DJ duo talks dubstep culture


  Zach Rapp-Rovan and Dylan Mamid began producing beats together in 2004 under the name Mass Productions before their 2009 transformation into Zeds Dead. The Toronto-based electronic music duo has toured Canada, the U.K. and America. Vermont Cynic: So, what do you guys do? Zach: We make electronic music of the dubstep kind and the drum and bass kind and the electro kind. VC: How did you guys get into dubstep? Zach: We started hearing [dubstep] around and it had a lot of similarities with the electro stuff we were doing as well as the hip hop we used to do. So it was kind of a natural progression. We liked making the sounds and design.  VC: Have you guys ever been to Burlington before? Zach: No. This will be our first time. Wait… Dylan have you been to Burlington? Dylan: No, but I’ve been to Vermont before. VC: Are there any messages you have for the people who are coming to your show in October? Zach: Yeah, tell the people of Burlington I hope you’re ready to get you’re faces melted VC: How would you describe your shows? Zach: We normally like to take it from dub step through other electronic genres. With a wide base, we try and cover what’s happening now, with a few surprises. Its generally really high energy and really loud…lots of bass. VC: Do you think about your location when planning your sets? Zach: Yeah absolutely. When we were in California, around 4/20, we played old school Cali weed smoking songs like Cyprus Hill and stuff like that. That would always get a good reaction. We try to play to the local vibe, especially if there is something cool and unique from that city that the people will appreciate. VC: Anything in mind for Burlington? Dylan: I think I’m going to write a song about maple syrup VC: What are some strange things that have happened to you on tour? Dylan: The power bar thing. Zach: A funny thing happened the other day, when we were in Kingston, Ontario, we were about to about go on and we needed some power outlets, like a power bar, to plug our computer in. So I told the guy “We need a power bar or else we can’t play,” he was like “I’m on it.” But nothing was happening so I asked somebody else, “we need a power bar, where is that guy?” So a little while later this guy runs in, like sweating like he’s just been sprinting, with a grocery bag full of energy bars. And he was like “well they didn’t have Power Bar but they had this other brand of energy bar.” (At this point Dylan starts giggling) It was pretty funny, they thought we were such prima donnas that we wouldn’t go on unless we had our power bars. VC: What type of song inspires you to make a remix? Zach: Stuff with a good melody, good vocals, maybe a really nice riff. Often stuff that’s not already dance music, rock or R&B, something else that we can make into a dance track. VC: What are you focusing on now? Zach: We’re working on a lot of originals right now, not as many remixes. We have a few EPs coming out soon, they’re like 2 or 3 tracks each. After that we’re going on a really big tour, and after that were going to start working on a full length album. VC: What are the worst misconceptions about the drum and bass scene? Zach: Some people have a misconception that everyone who makes the music and listens to it is on drugs. But there are a lot of people who appreciate electronic music without being high…People come up to us and ask us how high we were when we made a track, and it’s usually not the case. VC: Do you prefer glow sticks or glitter? Zach: Glowsticks! But I hate when people throw them at us when we’re DJing. VC: Any other pet peeves? Zach: People throwing glow sticks. Also people trying to have a conversation with me when I’m DJing. Dylan: Yeah, it’s a really inopportune time. Zach: It’s like really come on I’m in the middle of DJing for a thousand people and you think it’s a good time to have a conversation. But definitely the glow stick thing, sometimes they hit you right in the head. Some people throw water, which is just the absolute worst. Dylan: Oh my god. Zach: Because you can completely fry the equipment and ruin the show for everybody. I know when Rusko was playing in Calgary, someone whipped a water bottle at a computer and wrecked the whole thing. The whole show had to stop. VC: How big an influence has Toronto been on your music and your style? Zach: Definitely been influential. We used to go to a bar down the street from my house that played dub step and reggae. Dylan: Yeah. It was before a lot of people were even aware of that music and dub step, so that was a good influence. Zach: The way electro blew up in Toronto too. Toronto has always had a really good mixture of scenes for certain types of music, not necessarily for hip hop but electronic. It has one of the biggest drum and bass scenes outside of the UK and I think that’s always just lingered. And right now its a really good time, they’re are a lot of cool artist coming up and a lot of people who inspire me. VC: When we started playing dub step a couple of years ago it was like a clear the dance floor kind of thing. But now people get pissed off when you play house. Dylan: I’ve heard of dub step being dropped at the most mainstream clubs in Toronto, and people actually liking it, where as three years ago that would never happen. VC: Do you think it’s around to stay or do you think it will go the way of disco? Zach: Hold on just a sec. I’m chewing… I think the idea of dub step is around to stay, but there are certain aspects of it that wont last forever like any genre. Dylan: It’s defiantly going to evolve. Zach: It’s going to evolve, the really hard stuff probably wont last forever, the really really crazy stuff that people like now. It will change and evolve into something else, which I’m excited to see. VC: How big a role do you think the Internet has played in the dub step world? Zach: Huge. The biggest role, if it weren’t for the Internet we wouldn’t even be having this interview right now probably. VC: Of all the places and countries you’ve played which one rages the hardest. Zach: None, people are raging all over the world.