Green Room -- Zedd
Meet your X Games MUSIC Barcelona headliner. Anton Zaslavski -- better known by his stage name, Zedd -- is a Russian-German electronic-dance-music (EDM) producer and DJ. The son of two musicians, he comes from an extensive performing-arts background, yet he's still relatively new to the EDM world.
Zedd first started turning heads in 2010 after winning two notable Beatport remix contests (Armand Van Helden's "Witch Doktor" and Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice") and shortly thereafter broke into the popular online music store's electro-house top 20 chart with his first original release, "The Anthem."
Fast-forward three years and Zedd's established a substantial catalog of hit remixes, multiple chart-topping singles and even a solo album, "Clarity," released in Oct. 2012. Not to mention "Beauty and a Beat," a song he produced for none other than Justin Bieber.
XGames.com recently chatted with Zedd about playing X Games Barcelona, what he'd do if it weren't for music, his take on the scene going forward and what helps when the creative juices just aren't flowing.
The first three songs of Zedd's X Games MUSIC Barcelona set will be webcast live on XGames.com, beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.
XGames.com: You're headlining the X Games MUSIC Barcelona showcase on May 18. Have you ever been to Barcelona before?
Zedd: I've been to Barcelona a lot of times. When I was a kid I used to go to Spain every summer for vacation! I love it here!
Have you ever been to an X Games before?
Never been to the X Games, so I'm very excited to see it.
Your tour schedule is pretty jam-packed; where is your favorite place you've ever played and why?
I don't have a favorite place. I love playing in New York and Los Angeles, but I recently played in the Philippines and it for sure was one of my favorite places I've ever been to.
If you suddenly lost all of your hearing and were forced to do something besides music, what would it be?
I'd sell Bugattis.
Your last studio album, "Clarity," came out eight months ago. Are there plans for another release in the works?
Yes, I've been working very hard on a follow-up and it's shaping up incredibly. Still a very long way to go, but it's an exciting process.
You're stranded on a desert island with nothing but a Discman and one CD you burned for yourself: What's on it?
[EDM artist Avicii's single] "Levels."
Your performance on "The Late Show with David Letterman" earlier this year proves that DJs can be musicians and not just button-pushers. What is your take on the outlook for electronic music going forward?
I think electronic music needs to become more and more musical. There are a few very musical artists in the scene -- still, the majority of it isn't quite there yet. The sonic quality of electronic music I think has raised rapidly in the last couple of years, though.
There are a lot of remixes in your catalog. How do you decide which songs you're going to remix? Which one was your favorite to do?
I have been remixing a lot in the beginning of my career. I think it's a great way to get better as an artist, learn and get exposure. Now I'm at the point where I don't really do remixes anymore. It took me [a year and a half] to find a song that I really wanted to remix, and that was "Alive" by "Empire of the Sun." It just caught my heart and I thought it was really emotional, so I had to remix it.
With recent developments in software, a lot of producers have been ditching their hardware synths, drum machines and mixers for computers. Can you tell us a little bit about your setup and workflow?
Since I'm touring nonstop, my setup is all software. I have a laptop with Cubase 7 and all soft-synths and plug-ins. I do have a Korg SV-1 keyboard that I compose on and record [with] sometimes in my studio in L.A.
When you experience writer's block, do you have any particular methods to inspire yourself and get the creative juices going again?
Writer's block is something every artist has to experience at some point and I don't really have a method, unfortunately. The only thing I always tell myself when I'm currently not experiencing writer's block and when I come up with amazing music is that I will never stop being able to make great music. That's the only thing that I always have to keep in the back of my mind when that happens.
Are there any producers out there that you currently can't get enough of?
There's a lot of amazing producers right now, but I'm more looking for musicians/singers. I've just discovered an absolutely incredible singer that I've signed to my label who will be the next big thing! We've worked on a couple songs together, so soon I'll reveal who that is!