Inside The Track w/ Z.D.S

Barely into his 30s, ZDS – aka London DJ and producer Nat Self – may not yet have the weathered features of a house music elder statesman but his musical CV already reads that way.

Leading light in, and most successful export of, East London’s post-millennial club scene, check. Resident of Panorama Bar when it was just a twinkle in most techno tourist’s eyes, check. Collaborator with Chicago booty bass don DJ Funk and UK soul legend Omar on last year’s rocking debut album ‘Brains’ (released by Made to Play), check. Festival slots everywhere from LA’s HARD Summer to Ukraine super festival Kazantip, check, check, check.

It’s no puzzle then why Classic Records, brainchild of definite house elder statesmen Luke Solomon and Derrick Carter, chose him to mix and re-edit their back catalogue for the bumping jackathon that was ‘Classic Through the Eyes of: Zombie Disco Squad’ (Nat’s previous moniker) released to critical acclaim.

With hot releases & remixes for the likes of Defected & Lapsus Music, ZDS is back with a dope EP alongside Sacha Robotti on Toy Tonics (which is out now on Traxsource). We sat down with ZDS to get an in-depth look ‘Inside The Track’ and more with this Exclusive interview.

The Interview

1) Congratulations on your new Shaky EP. How is it being received in your sets? & How are other club DJs responding to the release?

I’m happy to say so far Dj and Club reaction has been amazing. It’s always gratifying when people dance to a track I’ve made.

2) Tell us more about the “Shaky” track. What was the main inspiration behind it and what prompted the musical direction on this?

Sacha (Robotti) and I have been friends for years, and I was stuck on an idea and I sent it to him. He added a ton of love, and I finished off the arrangement and bobs your uncle. (He’s actually my dad’s uncle).

The Track

NOTE: Click the images for large versions

3) Production wise, what is it about the track that makes it work?

I think it’s a combination between the killer baseline (Sacha’s work) and the arrangement (my work). I feel tracks are best with little in them and then letting the elements shine with the arrangement.

4) What is the one machine, program, sound or technique that characterizes your sound?

Blimey – that is a hard question. I use a lot of different programs (Cubase, Ableton etc.). If I had to pick one thing I suppose it would be Native Instrument’s Maschine, I love it – I use that and Ableton Push to write my songs. I build the main hooks and beat live and then arrange it in Cubase.

5) What is the one piece of kit that you simply cannot do without?

My Ears.

6) Any advice for your fans on how to make it in todayís fast paced game?

I think the important thing is to make music for yourself and don’t worry too much about the rest. If you work hard and make good songs, people will notice. That’s a not a formula for easy success, however – If you want that just copy the biggest tune of the minute and add a cowbell.


Z.D.S artist page & releases on Traxsource.