DJ Zinc is a legendary artist within the electronic music community, and his veteran status comes as no surprise considering his years in jungle, drum and bass, and now house.
We recently sat down to discuss what it is like to change styles mid-career, and what is means to make it in music today!
Check out our exclusive playlist with him, as well as our interview below.
Hey DJ Zinc, thanks for taking the time to talk to us! You've stepped into the world of house music and strayed from the styles people used to know you for. What prompted the change?
Yo! You're welcome. Something that I'd loved about jungle/dnb was that it always included elements from all over the place (jazz, reggae, techno, hip hop), but around 2005/2006 I felt that a lot of what I was hearing was pretty derivative, so I lost interest. I decided to do a tour where I’d play house, breaks, dubstep and dnb. At the time I didn't know of any DJs that were doing mixed sets like that, and it was quite a struggle to get people to dance to music they weren't specifically interested in. In those days people were much more into one sound only. So when the tour was approaching I went on Beatport and the other stores and couldn't find any house I liked, so I decided I'd make it. I stopped making or playing dnb in 2008 and have mainly made and played house tempo music since.
There's probably a lot of internal back and forth when making stylistic changes in the music world, especially once you become well known in one electronic circle. What can fans and listeners do better to provide comfort towards the artist when artists make a change like this?
It’s tricky to switch the style of music you play and make, and often people support you in one scene, then you bugger off. Understandably fans can be disappointed, but I guess they can try to stay open minded, and if they don't like the direction the artist has taken, then they can look for something they do like!
Did this feel like a natural transition, or were there a lot of things you had to relearn about production and dj-ing? What were the major challenges you felt when you stepped into house?
Completely natural. I didn't change the way I DJ’d: I still often work with MCs and mix just how I used to. In terms of production, mixdowns are different as the kick drum plays a different part in house but that too was just kinda natural.
What advice would you give to those young artists out there that are looking to get into the music game?
I think the best thing I worked out was just to make the music I wanted to hear. I'm sure there are thousands of producers who make what they think will be popular and have wonderful careers - but I'd hate to work on anything that i wasn't personally vibing off. Also - you need to make your music available for people to hear - so many people say to me “can I have your email, I’ll send you a private link to my song”. I'm happy to give them my email, but why have they got their music private? What are they worried about, that someone might hear their track and not like it? I think that what people should worry about much more is nobody hearing their track!
Finally, what can we expect from you for the rest of 2017?
DJ gigs all over the place, and loads of new tracks - a new release on Armada then an EP on my label with collabs with Lorenzo, Jack Beats, MJ Cole, My Nu Leng, Holy Goof, Shift Key any maybe one other. Loads of new music!