Zeds Dead Explains how Deadbeats Became a Reality and Why They Love Their Dads
Zeds Dead has a legion of hardcore and dedicated fans. What might surprise some people is that their biggest fans happen to be their fathers.
Wait. Say wha? Dads get down to EDM?
The duo consists of men known as Hooks and DC. Together, the guys have taken over the EDM scene by launching their very own label, Deadbeats. In addition to being in the driver's seat of their own destinies, the guys recently released their amazing debut album, Northern Lights while they wrapped up a successful headlining tour. Is it really a surprise why dads love them?
Before Hooks and DC would touch on their fathers fandom, the guys stressed that Zeds Dead has come a long way since playing shows in a basement. Hooks explained in an exclusive interview with iEDM.com, "We have been making music together since 2009. Before that, we had a group called Mass Productions that started around 2007. We've known each other longer than that as well." DC elaborated, "At the time we were booking shows that was about the music that we wanted to hear. Nobody really knew us. That meant no one wanted to hear us play electro or dubstep."
DC continued, "After that, opportunity came about on Wednesday nights at this place called 751. It was a small basement. With that, we would throw a free party and see what would happen. We would get some bass in there and show people the underground music we were into. The first party we had, not too many people were there." DC paused before letting out a smile. "The second party, a few more came out. Then it started to really get a buzz and it would be packed every week. We outgrew the venue," the DJ glowed.
Photo Credit: Chad Kamenshine
Putting in the hard work at the ground floor level would prove useful for Zeds Dead. The best friends picked up the fundamentals that would come in handy at a later point in their careers. Hooks explained to iEDM.com, "It was kind of like a training ground for us to practice DJing. It was also a place for us to kind of do our own thing and play exactly what we wanted."
By sticking true to their core values, Zeds Dead picked up serious momentum. Hooks continued, "It was a thing of the moment. Before you knew it, there were lines around the block. It was a good place to hone our skills and also get the feeling of playing in front of crowds. When we moved to a new venue, we had a lot of amazing artists come through." DC chimed in, "From doing a weekly party, it helped us create a momentum and make 'the party' happen."
The guys soon took the party to a whole new level. With the creation of Deadbeats, Zeds Dead had every reason to celebrate good times. When asked why they decided to create the label, DC told iEDM.com, "We were planning on doing a record label for awhile. We were kind of trying to find the right time. We were already working on our album for awhile too. We always wanted to do both. It was just about finding the right time." The guys captured lightning in a bottle. Every creative type wanted to get in on the action.
DC stated, "The label has expanded and pushed forward the Zeds Dead world to focus on things that we kind of hinted at along the way. It kind of makes people get more into the music that we like and the artists that we put on. It's about timing. It was just the right year."
Northern Lights saw a wide variety of artists step up to the plate to lend Zeds Dead a helping hand. Hooks described the creative process of putting the album together as unique. He told iEDM.com, "Everything came about differently with the album. Some of the artists we personally reached out to, while with others--we would get recommendations that were dope. Some of the people we got in the studio with. Some of the people we sent beats to and they wrote to it. It was all very different." One of the biggest surprises on Northern Lights was an appearance by the legendary Weezer frontman, Rivers Cuomo.
Hooks explained how Cuomo joined the project. "With Rivers, we went over to his place and he was really nice. We played him some beats. We are big fans of Weezer," he gushed. Hooks continued, "We were trying to create an 'Island In The Sun' kind of vibe. He came back with the chorus for 'Too Young.' After that, someone suggested Pusha T. With regards to rap, to work with Pusha T--it was really amazing because we are big hip-hop heads." The collaboration turned out to be a true match made in heaven.
Established veterans in the music industry weren't the only ones Zeds Dead had their eyes on. The DJs were keen on giving an emerging artist a shot. Enter Nebbra. Hooks told iEDM.com, "There was a crew of people that we always had in mind and wanted to support. Nebbra is a cool dude. He was on our Northern Lights bus tour. It was his first time really seeing North America. He was straight out of Paris. He just jumped on a bus to Dallas." Hooks slowly nodded his head, "Super cool kid. He is a great guy and the right fit for the label. The dude is creatively driven. He's one to watch out for."
Photo Credit: Josh Brasted/WireImage
Fans have also been carefully watching Zeds Dead's fathers. The dads have become superstars of the EDM scene in their own right. DC explained how the overnight phenomenon started. "My dad comes to the show and he goes into the crowd and watches. I don't think we really look alike but people in the crowd always go up to him and say weird things to him. Things like, 'Thank you for fathering your son' and 'Thank you for having sex,'" he laughed while describing the outrageous lines to iEDM.com.
As for the father of Hooks? "He's never had that kind of attention. Now, when he's at the show, everyone will talk to him. He's become so popular," Hooks grinned. He continued in disbelief, "I think he loves coming to the shows almost more than the kids that come out. Whenever the show is in Toronto, he has a bigger guest list than I do. He will always bring at least thirty people. I've seen our dads rock out in the corner and shit. It's always awesome to see the old-timers get down like that."
Zeds Dead's fathers are bridging the generation gap on the electronic scene and bringing people closer together like never before. The guys love them for it. DC said, "I think electronic music in general gets looked at in a certain way. But I really do think times are changing."
Before departing, Zeds Dead wanted to send their fans some love. Hooks said, "A big thanks to all of our fans. We have a lot of top talent coming up on our label, Deadbeats. We are going to take time off to focus on our creativity. After that, we are going to hit the road again." DC concluded, "We appreciate our fans' dedication. And our fathers' too, of course."