Just last week, Canadian dynamic duo Zeds Dead unleashed their maiden full-length offering upon the world, Northern Lights.
Following years of party-starting, whether it be at festivals or sweaty club shows, the band had amassed an army of followers the world over – Australia included. They kept their attention through a series of singles and remixes, flexing their production prowess where ever they could.
Now, with the debut album, things are about to go next level for the pair. We caught up with both members, DC and Hooks, as they were part way through their North American tour in the name of the album. A tour which will be emulated here upon their impending return for Hardfest.
Music Feeds: The new album is coming out soon. How have the fans been taking to the shows given that they’re yet to experience the whole album?
Hooks: Yeah, Shows have been amazing. This is the most amazing tour we’ve done so far, in terms of how the crowds are, the venues and the production we brought out. Also the reaction to the new music!
MF: There must be a lot of new content for the fans to get their heads around at the shows.
DC: Well yeah we’re playing a lot of stuff for the first time, so it’s cool to be able to do that on tour. We’re playing stuff out and testing it. Sometimes we tell them it’s a new track, sometimes we don’t just to see how it goes. But like Zach said, we have a tonne of new production for this tour which we actually built specifically to coincide with the album and the Northen Lights concept.
MF: Let me guess, are the Northern Lights behind you on stage while you perform?
DC: [Laughs] There might be, actually. At some point. There’s just a lot going on – I’ll say that much.
MF: So this will be your debut album. It’s rare these days to tackle a debut album when the artist is as established as Zeds Dead. Did it mess with the process at all knowing there were so many eyes on you?
H: I think that’s really why it’s a good time to release it. When you first start, you don’t really have a fanbase so it might be a better idea to put out singles and remixes to cast a net and see who’s likeminded. Now, here we are all these years later with this dedicated following who play close attention to what we’re releasing. It just seems like the right time to do something that’s not single-related.
DC: We feel really fortunate in the fact that we actually can do an album and people will listen to it and take it in.
MF: You guys clocked some serious studio time working on singles and remixes with other artists. How well did all that prep you for the full-length album process?
H: It all kinda feels like a gradual build to where we’re at now. It all adds to the greater picture. Making music is a need regardless. Even if we weren’t successful, we’d probably still be doing it. It’s all a building process. It makes you better at your craft by doing remixes and singles.
MF: Going through the album’s tracklist, there are some mental collaborations: Diplo, Elliphant, Twin Shadows, Atlas, Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. Did you always want your debut to be such a collaborative affair?
DC: Yeah, we always wanted to have collaborators on the album. Even when we were working on singles we were constantly writing songs and putting them aside for the album, either because it sounded right, or because we wanted a rapper or vocalist over it. On this album, we were incredibly fortunate to get some of the people we put on our wishlist.
H: We really like making worlds collide. For example, making a track with Jada Kiss and Styles P – a hybrid of hip hop and hard-hitting electronic stuff. That was interesting to us. When you combine something like that you end up with something new that people haven’t heard before. It’s the same thing with how we started remixing old songs, by putting them in a different world by sampling an old record, for example.
MF: I gotta say, Rivers Cuomo and Pusha T really stands out for me as worlds colliding. Were there any collaborations that you thought were maybe too ambitious, but listened back to the track and it worked?
H: I think you hit the nail on the head with that one, Mike. This is like three worlds colliding. It’s a three-way of different styles and it’s dope that it actually worked out for us.
MF: Also, GG MaGree, from Sydney. Thanks for putting some Australian flavour in there!
DC: Gotta rep Australia.
H: Yeah you guys got some mad talent over there, singers, producers…
MF: Seems that there’s also something in the water in Canada, you guys are making some pretty good music yourselves.
DC: It’s the united Commonwealth.
MF: That does make sense. You’ll be in town soon for Hard Festival – the first of its kind in Australia. What can we expect?
DC: A lot of Zeds Dead stuff.
H: Recently we’ve been trying to stack our set with as much original stuff as possible. We just have so much music it just makes sense at this point to showcase what we do. We’ll be coming off the heels of this crazy tour and another European tour, so we’ll be pretty seasoned by that point.
‘Northern Lights’ is out now, grab a copy here. Zeds Dead have will be touring Australia for the first time in December, headlining dates across Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane as part of the new HARD festival.