Q & A: Hooks from Zeds Dead Talks Pulp Fiction, Defining Dubstep and Playing Dallas for the First Time.
Hailing from Toronto, Zeds Dead is a hip dubstep duo who has been sampling and remixing singles under various guises since 2004. The band's most recent EP, Rumble in the Jungle, came out last month on the seminal Mad Decent label and features a variety of electronic styles and bass-heavy, tribal beats.
Songs like "Undah Ya Skirt" (featuring a nice sample from Jamaican Dancehall superstar Mavado) and the titillating title cut make the EP a must for serious dubstep fanatics. Showing lightheartedness uncommon to the genre, Zeds Dead mesh the optimism of classic reggae into the band's dense, electronic stew.
Going by the stage names Hooks and DC, the pair is coming to Dallas for the first time this evening. Speaking from some anonymous location on tour and in support of this evening's performance at Trees, Hooks spoke to DC-9 about being inspired by the film Pulp Fiction and always trying to find the most original beats.
Do you know of any other bands that are named after a line in Pulp Fiction? And why change the name from Mass Productions?
Just Yolanda Be Cool. Initially we wanted to have two aliases for different purposes, Mass Productions was the hip-hop one and Zeds Dead was the electronica one. Eventually it all just became Zeds Dead because it was taking off and the other one wasn't. Also Zeds Dead just sounds more like a band that someone would tell their friends about.
Do people who do not know the reference to the film ask you who is Zed and who killed him?
No, but people love to ask us "Who's Zed?" hoping we'll say "Zed's Dead Baby"
Are Canadians friendlier than Americans?
No, I wouldn't say that. I hardly see much of a distinction to be honest.
How do you define dubstep?
It's becoming more and more difficult to describe these days because there's so much variety in the genre. If you took two songs from different ends of the dubstep spectrum you would be confused to how they are called the same thing. That being said, when I first started listening, it was usually a slow head nod rhythm with lots of sub frequencies and often a wobbly synth sound. It sounded a lot like dub reggae and was usually fairly dark. These days it's moved into a more noisy direction usually characterized by a pop melody often with vocals that build to a crescendo and drop into a frenzy of distorted bass sounds.
How did you come up with stage names DC and Hooks?
DC stands for Dusty Crates in reference to the heavy vinyl sampling he used to do. Hooks was just Captain Hooks. I just thought it was a cool name.
Will Omar LinX be on the next EP? How did you hook up with Omar?
We're currently working on a project with Omar that mixes rap and dubstep. We've been working with Omar since we used to only make hip-hop, and he's been very open to trying out new directions with electronic stuff. As well as having powerful lyrics, I always felt that he had a great voice for it and just sounds good on our beats.
How did you get Mavado to sing on "Undah Ya Skirt"?
We didn't. We sampled a song of his and then got permission to put it out. It's just got this rugged vibe that I wanted to bring into our set.
Have you played Texas before? Dallas? What do you think of the place?
Texas has been amazing so far. We've played in Austin a few times, San Marcos and Houston, and the crowds were all crazy as hell. We've never played Dallas yet but have high expectations given the quality of our other Texas shows.
How cool is it to be on the Mad Decent record label?
We're really glad to be a part of it. They have a great variety of music and we think it totally suits us because our stuff is pretty eclectic. Our last EP Rumble in the Jungle was definitely at home on that label.
Have you ever felt a rumble in the jungle?
Only in the urban jungle.
Zeds Dead performs with Bass Science tonight, November 15, at Trees.