After subverting expectations with previous EPs ‘Fear of Noise’ and ‘Bats’, DJ ZigZag is back again to infuse his own touch into the world of Hard Techno with latest EP ‘Make Me A Vampire‘. The producer uses his skillset, learned from experimenting with genres such as House, Breakbeat, and Acid Techno, as well as his extensive knowledge on ‘B movies’ to create this cinematic and exhilarating 4 track project. Listeners can expect swirling fx, grimy synths and a number of truly hard hitting Techno beats working alongside ‘horror-ific’ vocal samples from the “living dead”. Stimulating to the max, ‘Make Me A Vampire‘ is certainly one to enjoy with friends this summer, well into the fall, and all year round!
Prague based DJ ZigZag is an innovative Dance producer on a mission to break boundaries and infuse a sense of fun into each of his releases. From his childhood days tinkering with a tape recorder equipped with a vocoder, DJ ZigZag’s love for experimentation and sonic exploration was evident. Discovering House music at a party as a 16 year old led him to make a resolute decision to become a DJ himself, adopting the name DJ ZigZag—an ode to a captivating light effect he encountered at a local club. After booking his first gig in 2001 he began to organise his own events, and soon, his musical endeavors expanded beyond his hometown. He found himself playing at renowned clubs across Prague and the Czech Republic, including Abaton, Atelier, Fle
Undeterred, he began studying sound engineering for film at a university, contributing to numerous projects, including short films, commercials, TV series, and the internationally acclaimed underground graffiti documentary ‘Girl Power’ in 2016. Feeling the urge to fully immerse himself in his true calling, DJing and music production, DJ ZigZag recommitted himself to the craft and relocated to Berlin in 2018 to pursue electronic music production at the Catalyst Institute for Creative Arts and Technology. With his newfound expertise, DJ ZigZag released his first two EPs on his own label, Unfizzy Recordings. Now, DJ ZigZag is preparing for the release of his forthcoming EP, ‘Make Me A Vampire‘, which takes hard techno into a more melodic realm. DJ ZigZag’s artistic journey is characterised by an unwavering dedication to pushing boundaries, experimenting with sounds, and defying genre limitations. To jump on board his journey, fans can follow him via the socials below!
Make Me A Vampire | Released June 20th
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EXCLUSIVE ARTIST INTERVIEW
The latest release from DJ ZigZag, “Make Me a Vampire”, is an attempt to make hard techno in a fresh and fun way. There is a big focus on melodies and scales, while still maintaining the hard-hitting electronic beats and distorted sounds. DJ ZigZag takes the listener on a ride through his diverse sound full of punchy kicks, complexTB-303 patterns and samples from old B movies, which already became a part of his signature sound. Inspired by labels such as Hydraulix and Traffic Records, as well as Drumcode or Phobiq, he combines the harshness of the first with the melodies and grooves of the latter.
My name is Peter, I come from Prague, Czechia and I have been a DJ for over 20 years. My production career started later, just a few years ago, in 2019. My latest EP “Make Me a Vampire” is an attempt to create hard techno in a slightly more melodic and fun way, then what is common these days. I`m a fan of hard techno, but I think that the genre stagnates. Everyone is doing dark stuff, so I wanted to make something slightly more fun.
Explain what musical genre fits you best
It’s mostly techno and hard techno at the moment. But I produce music of different genres – tech house, melodic techno, breakbeat and even ambient and trip hop. I`m a music lover and the musical genres are not important for me. Even “Make Me a Vampire” is not only pure techno, there is a trip-hop track as an outro.
Were you connected with music from a young age and did anyone inspire you?
I have always been fascinated by sounds and music. I remember that my favourite childhood toy was a tape recorder with a built-in vocoder. I used to record different sounds with a microphone, then process the with the vocoder, excited to hear, what was going to come out of it. My parents were also music lovers, but they were more into The Beatles or Rolling Stones, whereas I always gravitated towards the more psychedelic sound of Led Zeppelin or The Doors. As a teenager I discovered The Prodigy and house music, and that was the point when everything changed for me. I decided that if I’m going to make music, it’s going to be electronic music.
What kickstarted your music career?
I would say it was just pure love for electronic music. From the very first moment I heard it, I thought this was something very fascinating and close to my heart.
Tell us more about your sound and how it’s evolved over time
I have only released 3 EPs so far. When I was making the tracks for “Bats”, I was still only a few months into producing music and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I originally wanted to create breakbeat but because of different happy accidents, it ended up being rather deep house / UK garage / electro. However, I liked the end result, so I decided to release it. After a few more months of learning, I started to be able to achieve the sound, which I wanted. That was, when I made my second EP “Fear of Noise”, which was an attempt to combine breakbeat with the elements of electronic body music. Lately I got more into producing techno and “Make Me a Vampire” is an attempt to make hard techno in a fresh and fun way, in contrast to the most of modern hard techno, which tends to be very dark.
Any words you want to share to encourage other artists or producers?
If you are just starting out with production, don’t be put off by the complexity of the modern DAWs and plugins. It takes some time to learn the craft and it can feel very overwhelming at the start. Learn from experienced music producers, but don`t copy their sound. Tutorials are an excellent learning tool, but always try to add your own touch to the music.
