ZEKE BEATS Drops "Humanoid 2.0" In An Exclusive Interview
It's New Music Friday, and iEDM is ready to let our fans know what they need to be listening to today.
ZEKE BEATS and Eprom are bringing the fire with "Humanoid 2.0" that just dropped. It's a track that fans have been waiting for, and it is out of this world. If you can believe it, the duo came up with the record while eating a casual breakfast together. "Humanoid 2.0" is truly the bass release of the summer. We're not playing.
The Australian superstar is on the move, as he recently announced he will be joining Space Jesus on a wild tour before joining Minnesota for another. As ZEKE BEATS wrapped up his latest North American tour, iEDM had the chance to speak with him about his friendship with Eprom, and his surprising beginnings in an exclusive interview.
iEDM: Zeke! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. What was your experience playing at EDC this year? I've covered a lot of festivals throughout the years. EDC was next level for me.
ZEKE BEATS: It's been absolutely insane! EDC is easily the biggest and one of the most prestigious festivals I've ever performed at. The production that goes on here is really something else!
iEDM: You and me both. I still can't get over the insanity that happened at the festival.
iEDM: Just when you think you've seen it all...there's always something else that pops up that makes you go, "Damn."
ZEKE BEATS: Exactly.
iEDM: I want to talk about the EP and your background of ZEKE BEATS for our beautiful ravers at iEDM. I know that Bassnectar is a big supporter of yours, playing "Meltdown" pretty much everywhere he goes. My man really puts you out there. For fans who are just discovering you, can you elaborate your beginnings and how you made it this far?
ZEKE BEATS: Sure, so here's the story! When I was 13-years-old, my music teacher George Scicluna, came over to Australia to teach. He was originally based in the UK. DJ'ing was really big in the UK at the time and he used some of the school's music budget to purchase some turntables and mixers for the class. That's when I first became exposed to DJing--through turntables. I was immediately drawn to it. I would go in before school, during recess, after school and even get my parents to sign them out on the weekends so I could set them up on the pool table so I could mess around. Finally by the time I was 15 I had saved up enough money to buy my own DJ Setup, which consisted of a Pioneer DJM-3000 and CMX-3000.
ZEKE BEATS: To gain experience, I did a lot of school events and dances which was really fun. When I was 17, there was an opportunity to enter a DJ competition at a nightclub and the winning prize was to gain the nightclub DJ residency! The legal age to enter a nightclub to drink and smoke is 18 in Australia. I still entered this competition despite the rules, and to my amazement I won. This now meant I had to have a parent or guardian with me every weekend when I was doing my DJ residency at this club, haha. When I turned 18, I sold my CD decks, and got some turntables. I saw DJ QBert, and these DMC champions who could scratch and do these crazy things with turntables. I went, "I want to do that!" I never looked back. I started entering competitions, and won titles along the way.
iEDM: What a journey! What about your friendship with Eprom? I know there is a story there.
ZEKE BEATS: I got into music production after achieving what I wanted to achieve in the world of turntablism. I began to experiment on the Native Instruments Maschine 1.8 software and controller combo. This was because I got it for free from a music store sponsorship. I met Sander (Eprom) in 2011 at his first Australian show in Perth, I was supporting DJ on the night, so I introduced myself and we got along well, I specifically remember after I played my set he mentioned, "you're a hard act to follow dude haha". After that we stayed in touch online and said I was welcome to come hang out in Portland sometime. So I did just that, my wife and I went to the states for a holiday and we went and visited Sander and his partner Katy, naturally we jumped into the studio and in that studio session my eyes were opened up to the world of analog synths, ableton live, and a ton of processing techniques which I never knew. I came back to Australia, took what he taught me, and that's how my very first EP on Saturate Records "Pay Attention" EP came about. After that, my next major release was "Meltdown" EP which was released on Plastician's Terrorhythm Recordings. And yeah, the releases just kept on rolling out. I feel very lucky and privileged to have a friend as talented as Sander and also to have him share his wealth of music production knowledge with me.
