We chatted with ZEDS DEAD about their Rumble in the Jungle CD out today, their Graveyard tour hitting Boston tomorrow, graffiti and more.
So uh guys how did you meet?
Zack: We met through my cousin who was also good friends with Dylan. And we were kind of just doing the same thing at the same time. Both making hip-hop beats. And I’d known Dylan for some time, but we weren’t really like close, but he got me to do a graffiti piece in his garage. And after that we sort of hung out a lot more.
Nice. So you guys are [graffiti] writers too, right?
Zack: Uh, I think Dylan dabbles a bit.
Dylan: [Laughs] Just dabbling.
What or who inspires you guys, not only on a musical level?
Zack: So many people, let me think.. people who really have passion for something are inspiration. I don’t know off the top of my head as far as non-musical people… I wish I had like a guy in a wheel chair reference… [Laughs]
So how was it growing up in Toronto?
Zack: I’d compare it to… (laughs) I don’t know it was cool. I enjoyed it.
Were you guys in inner city Toronto or around the outside?
Zack: Inner city. Um … (pause) yeah it’s too broad a question I think. [Laughs]
What in your own mind changed since mass productions’ style and your current style. What’s different?
Zack: What changed in our minds?
No what changed in terms of style back during mass productions and your current style right now?
Zack: There’s a lot more sound design involved in the current stuff. I think I mean there’s definitely similarities, like there’s still sample stuff, and still, sometimes these you know, like breaky drums and stuff like that but uh, I think the big difference comes in with the sound design. Like a lot of those crazy electronic noises come in, a lot of work with synths, which actually like, becomes like a big part of this. Where with the hip-hop, you’re really focusing on the drums and kind of just like, the sample.
Dylan: We really include a lot more types of electronic music. And before it was mostly hip-hop.
How old are you guys?
Where do the names DC and Hooks originate?
Zack: Um, Hooks, I thought it was just kind of clever because I tried to produce songs for rappers. I got the name when I was like 14 or 15 or something (laughs) It stuck.
Dylan: Captain Hooks!
Zack: Yeah it used to be Captain Hooks. (laughs) And I was gonna sort of be like a Captain Hook Pirate kind of jokey image. But then it became Hooks.
What about DC?
Dylan: DC definitely has an interesting thought behind it. It was just sort of a joke. Back when I first started DJing and shit by myself, Omar Linx said call yourself “Dylan DC.”
Zack: That was kind of the whole message that’s locked up in the Facebook, we were like, what do you think of the name “Strubbs” for a future name? (laughs) They were like what about Mike D? But then we remembered it was the same as the Beastie Boy.
How was your first North American tour: the Rumble in the Jungle tour?
Dylan: Crazy. In all those cities, it’s just like having those crowds come to our shows in all those places…. It was amazing.
Didn’t you guys do 40 places?
Zack: Ummm…probably. We’ve done a lot of cities in Canada and the US.
Dylan: We’ve sort of been touring in the U.S. since last December. Last December was the first time we actually went down to the states. Then we did the Rudeboy tour in March-April that was also in the US. Then over the summer we did the Rumble in the Jungle tour, which was in the US and Canadian dates. And then in the fall we did this little college tour through college towns around Ontario and Quebec. And now we’re on the Graveyard tour. Which is obviously our biggest one to date.
Dylan: The Rumble in the Jungle tour was supposed to coincide with the release of the Rumble in the Jungle EP. But it got really delayed. Now it’s finally coming out.
So I hear a lot of sampling in your tracks. My favorite is the Jabba the Hut in “Dark Side Dub.”
Are both of you equally in charged of not only sample but all the other musical layers?
Dylan: Yes, I’d say so. A lot of times we both just make stuff up on our own and then come together to finish it up at the end of the project. A lot of times it’s just either of us producing the majority of the track, and then coming together to give it the finishing touches and give it the critique and stuff like that
Zack: We bounce it back and forth throughout the process. Usually one person works on the majority of a given and then at the end we’ll have a few session in the studio together to finish it up.
Dylan: We’re both really passionate about producing and stuff. So we’re both always really into I think. It’s been a hobby for a long time.
So how are you guys feelin’ about the Graveyard Tour?
Dylan: [Laughs] So far so good. Well technically the tour started last month. But as of yesterday we won’t be home until December. So we really had our first one of the 55 shows in Orlando. It was off the hook, the energy was crazy. Tonight (FRI 9.30.11) we’re in Philly so that should be fun.. So, so far so good.
Zack: Yeah we were originally gonna call it the “Rave-Yard” tour. But we thought it might have too many negative connotations.. We didn’t know if the cities would be down for that…
Dylan: Yeah we didn’t now if cities were really down with the whole rave thing. We didn’t want any parties to get shut down or anything…
So the new album, do you agree it’s a brand new sound? And what do you feel about people saying that you transcend a simple classification as one musical genre?
Zack: I’d say that’s a great compliment.
Dylan: We don’t want to be considered just “dubstep.” We’ve always felt that people always call it dubstep, and though we do make a lot of dubstep in London—to be totally known for that one thing would be misrepresenting, kind of.
ZEDS DEAD will be playing a SOLD OUT show at Middle East Downstairs tomorrow. Be sure to head over to our review of their new CD for more on their music.