Jun 07, 2012

From piano to rock to EDM, Anton Zaslavski, aka Zedd, already has a rich musical background in his 22 years of existence. Fresh off booking a spot on Lady Gaga’s Asian tour, Zedd spoke with us at Coachella about his recent work with Porter Robinson and the sound behind Shotgun.

Zedd feat Matthew Koma - Spectrum (Extended Mix) [Interscope]
LessThan3: Have you seen a large change in American tastes toward electronic music?
Anton: Honestly no, because I just started DJing two years ago and that’s when things started blowing up. I started just at the right moment, so there was no change–just an explosion. It’s an amazing thing to be in the middle of.
LessThan3: What got you started with electronic music?
Anton: Justice. I was in a rock band back when Cross came out, and I was so inspired by it that I started making electronic music for fun. I made some songs and people really liked them, so I kept going with it, and here we are today.
LessThan3: Have you done anything else outside of music?
Anton: I’ve been in the music business since I was young; I started with piano, then I played in a rock band for nine years, so I’ve always been doing something musical. Electronic music is just the latest step.
LessThan3: We heard you’re going to be touring with Lady Gaga. Have you guys put your heads together about what you’ll be doing together?
Anton: I’ll be her opening act, simple as that. I’ve never played such a large crowd before, so it’s going to be crazy for me. Gaga says her fans are the best because they’re crazy and open to any kind of music, so I hope it will be a good fit.
LessThan3: How did you guys originally get connected?
Anton: It was an HTC/Beats By Dre event in London at the end of 2011. Jimmy Iovine from Interscope flew Gaga in for us to meet. Since I’d been doing some remixes from her, we though it would be good if we met and said hello, and it just went from there.
LessThan3: What kind of projects are you currently working on?
Anton: I’m putting the final touches on an album; it’s about 70% done. The music is there, it’s just about finding the right vocalists and making a few tweaks. I’m very excited to release something from it—I’ll probably put a few singles out in the next couple of months.
LessThan3: You had a track come out recently called Shotgun that has some obvious hardstyle influences. Do you hear 4/4 electro moving in a harder, faster direction? If not, where do you think it’s going?
Anton: There are always people who try to make a harder drop, a louder song, harder bass—it’s like a battle. Then there’s that one song that takes it to another level and they start to push that sound all over again. A lot of drops are getting less “musical” and more “high-energy.” It’s not a bad or a good thing, it’s just a fact. Electronic people like it most if it’s simple and in your face. Porter [Robinson] said it really well—“its almost impossible to make a drop melodic and high-energy at the same time.” It’s just about where you want to go in each track, and how much of a “dry-wet” mix there is between the music and the energy. I intentionally tried to make the drop on Shotgun the hardest and the simplest possible—I definitely didn’t make it for the radio. My album is the exact opposite—I wanted to make music on it. You can play it in the club, but my main focus was to create the best electronic music possible.
LessThan3: Are you and Porter working together currently?
Anton: He and I were in the studio for three days recently. We started a song without a beat–only the chords to begin with. We also sang on it! The buildup is great, the breakdown is gigantic, but then it comes to the drop and we still don’t quite have it yet. You want to push the envelope, but with Shotgun I went so far that it’s almost impossible to do something harder. People also expect a lot on a collab track between myself and Porter, so we’re still working hard on it.
LessThan3: With the huge amount of dance music being produced these days, how do you stay true to your own sound?
Anton: I make what I want to make, and I don’t think about what people want to hear. If I start to care about hearing people say “I want the old Zedd!” then I’m not myself—I become one of many. I always stay true to myself and do whatever I feel is right. That’s why the album will sound like what it does, and people will hopefully appreciate it and let it open their minds.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Anton: Tuna In The Brine by Silverchair.
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Anton: Emotional Shaving.
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