On the back of his latest release, we delve into the mind of Ziz and ask a few questions.
You have just dropped your first solo release on Default. Two well worked tracks. Were these inspired from anything in particular?
Yes, last summer! I’ve recently moved to the Somerset countryside from Brighton. I used to commute to London every day, but now I work from home. Life is way more chilled and I got to enjoy the summer this year, I guess that manifested itself in my tunes. I’d spent a while working on my drums and getting dynamics into my mixes – it was all a bit boring, but necessary. Summer really influenced the tunes I was making.
You have released some great music on Default in the past under the guise of Naked Objects and also alongside Doc Logic. How do you find working solo? Is this something that works for you?
For quite a few years, Doc and I worked remotely, so working on my own wasn’t something new. When we make tunes we both do the bits we felt we were best at. Doc always smashes the emotion and musicality, so having no input from Doc forced me to improve those elements of my tracks. Working solo is cool cos there’s no compromises, but a spare pair of ears – especially the Doc’s ears! – is so valuable. I missed that but am happy with how this release turned out
When creating new tracks, is there a process that you go through starting with an idea in your head and seeing where it leads? Or do you take a approach of seeing where things lead?
I always start with the drums (kick and snare predominantly). I usually spend a few hours on getting those nailed – since the whole track is balanced against the drums, changing drums later on can force you to revisit the entire mix. I’ve done that countless times in the past, but I really try to nail them nowadays. After that i try to get a sub in – it might change later on – but the kick, snare and sub need to gel together. Pretty much everything else is about taste and vibe.
What influences you when making music?
What i’m listening to at the moment. I always hear a tune and think ‘wow, that is cool. It’s given me loads of ideas’.
Is there anything that inspires you when you make music?
There’s massive crossover between inspire & influence! Either it’s a sound i’ve heard somewhere, or a sample I find. But one of the biggest inspirations is getting new syths or samples.
Atmosphere: so versatile and an amazing sound
Air music – Loom: the random function is just astounding. I’d say 90% of the randomisations sound really good.
Waves rBass: if you bypass the plugin, it acts as a brickwall limiter. You can really drive the signal into it, craft the signal with an EQ and rBass will limit the signal very transparently.
FabFilter Pro q 2: lovely EQ with a low CPU cost, i use it on everything, always just before rBass in the signal path.
ERS DimD: great-sounding chorus
Soundtoys LittlePlate: sexy plate reverb, great for adding subtle depth to sounds. I’ll always have an FX buss with LittlePlate and a few other plugs which I can send stuff to to add depth and width. I find that really works.
Top 3 DnB tracks right now?
Oh man, just three!?!
Waiheke Wine Club by Foreign Concept
Plum Tain by Arkaik
Dungeon by Outsider
Top 3 favourite classics?
Sheez! Only three again!!!
Friday by Capone (Hardleaders). Gets me every time. Just love this one
Concentration by Mask and Gang Related (Dope Dragon)
Drop Bear by DJ Die
And lastly, any shouts and thanks?
Respect to Default for believing in me, awesome to be working with you guys.
Shout to my old friend, Wickaman for imparting the knowledge – it’s taken a while to rewire my producing approach, but it’s paying off.
Big ups to the Doc! Just built a new PC for him, it’s a beast. Looking forward to getting back on the beats with him in 2019.
Shout to my family. Kel for looking after the kids so I can make tunes, putting up with being a DnB widow sometimes and for supporting me. To my son, Sholto, who’s just started to figure out what dad’s doing on his computer. He really loves playing synths on the keyboard – the bigger and dirtier the better. I’m still working on his bass face, but he’ll get there soon enough. Who knows; maybe in a year or so he’ll be proficient on the buttons and co-producing with me. That would be cool!!!
The Island & Cruise Control are available now from all good download stores and streaming sites.