Why Zedd Dislikes The Phrase “EDM”
Who: Anton Zaslavski aka Zedd
What: The M in EDM
Where: Kaiserslautern, Germany
Anton Zaslavski, better known by his DJ alias Zedd, is no stranger to the music world growing up in Germany with two musician parents. By age four, he’d began playing the piano and drums and receiving training in classical music. “I played classical music until I was 12 years old and realized it wasn’t as cool,” says Zaslavski. “Then I joined a rock metal band and played the drums with them for almost 10 years.” He played in Dioramic, signed by Lifeforce Records, even once he began his electronic music producing career in 2009. “Once I started touring as a DJ I flew back to Germany to make another album with the band, but it just didn’t make sense for me to stay in the band if I was always away,” Anton says. With hardly any accent, you could barely tell he’s only been touring the States for a year.
Zedd’s interest in electronic music came from hearing Justice’s “Cross” which made him want to produce electronic music and incorporate it with his band. “I knew Daft Punk and Justice but that’s it,” he says. “I really just did it for fun. Then one day I sent Skrillex a remix and next thing you know he brings me on tour and my life is changed.” Anton went from playing a show with his band once or twice a week to DJing for three months straight after releasing songs on Dim Mak Records and OWSLA (Skrillex’s label). “I do miss my family and friends from home but you kind of get used to it,” says Zedd adding that when he does get a break he goes straight to the studio.
Though he has a studio in his parents basement the real home for this 23 year-old songwriter/producer has been at Interscope Records in Los Angeles. “Even though I wrote my first song for Clarity almost two years ago most of my music for the album was made here [at Interscope],” Zedd explains. Though he is most known for an electro house sound, Clarity has proven his musical talents by incorporating lots of complicated melodies and collaborations with artist like Ellie Goulding and Ryan Tedder of One Republic. “For my album I had a vision to make something that is timeless and you can listen to 20 years from now.”
The album, released on October 2nd, is a cohesive debut which not only appeals to the EDM crowd but a wider range of listeners. Perhaps those fans he gained while on the “Born This Way Ball” tour with Lady Gaga. “I just did whatever I think is right because who knows what the club culture will be like in a year or two,” Anton says. In a time where a lot of electro and dubstep sounds the same, he’s proven that EDM can be unique and complex with an interesting array of arrangements and vocals. It’s no wonder it went number one on the iTunes dance charts knocking off Deadmau5, Skrillex and David Guetta in just one day. The album also made it to the number six spot on iTunes’ overall album charts next to bands like Mumford and Sons and Muse.
“I don’t really like the word EDM,” says Zedd who has also shared with his fans via twitter that Clarity is all about the “M” in EDM. “There are a lot of people that would like this music even if they don’t know EDM so why not expose it to them as well,” he says. Zedd is bridging that gap between underground and mainstream hits like the David Guetta’s and Tiesto’s of the dance music scene at an early point in his career. Yet we don’t think it’s selling out by any means, but more the natural progression of the state of the dance music today. “They don’t know the underground hit songs and it’s my job to educate them once I’ve reeled them in,” says Anton. Clarity also proves that dance music is not always about the drops, but about creating something that can sound beautiful as well.