THE GROWTH OF EDM
By Simon Weedn
As 2013 draws to a close, it’s apparent that electronic dance music has continued its meteoric rise throughout the year, making it harder and harder for its detractors to deny that the genre is more than just a passing trend. Perhaps the most significant sign of this is that the genre is beginning to attract an array of artists and musicians who were previously working with other types of music, and are now beginning to refocus the gaze on Electronic Dance Music (EDM), bringing flavors and influences from previous styles to the burgeoning genre.
Few artists exemplify this growing fusion of styles and influences like Canadian EDM duo, Zeds Dead. The group, made up of producers Dylan “DC” Mamid and Zach “Hooks” Rapp-Rovan, initially developed its talents with hip-hop production before discovering a love for various EDM sub-genres and deciding to try its hand at electronic music production. Though Zeds Dead has only been around for just under five years, the group has developed a large following and a growing reputation for having one of the most unique and diverse sounds in the scene.
While many electronic groups have found themselves married to the ever popular variety of dubstep, which revolves solely around energy build ups and so-called “drops,” Zeds Dead’s sound varies heavily from this formula. The group, instead, takes a variety of tones and textures associated with dubstep and blends them with more minimalist early-era drum and bass, hip-hop inspired beats and phrasing, adding in hints and splashes of other house and electro, rave styles. When asked how Zeds Dead arrived at such a distinct, highly varied sound, Hooks comments, “Well, it’s mostly from having an open mind to listen to different things.” He explains further, “I do graffiti and I would go over to some of my homey’s places and draw and they would have on Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada, or drum and bass like Calyx & Teebee, and I listened to that and it just seeped into my production. I wanted to make cool stuff with different noises/textures and learn to do that, because predominantly before I would just work with samples and rare records and cut them.”
Though Zeds Dead has yet to release a full-length record, it has found a great deal of success with individual song releases on its Soundcloud page as well as a pair of digital-only EP releases, Hot Sauce and Adrenaline. The group does seem to be aiming at a potential album release sometime in the future when the time is right, and it develops its ideal material for it. For the moment though, the pair seems to be content with their current release methods. “We are working on an album, we have been for sometime,” says Hooks. “But we keep putting stuff off and we keep putting out tracks that would have been on it and making new things instead. So I have no idea when the album will come out, but we’re going to keep releasing music constantly because we have a lot of stuff.” However it should be said that whenever it is that a Zeds Dead album should come to pass, its audience will have a lot to be looking forward to. “We’d like it to function as something you can play through the entire way, something that will really take you on a journey, like The Dark Side Of The Moon and things like that,” Hooks explains.
Though an album might be a bit far off still, Zeds Dead fans have a lot to be excited for wit it’s much-anticipated performance at the Fox Theater in Pomona. The tour will see the group appearing at some of the biggest non-festival venues it has played so far. Additionally, like many large EDM acts, Zeds Dead will be trucking around an extensive visual/lights show with it to delight its audiences as well. “We have these three diamonds that have LED’s inside them that light up and do this infinity mirror thing that looks like it goes on forever, which is really cool and trippy,” says Hooks. “We’ll also have a custom DJ booth that has a big video wall on it.”
While many may see the close of the year as a natural end of a cycle, for Zeds Dead, it only seems to represent more new beginnings and opportunities for continued growth. Most certainly it’s a group that even people who are generally not EDM fans should be paying attention to and keeping an ear out for; its ever-changing sound is too interesting and unique not to be checked out.
Zeds Dead w/ Destructo, Cory Enemy at Fox Pomona, S. Garey Ave., Pomona, (877) 283-6976; www.foxpomona.com. Sat, Dec. 26. 9pm. $23.50-$45.