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Exclusive DJ Zinc Interview

Reported by Jack Bridges TID on February 8, 2010

Zinc is the master of reinvention! Since bursting into global club consciousness in 1995 with arguably the most instantly recognised drum & bass track of all time, to charging the UK national charts with a genre busting breaks anthem at the turn of the century, DJ Zinc has kept up a momentum that knows no bounds.

In 2010 we see the man himself hooking up with Brit and Mercury Music Prize winner vocalist Ms Dynamite to further blur the boundaries between UK club and urban music. Wile Out is the resulting track from this incendiary pairing and has been battered on BBC Radio One and 1Xtra for months creating incredible anticipation. We caught up with Zinc on the eve of release to find out a little more about one of the most exciting producers the UK electronic music scene.

When you wrote the beats for Wile Out did you have a particular vocal style in mind and how did the link with Ms Dynamite come about?

I thought it would be an instrumental, but after listening to it for a while it seemed like a vocal would work. I have worked with Ms Dynamite before, and knew she was back on the scene so we went from there!

Benga features as one of the creative forces on the Wile Out release. With such a history of solo success do you find sharing production duties a challenge to relish?

I was hanging out with Benga for a few days in Miami and I had made some beats, so i asked him to make some basslines, thats how it happened… Him and Skream are amazing. They deserve all the credit they get and more.

You took a year out in 2008 that resulted in this exciting new release. What creative process occurred during this period and what was it like having weekends to yourself after so many years on the road?

In 2006/07 I found that for the first time i was getting bored with the sound of DnB / Jungle - it had always been cutting edge and fresh sounding, but it seemed to be getting stagnant. At the same time I started hearing house tracks that were interesting - Switch and Sinden kinda stuff - and it dawned on me that there was life outside of the jungle!

Having a year off was great, my kid was 3 so it meant spending loads of time with him before he was gonna start school, so it worked out well. One thing that was funny was that when Crookers did the Essential Mix, I checked it out and liked a lot of what they were playing, one track in particular, so one day I was on the phone to Prime Cuts from Scratch Perverts, talking about what music i was getting into, and I said "You gotta check this tune, it's amazing!" - I played the tune down the phone and he was like "Are you taking the piss? Thats by Plus 1 (one of the other Scratch Perverts)." It was the Jack Beats remix of "Jack Got Jacked" by AC Slater. So stumbling on music that I loved that was unknown to me and was made by my mates was a really good sign, like maybe I'm not the only one wanting to hear this sound… and having weekends off was nice!

Were there any ‘normal’ activities that you rediscovered and enjoyed while having time off?

Not really, I went to Miami loads. It was nice being able to be spontaneous, when I'm DJing I have to plan everything 6 months in advance.

The vibe of the track is still very dancefloor despite the massive radio support. Were you pleasantly surprised to see 'Wile Out' crossover?

Yeah defo!

Any plans to revisit Zinc classics like 'Super Sharp Shooter' in the new ‘crack house’ style?

There is a Jack Beats remix but I don't think it's gonna come out, its just for me and them to play. I've done a 128 mix of '138 trek', I might have a look at going back in on some of the  other oldies!

Urban-tinged dance music seems to embrace many influences in 2010 (such as dubstep, electro, drum and bass, grime etc), does the endless possibility excite you as a producer and DJ, or can there be too much choice and variety?

I love the possibilities. Playing in the 125-132 bpm range means I can play house, tech, electro, techno, deep house etc etc etc. I love it!   

What producers and acts are you recommending right now that our readers can check out?

To be honest the thing I love about playing house is that unlike DnB, there are hundreds of producers to choose music from. With DnB there were maybe 10-20 producers that were great, so I was forever waiting for High Contrast's next tune or whatever. With the house tempo stuff I can choose from hundreds of great producers and nobody raises an eyebrow. If I had to name a few I'd say Boy 8 bit, Fake Blood, Jack Beats. DJ wise I'd say all those guys again plus people like Brodinski and Annie Mac.

What projects do we have to look forward to from Zinc in 2010?

Working on more crack house music! Got loads of things on the go, including producing quite a few of the tracks on Ms Dynamite's LP, and working with loads of people I really check for. DJing loads again, and really enjoying it!