With only a two days left until Minus Zero Festival kicks off, I’m going to take a look at Zeds Dead again. Though established for the past several years, they have released their debut album Northern Lights at long last. I have seen Zeds Dead more than any other artist of late; on tour in October, at Mysteryland, and Camp Bisco.
Dylan “DC” Mamid and Zachary “Hooks” Rapp-Rovan are products of a burgeoning Toronto electronic scene. From an interview with Elek Tronique I found out that they started out primarily with hip hop beats, and redirected their talents towards making a more specific electronic sound. They also talk of how they garnered local Toronto support by founding a bi-weekly party called Bassmentality. It is so nostalgic to watch this interview, which took place five years ago, as a fan during that time.
They will be performing at Minus Zero festival this weekend on Friday the 7th. They’ll be closing out night one, and taking over from Illenium who I’ll be covering briefly in a subsequent post.
It seems like they have a thing for tiny cups of coffee. That’s tough to discern from the second photo, which must mean either that they are unimpressed with the increase in mug size, or they haven’t had any to drink yet. Their hardened stares are appropriate for the music they create, though.
The duo “started [out] digging through [their] parents’ record collection” at a young age, as Hooks puts it in a Govia Radio interview. DC says that he “Started with Fruity Loops, and still use it for some things,” though he “use[s] Ableton a lot” now. They both talk about how dubstep is becoming more integrated into popular culture, and Hooks shares, “it’s definitely a real trip from, like, seeing it go from so underground to being in, like, a Best Buy commercial.”
Their biggest accomplishment is undoubtedly the recent release of their full length LP Northern Lights. I learned via a Northern Transmissions interview that their track, “Stardust,” was in the works for two years. The thing about Zeds Dead that is most impressive to me is their ability to innovate. They change and blend genres at a whim, and create something incredible with each new tweak in their formula.
“Stardust” is a much slower tune than many of Zeds Dead’s fans are accustomed to, and a few of the other experimental tracks also have suffered in terms of soundcloud plays. However, I’ve come to realize that though the more experimental tracks might not be some of the first you want to play, they are unique pieces of art, and add to the pool of music available to everyone in the scene. Blame with Diplo and Elliphant has nearly four million play at this point, and undoubtedly benefited from having Diplo’s name on there, but is perhaps not as creative as “Too Young” with Rivers Cuomo and Pusha T. Tracks with a new flavor and tempo provide a kind of solace to a listener who has been listening to harsh, robotic sounds for hours. Zeds Dead has made a habit of providing fresh material.