Toronto duo Zeds Dead are riding the dubstep wave to sold-out shows, a summer of festival appearances including Lollaplooza and Coachella, and chart-topping tracks on influential dance chart Beatport. But Zach Rapp-Rovan and Dylan Mamid haven't forgotten how they got their start.
"We started off throwing free parties and it’s always a great vibe," Rapp-Rovan tells Rolling Stone. "I think they should be doing them everywhere, free parties are great as long as there’s good security and people don’t get hurt or something."
Getting back to those roots, Zeds Dead headlined the Mad Decent Block Party yesterday, a free show at L.A. Center Studios that required only an RSVP for entry. During their hour-long closing set, the pair took the opportunity to preview some new material, of which they have a lot coming.
"We’re working on some remixes as well as upcoming EPs and still working on stuff for our upcoming album, which will be out at some point," Rabb-Rovan says. "We’re just in the lab all the time."
Among the upcoming remixes is a Marina and the Diamonds track. That's a good starting point for their future endeavors as they are looking at working with a many different types of vocalists. "We also want to start collaborating with a lot more songwriters, rappers and singers and stuff," Mamid says. "So we have a lot of stuff set aside for that."
They don't want to jinx any possible partnerships, but being a part of EDM movement brings opportunities galore. "People, especially in the hip-hop world, really are interested in the EDM world and want to be involved in some way, whether it be because they actually like it or because their fan base knows it," Mamid says. "EDM’s really taken over right now, a lot of people want to integrate that into their sound."
For the two, who started off in hip-hop, this means they have the chance to go back and potentially work with some of the top names in that field. "I feel that for sure, it seems tangible to work with some people you never would’ve thought you’d be able to before," Mamid says.
They're also dabbling in hip-hop in their own work, as a response to writing on tour. "Sometimes when you’re on the road, you end up writing stuff that’s very catered to the dance floor," Rabb-Rovan says. "But also, after a while, you’re on the road for long enough it goes reverse and you start making chill stuff, which is what we found on our last bus tour. By the end, we were just making like chill hip-hop stuff."
Zeds Dead hope to release the new EP in the fall, and then an album sometime after that. The full album will be the chance for them to show off the chill beats along with the hard-edged dubstep sound their fans have come to know.
"I think absolutely, if and when we do an album, it’s gonna be a lot of mix and even more just completely a listening experience where you’re not gonna find a lot of dancefloor bangers on it," Mamid says.
DJing on a nightly basis, Rabb-Rovan says, "is very [much] like psychology, study of what makes people react." What they're seeing are fans eager for a mix of tempos. "I still love the hard shit, but I think there’s a bit of people stepping back from how dubstep’s been getting extremely hard," he says.