are you guys working on a complete album, or just touring for now?
We're constantly working on tracks wherever we can. Right now we're focusing mostly on small EPs to put out over the next few months, but all the while setting aside potential album songs.
You guys also have millions of hits on YouTube, fans on Facebook, etc. Do you think these media networks have tremendously helped your career?
Those networks have made our career. Blogs and YouTube is how music gets around these days. We knew that getting songs on popular YouTube channels and the Hype Machine would give us exposure.
Speaking of social networks, is it interesting or a bit scary to write a question on FB and have 300 people answer?
It's very interesting and we read every comment. It's incredible that you can connect with people all over the world with such ease.
Kissy Sellout said you guys are "the future of genres." What does that mean to you?
I think he's referring to how nowadays you don't need to be pigeonholed as a dubstep, drum 'n' bass, or house artist, and you can do a variety of styles of music and have a fanbase. Kissy was one of the first big DJs to play our stuff and it was a big moment when we found out we had been on BBC Radio 1.
How did you guys discover the connection between hip-hop and the dubstep/progressive music you're making now?
Coming from making hip-hop beats for many years, it's only natural that it comes through in our EDM productions.
Why do you think people so vehemently hate dubstep sometimes?
Originally it had the reputation of only attracting men to the parties, but that's changed a lot in the last two years.
Lastly, what are your guys' favorite sounds made by your machines?
Got to go with the straight up sub-bass note.