"I think everyone has their own idea of when the glory days were for electronic music," Hooks (AKA Zachary Rapp-Rovan), one-half of Zeds Dead, tells New Times via email. "That era was definitely exciting to witness and be a part of. I can only speak for myself, but I'm more excited about what we're working on now than at any other time."
More than a decade ago, the Canadian duo achieved stardom in the initial EDM and American dubstep explosion. Zeds Dead championed dubstep through their remixes and original productions with gut-wrenching drops and teeth-grinding synths.
Still, Miami Music Week can serve as a time for artists to reinvent themselves and take bold risks. That is why Zeds Dead is set to play two shows this weekend.
The first show, tonight, March 25, at Mana Wynwood is a homage to their roots. You can expect a slew of back-to-back sets between members of Zeds Dead's imprint, Deadbeats, and its colleagues at Subtronics' Cyclops Recordings.
"It's gonna be a rip-roaring time filled with thrills and chills," Rapp-Rovan says. "Let me paint you a picture. Night one: me, DC [the other half of Zeds Dead], mystery person with long hair, on stage dropping the bass relentlessly."
The next day, however, will see DC and Hooks dive into the waters of dark techno at the Ground.
"Night two: Altered States. Just us on stage this time, but now we're taking the crowd on a psychedelic journey of sound as we travel through time and space," Rapp-Rovan adds. The lineup for the Ground show also includes Mary Droppinz, Noises, and Ayybo.
Altered States is the duo's new imprint that focuses on a mix of downtempo, house, and techno. Through the label, Zeds Dead explores new genres and showcases talent with a penchant for house and techno, like Ayybo, Mary Droppinz, Mz Worthy, and Suray Sertin.
When asked about how the label came together, Rapp-Rovan jokingly explains, "First things first, you think of a name for your new label. Next, you upload your music to the internet with the name on the cover art. Then finally, you throw a party with the label name on the flyer."
The blurring of genres also feels essential these days. Look no further than the surprising yet fierce collab of Skrillex, Fred Again, and Four Tet, with the trio selling out Madison Square Garden in minutes.
Twelve years after the EDM boom, dance music seems to be in the midst of an underground resurgence, where techno artists like Charlotte de Witte can take to the Ultra mainstage.
When asked how Zeds Dead loyalists responded to the new sound, Rapp-Rovan doesn't seem too bothered: "I don't know. Maybe you should interview them — I kid. The show sold out, so I guess some of them must like it."
Deadbeats vs. Cyclops. With Zed Dead, H$sh, Versa, Chee, Imanu, and others. 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 24, at Mana Wynwood, 3318 NW 23rd St., Miami; manawynwood.com. Tickets cost $75 via tixr.com.
Zeds Dead. With Ayybo, Mary Droppinz, and Noises. 11 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at the Ground, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; thegroundmiami.com. Tickets cost $50.69 via dice.fm.