How do you nurture your industry relationships?
I’m trying to be helpful and provide value to others. I always give honest constructive feedback to fellow music producers; I also help people to prepare events. It’s my general philosophy in life that the more value I provide to others, the more I get back of it and it’s beneficial for everyone.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank that’s been crucial to your journey?
My studies at the Catalyst Institute for Creative Arts and Technology in Berlin helped me a lot. Before I started my studies, I was struggling to finish a single track and I thought I would never be able to release an album or even just an EP. Our tutors always led us towards developing our unique sound, which was very beneficial.
Music is….. (explain more)
Music is something truly magical, that we as humans have. From a physical point of view, music is just vibrations of the air. But these vibrations can trigger so many different and strong emotions, that it makes millions of people gather in one place in order to share those emotions. Music is a very important part of my life and personally, I can’t imagine my life without it.
One song you really couldn’t live without and why?
This is a hard one, but I’m going to say “At Home In Space” from Fila Brazillia, just because of how it makes me feel. It`s such a genius mixture of trip-hop, funk and weird psychedelic sounds, which makes it truly special.
Name 3 songs you love and what they mean to you
Leftfield – Song of Life
I think this is simply one of the best electronic records ever made. The whole “Leftism” album is amazing, but Song of Life in particular is genius in how it turns from ambient to techno in the middle.
The Chemical Brothers – Out Of Control
The album “Surrender” was released, when I was in my teenage years and I was just exploring electronic music, so I feel a little bit nostalgic about it. But even when I listen to “Out of Control” now, I feel something very special about it. I’m not a fan of using vocals in electronic music, but this is one of the rare cases where the vocal works really well.
Messer Chups – Difficult Love
Messer Chups influenced me lot. I was inspired by their aesthetics, mood of their music and also the way they were using samples from old movies in their early records. They inspired me, but I don`t copy them. I make a totally different genre of music and I sample from a different kind of movies.
What’s your favourite piece of studio equipment or software?
In terms of software, it’s definitely Ableton Live. It completely changed the way I make music. I tried to use Cubase and Logic Pro X before, but I was struggling to write music in the linear, “left to right” manner. It’s Ableton’s session view and the possibility to “jam”, which I love so much about it.
I also like to work with hardware a lot. Pushing and twiddling knobs inspires me much more than moving blocks on the screen of my computer. One of my favourite pieces of hardware is Native Instruments Machine, which I use for creating my beats. At the moment I’m just falling in love with Elektron`s Octatrack. It took me some time to start to understand it, but once you get it, it`s a very inspiring instrument. I will probably start using it for my production more and more in the future.
Name your favourite club or festival and how it makes you feel
My favourite club is definitely Berghain in Berlin. It’s not just a club, it’s a temple of techno and a meeting point of very open-minded people. The atmosphere inside is purely magical. It’s hard to describe. I recommend everyone to visit Berghain at least once.
Name an outlandish rider request?
I remember, that while I was working at the Creamfiels festival a few years ago, the promoter was furious about some of the artist requiring different kinds of seafood, which was very expensive and difficult to get. Personally, I don`t really understand requests like that, even though I`m a seafood lover.
Favourite clubbing memory and who or what did it involve?
One which comes to my mind is when I got into Berghain for the first time. For those of you who don’t know, it’s not so easy to get in there. There are always very long queues, and when you get to the entrance, there is a bouncer, who gives you a few questions. Based on your answers and behaviour, he decides, if he`s going to let you in or not. When I got in for the first time, I remember seeing all these people in crazy latex costumes and at that point I realised: OK, I start to understand why the door policy is so strict here. But the atmosphere inside was just so special. Everyone was very friendly, the music was excellent, people were having a great time. I was inside for more than 12 hours and I didn`t take any drugs. I remember when I was walking home, I felt full of energy and I was thinking: “Wow. It’s amazing that a place, where people are so open minded and tolerant exists.”
What famous quote represents you best?
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” Benjamin Franklin
If you could play at any venue, where would it be and why?
If I could play at any venue, it would definitely be Berghain. It’s probably not very realistic, but who knows. It would be awesome.
Namedrop your favourite 5 artists or DJs (past or present)
Kink, Jeff Mills, D.A.V.E. the Drummer, Meat Katie, Dub Fx
What was your first music memory and how did it fuel your fire?
My very first musical memory is, when my parents were listening to the records of The Beatles and I used to dance to the music. I’m not sure if this fuelled anything, because I was around 4-5 years old, but I remember, that I enjoyed listening and dancing to music even as a small child.
Tell us more about your plans for the future
I’m planning to release at least one more EP this year and I’m preparing a live show. I want to perform with no computer on stage, just with Octatracks, a theremin and some effects, and I would like it to be visually interesting. Even though electronic dance music has been here for a couple of decades, I think that not many artists managed to play it live in an exciting and interesting way. Especially if I compare it to rock concerts for example. So that’s an area I want to focus on.
Any worldly advice you’d like to share?
When I look around, I can see many people, who have an amazing potential, but they are not going after their goals. They are afraid, or they just think, that it`s not realistic. So I want to say to these people: Have a mission, think big and go for it! Even if you don’t succeed, it’s better then to regret later.
Make Me A Vampire | OUT NOW
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