Rising artist ZEROS discusses his debut album “Space Noir”, and working with FEED ME

*written by Vix for Electronica Life

Rising artist Zeros’ debut album “Space Noir”, is one of the most promising debuts that I’ve had the pleasure of coming into contact with due to the diverse sounding music used from start to finish of the album. I can almost guarantee that his unique sound is one that will launch his growing career and definitely won’t go unnoticed in the world of Dance Music. His love for vintage Noir Films is portrayed throughout the entire album to take its listeners on a journey through these classic and artsy films that he expresses so vividly. I had a chance to catch up with Zero and discuss the new album.

Vix – Which Noir Films did you sample for the album?

Zeros – I’m actually doing an article which is going to be coming out on another blog, that I spent quite a bit of time doing because I’m a big film person; one of the biggest old Noir Films is a Stanley Kubrick film called “The Killing” and there’s something so comical about it! It catches a certain era of time like with the banter and the way they talk to each other. I also like “The Big Sleep” and more traditional Noir Films. Spanning into Neo-Noir, which in the 70’s they did “Chinatown” (a Roman Polanski film with Jack Nicholson), “Blade Runner” (which is obviously getting into Tech-Noir), and then “Hudsucker Proxy” which is a really good one (thematically is Noir). You can even talk about things more recent, like “Sin City” that’s obviously a huge throwback to Noir and even “Drive” was a bit of a Noir Film; I like “Drive” a lot!

Vix – What motivated you to use Noir Films as the concept for your album?

Zeros – Well I’m kind of really cheesed out by themes of Dance Music; it kind of cheats the audience, which I’m not trying to preach that what I’m doing is more intellectual. “Space Noir” is something that I came up with years ago just because I came from an art background so I’m very visceral in that sense. I like the way “Space Noir” sounded because it sounds almost antiquated; like something that’s been around. I noticed that Nero kind of had that Noir theme as well, with the hats and all that. That album they did “Welcome Reality”, was inspirational to me.

Vix – What are your top five favorite Noir Films?

Zeros – That’s actually what this article is about! I did a write up called “Zeros’ Guide to Progressive Noir”. I start from the 40’s, and I do one film per decade; that’s going to be coming out soon. Off the top of my head, I’m going to go with: “The Killing” (that’s like ’56), “Chinatown” (that’s like ’74 to ’76), then “Blade Runner” which is kind of a staple (everyone knows “Blade Runner”), “Electronic Sheep” is a good film, and then “Naked Lunch” which is a really good movie (it doesn’t make sense at all, but it’s not supposed to make sense), then I would say the “Hudsucker Proxy” which is a film that came out in the 90’s.

Vix – What experiences did you use as inspiration for your new album?

Zeros – Quite honestly, what I used as inspiration for the album was experiences like listening to albums, and that’s kind of what I wanted to focus on; like making a Dance collection of music. I brought up the Nero album, “Welcome Reality”, when I heard the singles they started releasing from it like “Innocence”, “Guilt”, and “Me & You”, I really didn’t like it, but when I heard the album, I was like, “Okay, this makes a lot more sense! I’m starting to realize the context and the way the tracks run into each other!” I like that experience that when you’re listening to an album it’s like they’re telling a story from start to finish, rather than a bunch of songs thrown in on a release. I tried to do that and work closely with the label, so I’m happy with the way it turned out. It’s definitely the largest single body of work that I’ve done, which is an accomplishment for me.

Vix – Which track off the album proved most challenging to make, and why?

Zeros – One of the tracks, “Red Panda” (Original Mix), was probably the one I spent far too long on because I had an original concept of what I wanted to do with it, and now I think I reached that concept, but working on it, it seemed like I was chasing something that was on the tip of my tongue, and it actually took John (Feed Me) to say “no, it’s good! Stop f*****g with it! Leave it alone!” That was really hard for me to do because there was something that I was looking for that, basically, I would have never found. I was in an obsession to keep taking this track further and further. I think I would have wound up spending another year just doing that track.

Vix – How do you think the release of your debut album, is going to change EDM?

Zeros – It is my debut release, so I’m not expecting it to be this huge, heavy hitter that’s going to change people’s perspective in EDM. The reason I tried to make it as diverse as possible, is that out of the gate, people aren’t going to expect the follow up to be four more “Red Pandas”, or something like that. It was more of a safety net for me because I enjoy doing a lot of music and I never really felt any cultural significance behind it. I lived in a suburban area, so the only way I heard Electronic Music was through the Internet, so it wasn’t anything cultural other than I liked writing music by myself. I hope, if it can, broaden people’s idea of what the Dance Music experience could be. I don’t listen to much Dance Music, which isn’t a good thing or a bad thing; it does great for more original stuff, but sometimes it could help if you’re able to comment on what’s happening in Dance Music at that time.

Vix – Was it hard to incorporate Soft Jazz in Electronic Music?