After the "Meltdown" EP I started working with great people like my manager Sasha Skalrud and his assistant Ashleigh Clark as well as the Poster Child Agency in Australia. I was also doing a few collabs here and there whilst working on my next EP named "Dispatch" EP, which was a self-release. This EP came in at No. 2 on iTunes on the Australian Electronic chart. That really blew me away. While I was doing all of that, I started doing festivals. When I came to North America and Canada, Mike Stewart from Shambhala messaged me on Facebook asking me if I wanted to play Shambhala. I was so shocked!! I replied, "Hell Yeah!" He then asked, "Who's your North American agent?" I was like, "I don't have one!" I then put my feelers out, and the next minute it I was working with Sahil Mehta from Empresario, who now works with Rogue (I now work with Tynan at Madison House Agency). I played Escape Music Festival. Electric Forest, Beyond Wonderland, and Project Z just to name a few. You can add EDC Las Vegas to the mix!
iEDM: Totally. You are creating a serious upswing as far as momentum goes. You wake up one day--going to school, being presented a different opportunity. I know when I went to school, the idea of technology and music was never a thing. At all. My follow-up is what caught your eye to take that route being that young? Personally, I have no idea where my head was at. I would do whatever was presented to me. It seems to me that you formed a very strong interest at an early stage. I am curious about that.
ZEKE BEATS: I come from a family of 4 boys, myself included. I have 3 older brothers. My oldest brother is 10 years older than me, the next one 8 years older than me, and the next one being 6 years older than me. They all had a heavy influence on my music as I was growing up. Especially the oldest one. When I was 10-years-old, he was twenty. He would go out raving, and partying. As a 10-year-old, I was listening to all that music he would bring home and I really liked it. When I was 13-years-old I knew I wanted to give it a go.
iEDM: Obviously it's working. I've talked to other Australian DJs before. Tigerlily comes to mind. She was telling me a little about the Australian culture from her perspective. For you, can you explain to me the difference in crowd reaction or how people behave? How are the vibes different?
ZEKE BEATS: Well, Tigerlily and I come from complete different realms of music. The key difference between playing shows in Australia and America is that there's a bigger population in America, and it's a more well-developed nation. Australia is the same size as America geographically, but we have this massive dessert in the middle and no where near the population which the US has. I love playing in the States because the crowds here are super open minded. If you play something new or unreleased, the crowd really appreciates that. They know that in that moment you can't hear it anywhere else. Back home in Australia, I tend to find that the crowds like to hear music they already know and that's just me being brutally honest haha. That's one of the many reason's why I am now based in America. There's a lot more opportunity here meaning there are a ton of different cities and towns and festivals I can play. Whereas back home in the land of down under, there's only about 6 major cities that I can hit. Another thing I appreciate about the US is that the production here is super tight. Companies like PK Sound really do make the biggest difference. Don't get me wrong: I love, and will always love Australia. Australia will always be home!
iEDM: What drives you to get to the next level? You started in this game a long time ago, living the dream. What do you want for yourself at the end of the day? A lot of people have no idea when I ask them that.
ZEKE BEATS: I've always been extremely competitive with myself and am the type of person to push myself as far as I possibly can. I have always wanted to be the best at everything I do. I want to be known for being extraordinary, unique, original and humble.
iEDM: This is what I'm getting from you--It comes down to putting it all out there, being happy with what you are putting out, and not making compromises.
ZEKE BEATS: Kind of! I believe in compromises to a certain extent...I'm not going to make a piece of music just to please people, I want to create art that I am personally proud of, and format it in a way that is digestable for a greater population. This is key in converting new comers to this experimental music scene.
iEDM: Well said, my man! Congrats on "Humanoid 2.0" with Eprom. We love it here over at iEDM, and we can't wait to catch your next set this summer.
What festival are you looking forward to for the remainder of summer? Make sure you look your best with our festival collection HERE.
Also, check out more exclusive iEDM Interviews HERE.