Inside the wild world of international electronic DJ, Zedd
Soho House meets the musical superstar with the world at his feet
Thursday 1 December By James Williams
DJ, producer and songwriter Anton Zaslavski – aka Zedd – has collaborated with everyone from Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande.
Since bursting onto the scene a decade ago with his multi-million selling, Grammy-winning anthem, ‘Clarity’ (featuring British singer Foxes), Zedd has amassed in excess of 7.5 million Instagram followers. He has also hosted a massive Vegas residency and mounted his very own festival – Zedd in the Park – in LA’s Historic Park.
Here, Zedd tells Soho House about his early musical influences, the artists he’s currently obsessed with and the pre-gig tipple he simply can’t do without.
Can you remember when you first discovered your love for music?
‘My first memory ever is sitting at our piano and playing. I think my love for music runs very deep and I've loved writing music ever since I was able to make memories.’
What was the first album you ever bought?
‘It was Discovery by Daft Punk. To this day I think it's one of the greatest albums ever created. It’s what sparked my interest in electronic music at a time when I didn't even enjoy
electronic music. Something about it transcended genres and made me fall in love with it.’
Were your parents into music?
‘Both of my parents are musicians, which is how I got exposed to making music at such an early age. I pretty much adopted my father’s taste, which ranged from classical music and jazz to rock bands of the likes of Genesis, King Crimson, Yes and Deep Purple. I grew up with that kind of music and it has shaped me deeply.’
What's your ultimate comfort listen?
‘Weekend in L.A., by George Benson.’
Do you ever listen back to your own music?
‘I’ve just recently played a completely classical version of my first album, Clarity, on piano with a 50-piece orchestra. It was the first time I've listened to that album in quite some time and I’d forgotten how unbelievably proud I am of what I created. Typically, I listen to the song I'm currently working on at the time a lot, in all sorts of environments, mainly to improve the mix and to perfect it. This time though, I spent a lot of time listening back and re-learning how to play all the songs, and it’s inspired me to really push the boundaries for my following album.’
Who are your key musical influences?
‘My main influences are bands and artists like Silverchair, Queen, The Beatles, Genesis, King Crimson, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Justice and, more recently, The Olllam, Disclosure and Lizzy McAlpine.’
If you could play one instrument you don't currently, what would it be?
‘While I play a little bit of it, I'd love to master the guitar because I think you naturally write vastly differently on guitar versus piano.’
What's your favourite gig memory?
‘My first arena gig is something I'll never forget. It was in Manila and the feeling of playing in front of a full arena of people who came to see me live was just an unforgettable moment.’
Who are you listening to most right now?
‘Lizzy McAlpine has been one of my most played artists lately. I've been really into her uniquely honest, transparent and heartfelt lyrics, and how they so flawlessly marry to the music.’
What's your pre-performance ritual?
‘I've been drinking Jack Daniels and Coca Cola Zero as my pre-show drink for a decade now and it’s become an essential part of my routine.’
Watch The Clarity Orchestra Show Documentary on YouTube.