Zeros – I’m definitely influenced by Jazz! I like the crossover of Funk and Jazz and that’s something that I like to bring forth, especially because I’m a little older; I’m 25, so I’m not that old, but I like music that I can listen to anywhere. That’s also another big focus of the album, is that I wanted people to, no matter where they’re at, be able to enjoy it and not have to be in a club; you could be in your bedroom or working on homework. It was hard at first; that was actually a big part of my original M.O when I first started this project. Since I first came from Drum&Bass, I know how to do the bass design and the heavy stuff, but I was tired of it because it just became kind of a “pissing contest” after a while of who could make the craziest bass or the fattest drums. So what I wanted to do, was make more aggressive sounds and make them more palatable in a listener’s sense. I wanted to maintain the drive you get out of something that’s really heavy and intense, but without me making an “angry face” and making it feel more good. Using that together was pretty hard because it would often sway in too far in a direction of one or the other. It was fun to try and do that; it was just difficult to figure out how to fit it all together.

Vix – What programs, VST’s, and/or DAW’s did you use in the production process of your album?

Zeros – Well I use FL studio. I’ve used it for ages; not for any particular reason, other than it’s what I picked up first and it was available and cheap. Creatively, it spoke to me, and it’s a really easy software to use. I have a few piano libraries, one that I use, from Imperfect Samples (that I pretty much use all the time), is called “Fazioli Concert Grand” which is really nice! I like messing around with plug-ins all the time but I have a few Staples that I use like: the “Sonic” stuff (which I use quite a bit for EQ’ing and dynamic processing, WAV stuff, and I also try and use as many Native/FL stuff as possible (just for stability and CPU reasons).

Vix – Now that your album has been released, what’s next for you as an artist?

Zeros – The press stuff has been keeping me kind of busy. I just recently got off tour with John (Feed Me), and pretty much came back and had to do heavy promo stuff for the album. I just got offered a pretty big remix (which I’m really excited about) I just don’t know if I could really talk about it, but it’s in the works! I’ve been talking about doing something with John (Feed Me) in the near future, and I’ve been working on getting more shows (obviously ground level stuff) which is waving my arms around and getting as much attention as I can, and start working as a musician. I’m going to start working on some mixes, and I have some radio stuff coming up; then straight back to new music!

Vix – How was your experience touring with John (Feed Me) and the rest of the Sotto Voce family, on the “Psychedelic Journey” tour?

Zeros – It was no glamour there, because I knew John (Feed Me) already, so he’s a peer to me; I don’t really hold him up on anything. We’re more friends than anything. The tour was great though! Everyone on the bus (even crew) were really nice. No one really had a “diva attitude” or a crew/artist divide; it was just super fun and everyone was really nice and looked out for each other. I was really excited that I got to bring my keyboard and do more of a live thing and test run what would be more of MY live set.

Vix – While you were on tour, what kind of feedback did you get from your fans about your performance of the tracks off your new album?

Zeros – The general feedback I got was really positive! It would have been heartbreaking if something I spent a year working on got bad responses; that would’ve sucked!

Vix – Out of all the places you performed at during the tour, which places were you most excited to play at?

Zeros – Pretty much everywhere was really great! But the places that stood out the most were: Colorado (because I feel like the Colorado scene is really great), the Albuquerque show (because we did not expect it to go off like it did), Portland Oregon was f*****g amazing, and both of the Canadian shows were really great for me!

Vix – Finding your own sound that is unique to you and sets you apart from other artists is NO easy task. Do you have any advice on how upcoming producers (like myself) can find their own specific sound to help increase the amount of unique music being produced in today’s Dance Music?

Zeros – For me, a lot of it is not listening to that much dance music and finding other influences, even if you don’t enjoy something give it a shot; don’t shoot it down right away. Keeping an open mind is really important and to not have any political agenda to what you listen to. Keep an open mind about music and get inspiration from things you wouldn’t really find in Dance Music.

Vix – Can you tell me one thing that you never said in an interview before that you think people should know?

Zeros – Red pandas, which resemble raccoon’s, are about 42 inches long, including a long, bushy tail. They weigh between seven and 14 pounds. Their red-and-white markings blend in with the red mosses and white lichens that grow on the trees in which they live. Their soft, dense fur covers their entire body—even the soles of their feet. Red pandas use their long, bushy tails to balance when they’re in trees. They also cover themselves with their tails in winter.

Vix’s final words…

Chatting to Zeros was an experience that won’t soon be be forgotten for me, as he explained in full detail his ideas, concepts, and visions behind “Space Noir”, almost as if to paint a very clear picture of his much-anticipated debut release in my mind. Although being one of the most skilled producers of his time, he proves to be very humbled and honored about his success in EDM and undoubtedly, music in general. His debut album is a must-have in all music libraries, and one can only wait anxiously to hear what this music genius produces next.

Upon hearing that Zeros’ debut album, “Space Noir”, was conceived around the idea of vintage Noir Films, I had my doubts, but after listening to the album and recognizing the skill and precision used in every single track, I was left in absolute “AWE”. From the moment I pressed play, to the end of the 11th track, I felt as if I was a detective, working the wild but mysterious streets in a classic Noir setting, mixed with some modern day action scenes. Zeros has created a masterpiece of an album that you can listen to in every setting, and take you on a musical journey through the films he is most fond of. With groundbreaking hits such as: “Red Panda”, “Tibet”, and many more, he is promised to shake the earth to its core and change the idea of what the Dance Music experience can be!zeros-space-noir-feed-me-sotto-voce