Posted on Nov 6th, 2009 in FG Q&A by Mr Goldbar
For the latest edition of our FG Q&A series, we had a quick chat with UK beat chameleon DJ Zinc about his excellent new Crack House EP, keeping up with musical trends, studio secrets, and more. Bo bo bo!
Read the complete interview after the jump, download the free Crack House sampler mix and be sure to cop the whole thing on Beatport. Stay tuned for more exclusive back-n-forth with interesting folks and creative types very soon.
10 tracks is hefty for an EP – is there a thread that ties all these tunes together for you to release them all at once, rather than split into different singles?
I was planning to do an album but when I got near finishing it, it didn’t really have an “album” vibe. I’d have released them as singles, but I wanted to have a quite strong package to introduce the new stuff I’m doin.
Were these tracks recorded in a quick burst of creativity, or over an extended period of time?
Over about a year, maybe a bit more. I work really, really slow.
What’s a typical day in the studio like for you?
Probably get there about 2-3pm, work till 4-5 am with a break for food or to hang out with my kid for a bit. Tempa records and Rinse FM are based in the same office as me, so theres always something goin on.
How does the UK music scene (past and present) inform the kinds of music that you make?
I guess being exposed to music – mainly pirate radio – all my life means I’ve got loads of random influences, from Indian music to African, Jamaican etc.
There are some very interesting collaborations on the record – can you take us through the making of a tune like “Jekyll N Hyde” from beat idea, to recording Angela’s vocal, to the finished track?
I’ve worked with Angie before, so when she was in the UK working on another project, I asked her to pop into the studio and lay down a few vocals – I had a rough beat up and she just freestyled, she’s really easy to work with, she can do all kinds of voices, from opera shit to kids (she did the kids vocals on that Nas tune, the “I know I can…” bit). I only took some of the parts that she sang. Most of what I used was her doing a ruff, but I liked that you cant really hear what she’s saying. I stripped the track down to just beats and then wrote the bass melody.
You revisit “138 Trek” on the EP as a housier “128 Trek” – planning any other dips back into the catalog for crack house versions? “SUPER Super Sharp Shooter”?
There is a Jack Beats mix of “Super Sharp Shooter,” but I dunno if it’ll see the light of day… I’m defo gonna have a play with a few old beats I did, why not!
How do you approach your DJ sets these days? Is it a challenge balancing “your” tracks that people expect (especially with such an extensive / varied discography) with brand new tunes you want to play out?
I just play what I’m feelin, I think it frustrates people a bit cos I don’t play that many of my old tunes, but I’ve gotta be excited by what I play.
What’s your take on the current emphasis placed on brand new and “unreleased” cuts amongst certain blogs, DJs, etc – do you feel like records are getting hyped up and burnt out before they really have a chance to live as a “real” release?
How long have you got! Music in general seems more throwaway now than ever, cos its so easy to make tunes. When I started, nearly every tune that was released was made in a pro or semi pro studio by a half decent engineer, so even if a song was crap it was quite well made. When I used to play DnB I realized that we left tracks on dubplate for far too long, but the scene I’m in now seems to have gone a bit too far the other way. I dunno. It’ll find its feet!
Any new favorites – musical or otherwise – you’d like to highlight or encourage people to check out?
Lots of the stuff going on around Rinse FM is really interesting, from Roska, Geeneus, Skream, loads of the DJs. Also some of the more underground heads like the Clairvoyants, Circle.
What rap records are you feeling these days?
Does grime count as rap? If so Wiley is the guvnor!
After this Crack House EP, what else can Zinc fans stay on the lookout for?
More of the same. I cant get enough of this sound. More colabs!