Zeds Dead are no strangers to hip-hop. Yet, after introducing themselves to world as DC and Hooks of Mass Productions, a hip-hop beat making duo, Zach Rapp-Rovan and Dylan Mamid , have gone down a different musical path in the last two years– putting out a lion’s share of electro inspired tracks under their new alias Zeds Dead. Despite having already imspressed critics with their smooth transistion from the hip-hop sphere to the electronic world, Zeds Dead have come back with an even more impressive list of tracks, praised to be their most versatile project yet. The Canadians recently released their EP The Living Dead, featuring four super mixed electro-dub tracks accompanied by the lyricallity of Canadian rapper, Omar Linx. Linx’s rhymes throughout the tracks are emphasized by Zeds usage of hard hitting bass to promote passage of fictional time in between Linx’s raps; this technique highlights the element of storytelling within the EP, as well as provides for some face-melting electronic dance music (EDM). Live electric Guitars, drums, and other traditional instruments are also added in to the mix on the last track, “Cowboy,” appeasing Rock-n-Roll heads alongside those eager for crushing bass and sentimental lyrics. It’s no wonder critics easily agree that The Living Dead is the groups most multifaceted project to date. With such a great EP, RESPECT. had to catchup with Dylan Mamid, half of the Dead, to discuss sound, space, and everything in between.
Tell me about the process of pulling together The Living Dead.
Basically us and Omar Linx just sat in the studio over the wintertime and made a whole shit load of tracks. We kind of just rented this studio in the West End of Toronto, and just kind of got cracking to work. Some of the tracks were ideas we had before, some of them were brand new from scratch, but we ended up with maybe 25 or 30 songs and then we took all those tracks and made the mixtape Victor, which kind of preempted The Living Dead, and got the new EP.
How did you know which were the gems to put on the EP?
We decided that the Victor mixtape was going to be more sample based, a little bit more hip-hop vibe with some of our older stuff… Tracks we didn’t have cleared and stuff so we wanted to give it away for free. We decided the EP was going to be a little bit more in your face, banger type… the EDM world.
A lot of people say EDM music has one kind of sound–the loud, chaotic, dubstep. How do you mold your music into something more versatile, something someone can use as an outlet for different kinds of emotions?
We were never really dubstep producers in the beginning. We always just made a lot of different stuff, whatever we were into at the moment. So, it was never really that we wanted to make hard dubstep; it came from a much chiller place, and I feel like it had a lot more ability to have someone put vocals on it or emcee on it. For us, we always liked working with Omar and we made hip-hop beats with him before, so we just combined a lot of the stuff we liked together to make The Living Dead.
How did the collabo with Linx go exactly? Did you work with what he gave you, highlighting his vision with the lyrics, or was it the other way around?
Some of the tracks are stuff Linx had already written prior to us getting into the studio together, and some of the other ones was stuff that he actually wrote to the beat. For “Cowboy,” that track which is probably one of the more sentimental ones, he had already had that written before. He had already recorded that on another track, and we sorta wanted to take it and make a Zeds Dead-Omar Linx version of it, so we made the beat around his lyrics. We actually brought in my friend whose a guitarist, his name is Ricky, and he actually tours with Lady Gaga–he’s Lady Gaga’s guitarist–and he did all the guitar work on that track.
How do you reconcile going from your hip-hop sound to your electro sound?
For us it was kind of just a change to what we were getting excited about. We’ll always be huge hip-hop heads, but electro and dubstep became really exciting to us, so we wanted to make that kind of sound. But for me Zeds Dead is kind of just something that’s more an all encompassing electronic thing, where we can make all different styles of electronic music underneath it. It’s not just supposed to be a dubstep group or electro group. I want it to be open format. I want people to know we make different kinds of stuff and I think we can go back to making more hip-hop kind of stuff, I can use the skills I learned to make electronic music. Over the next while, we’re going to be doing a lot more different stuff and a lot more light chill stuff and the heavy stuff too, but I want our fans to know we make all types of shit.
Being a hip-hop head would you ever considered rapping over your own beats?
We always used to kick freestyles and shit. Our hooks started in a sense that [Zach] has a lot of crazy rhythms and he’s a really talented writer. We used to record shit for fun, but never actually do anything serious. I don’t consider myself a rapper. I enjoy it, and I’ll participate in a freestyle.
You’ve described your sound as “end of the world, what the big bang would sound like.” Do you think that still applies to the type of sound you were going for with The Living Dead?
Yea, something like how sound could exist in space. But no, I can’t elaborate on that.
What’s your dream place to perform?
What’s the ideal setting to listen to The Living Dead?
Going fast, whether you’re in a plane or a car or a rocket ship.
If listeners could only hear one of the EP, which song would you choose for them peep first?
That’s a tough one, there’s only four and they’re all kinds of different styles. I’d probably say “Cowboys” because its the most mixed. It goes in a lot of different places, so it shows the versatility of the EP. “Crank” is just a high energetic hard one, and the other ones are kind of different, more ominous and dark. I think that Cowboys got both the light and dark aspects to it, you know.
Download The Living Dead on Beatport now!
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