Interview With DJ Zinc

With Common People Southampton fast approaching its second year, we got the chance to have a chat with legendary DJ Zinc ahead of his performance with David Rodigan’s Ram Jam. Read the interview below:

Hi Zinc,

Your playing at Common People festival, what is your take on Rob da Bank and the Bestival family?

I really like what Robbie does, and I like him as a DJ as well. This is the first time that I will of played at Common People, but I’ve played at Bestival a few times, and it does live up to its name for me, it really is the best festival I think because they have always put the people first and the experience first rather than being commercial.

I like that, it’s better than having just the acts there, you’ve got that whole experience when you go, and that makes the event.

Yeah, I think a lot of the people that go there kind of make the atmosphere. The thing about a festival for me is the atmosphere, that’s what makes them so special, and when you go to some of the more commercial festivals the atmosphere is just commercial and people just got here to get ‘smashed’. They’re not terrible, but its just different thing, and I really do like the Bestival kind of vibe where people wear fancy dress. And, they have a lot of acts that are not necessarily EDM or dance music big-hitters, they have a lot of really interesting, strange stuff as well. Kind of like Glastonbury, but on a, I prefer the location and the size.

On a smaller scale…so for Common People you’re playing as a part of David Rodigan’s Ram Jam, is that something you prefer to do? Or do you prefer playing on your own? How does that compare to it?

I like Rodigan, I really admire him as an individual. I that he’s a very inspiring, the way that he’s been around so long, and stayed at the top of his game. He’s kinda done different, he’s taken on different roles, and done different stuff, but always good. I talk to him sometimes on email, he’s a really nice genuine bloke, and he’s just really really into music. So, it’s really nice to be working alongside him and its like a ‘nod’ that he’s asked me to do it and so I appreciate that he asked me to do it.

So, obviously he came to you and asked, is that how you go the gig at Common People? Or were you asked to play by Rob da Bank?

Rodigan. But, I like Robbie as well. You know Robbie has asked, I’ve played at Bestival for Rob quite a few times you know. I get on with Robbie and Rodigan.

I guess that’s always nice when you’re working with someone that you get on with them, and it makes the experience better for you as well.

Yes. Exactly.

Obviously you stopped with dnb in 2007ish, I just wondered for me personally, I wanted to ask you, was that a quick decision for you? Did you wake up one morning and thought I’m done with this, I wanna make something new or was it something you decided over bit of time?

What is was…I was into that music, drum & bass and jungle from really before it was, just from the very start, and what made that music originally very appealing to me was, firstly that it bought in a really mixed group of people, and that really suited me because where I grew up in Forrest Gate was very very mixed, so it was nice to go out raving with all different people, everyone just raving together. So that was pretty cool, that appealed to me. And, then the other thing that appealed to me was that all the people that made music were coming from different scenes and they had different musical backgrounds and so there would be tunes that had ragga samples, hip-hop samples and jazz samples and techno samples, all different stuff, and that was really cool. And, I liked the diversity within the music, and then it changed a few times: Ed Rush and Optical, like the late 90s, and I really like it. It was like these guys had come from a different sort of, you know, they bought a different sound and it was really cool. And then Pendulum came, they bought another sound and it was really cool. Then, for me, around about 2006 the music started being a bit more self-referencing, so pretty much every track I heard sounded like something I had already heard expect maybe just produced better, and so it just lost the interest and excitement for me so I looked for something the interested me. And excited me. So now I do the house tempo stuff with bass. That was really hard at first, but in the more recent times a lot more people are interested in house music with bassline. And that has made it much better. You know I’m able to make stuff at all different tempos and its kind of cool. So I’m focusing on the stuff that is house tempo with bass but then I’m making other bits and pieces, which is what kind of suits me.

I guess bass music has come back a lot, and has got really big. My Nu Leng has helped as well with that scene. They’re smashing it.

Exactly. They’re doing really well.

How do you feel about that drum & bass being produced now? Is it any different to when you stopped? What you ever consider going back to it?

There’s some stuff there that I find really interesting, but I don’t think I’d ever go back to just playing one style of music because I don’t know anywhere that plays it. I don’t know any clubs that play this music. Or anybody that makes it, and my agent is a really cool dude, and he said ‘Great. Let’s give it a go’.

How did you decide on that angle? When you started producing new and different music, did you decide on an angle?

What is was….I was interested in hearing house music that had basslines. I just couldn’t find any, and that was really the basic thing, so I just made it. I couldn’t find it, so I made it.

That’s really cool. Like I said, bass music is definitely on the rise. I really enjoy it personally. I think its one of the best types. So can expect anything new from this year? Are you going to premiere anything at Common People in terms of new music?

Yeah, whenever I play I always play new stuff. There is always new stuff that I’m working on that I play in clubs, so there will be some new music sure. I just had a track out featuring a bloke called Boyem and I’ve got a few other things that are in a similar frame, you know house music with bassline. That sort of thing. More of the same really, the stuff that I’ve been making recently I’m really into so I will just be doing more of the same.

Thank you very much for your time Zinc, I was really good to speak to you. And, I look forward to seeing you at Common People.

Alright thank you very much. I’ll see you there.

ZINC - Bans

Listen to the interview below:

Tobi Stidolph

Press Manager & inSYNC Writer


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