Today saw the release of Zulu X-Ray, the latest EP from GDD homies Zedex (formerly ZX). The young British house duo have put out a stormer of a record, featuring guest vocals from Brooklyn based label-mate Sam Wilkes. This week we caught up with Jamie Graham and James Trayford of Zedex to talk about their new release, recent name changes, and dancing dirty. Here’s how it played out…
GDD: Thanks for taking the time to chat guys. So starting from the top, how did ZEDEX come about?
James Trayford: We were at school in Peterborough together, but while there we’d both been playing in this electro-rock band called Cut This City, without much success. As our influences changed we started a side project, quickly becoming our main project, called ZX.
GDD: Why the recent name change from ZX to ZEDEX though?
Jamie Graham: People were complaining that they couldn’t find our stuff so we decided to make it more search engine-friendly. Zedex is way easier to google than the two letters of ZX…
JT: …plus we’re not as big as the games console or Citroen car yet!
GDD: What influenced your sound starting up, and who influences you now?
JT: We’d always been aware of the original french house stars, Bangalter, Modjo et al. , but it wasn’t really until 2007 with bands like Bag Raiders, Cut Copy, Van She coming out of Australia and the breakthrough of Justice and the Ed-Banger guys from France that we really got excited about electronic music. Fenech Soler, who come from a village near us were the only electro band to pretty much ever come from this area and supported us right from the start, letting us remix their track ‘LA Love’. They were pretty good mentors early on I guess. We’ve got a pretty wide range of musical influences spanning to rock bands like The Mars Volta and Deftones, or more experimental stuff like Brian Eno, and Danny Elfman.
GDD: With that said, how long have you guys been producing?
JG: James started producing IDM at the tender age of 14, and I started playing catch up with him by downloading a cracked copy of FL Studio when I was about 16, and making some horrible, horrible electro. It took us a while to come out with some stuff we were really happy with. Once we switched to Ableton Live everything began to fall into place.
GDD: So you back Ableton. Are you VST or hardware users?
JG: Both. We generally work on our tracks using hardware synths as songwriting tools, as well as guitars and piano, so we know that the ideas will work as a flowing song before starting production work on them. However we do use VSTs for synths and stuff, loving Lennar Sylenth and ReFX Vanguard at the moment. Both have lovely analogue-y sounds
JT: It’s important to maintain at least some organic element in any song I think. Computer-generated dance music just doesn’t do it for me. Human timing really adds feeling to a track. It’s why we try and incorporate samples as well.
GDD: Tell us a bit about the new EP, it’s quite different from your debut High Crimes release, what inspired it…
JT: We were getting more into sample-driven music rather than our tracks containing samples, so we wanted the samples to be a key element, or hook, if you listen to our newest ideas. We’re music geeks at heart and we love just finding old and unusual material. This EP we were listening to a lot of funk – influencing ‘Zulu X-ray’, and italo-disco influencing ‘Kiss Me While I Love You’.
GDD: How did your track with Sam Wilkes come about, aren’t you guys based on opposite sides of the Atlantic?
JG: Wilkes was over in the UK for a bit last summer, and after the Metamimetic launch night on this side of the Atlantic in London, Wilkes and us were sitting around Fazhands‘ kitchen table as the sun was rising and we started throwing ideas around on our laptops.
JT: We had this great sample for what eventually became ‘Zulu X-Ray’ that we’d worked into a beat but we had kinda stalled on where to go with it. Wilkes really liked it and once we’d got the song together and made it into a full length thing we sent it over to him in LA and he really killed it. He’s a great vocalist with some fantastic ideas.
GDD: What’re your top 5 tracks at the moment?
JG: Deadmaus – Raise Your Weapons (Madeon remix)
Pretty Lights – I Know The Truth
Long Beach City Kids – Super Natural
Eskimo Boy – Strange Talk (Vanguard Remix)
Benzie – Homecoming (Zedex remix)
GDD: And what does the rest of 2011 have in store for ZEDEX, any plans to make it our stateside in the near future?
JT: We’re both still at university so we’re trying to balance that with the music, but we’ll just continue to produce tracks and hope people like them. We’re also working on a new live set to spice things up a bit…
JG: …Visiting the USA even just as a tourist is a huge ambition of mine. Would love to finally meet the rest of the Metamimetic family, as well as thank the GDD crew in person for their kind support.
GDD: When you’re not lambasting crowds with your maximalist house sound and you’re on the dancefloor as a punter, do you dance dirty?
JG: Always, whether it be at the filthy Met Lounge in Peterborough to the everchanging new “cool” place in London. We love a good beat and a filthy bassline!
GDD: Cheers for taking the time lads, and best of luck with everything.