What a time to be alive. We’ve enjoyed two massive DJ Zinc collaborations on UKF over the last month… Push It with Holy Goof and Gammy Elbow with Chris Lorenzo. Two certified jacked-out bass lengers that have already pummelled more festivals than you’ve had hot pockets, they’re a third of one of Zinc’s biggest EPs in years: Full House
Delivered gradually over the course of the last month with the final track dropping this week, Full House is a wish list EP comprising peers whose sounds play a key role in Zinc’s DJ sets. As well as collabs with Holy Goof and Chris Lorenzo, we’ve also been treated to hook-ups with bass house originators Jack Beats, Shogun-slapping tempo-melters My Nu Leng, original UKG OG MJ Cole and recent orchestra-flexer Shift K3Y. Like a good collaboration, the end result is more than the sum of its parts and a widescreen celebration of UK bass music full stop.
With over 20 collaborations already in his discography – including legendary creations with the likes of Hype, Makoto and Krust – Zinc’s serial collabo addiction goes right back to his earliest releases and is showing no signs of stopping. Here’s how the Full House EP came about…
You’ve been collaborating since day one!
Yeah my first releases were with Swift. In fact a lot of the early stuff we did were collabs even when they were credited to one of us. We were both in the same room together using the same equipment and sharing ideas and vibes even when they weren’t credited as collaborations. And yeah, when they’re the right combination of people they always come up with something beyond the sum of its parts. The result you get is something you will never get on your own. I get to the end of the tune and I always think ‘there are things here I wouldn’t have done on my own’ Those different brainwaves. We’ve all got different tastes and backgrounds and reference points. So everyone brings something different to the studio.
This EP is a bit of a dream team for you isn’t it?
I’d done a few collabs with some of the guys before like Shift K3Y and Chris Lorenzo which we always planned on releasing. Traditionally you would do a swap for each other so you’ve both got a single to release from a collaboration but also you never just sit down to do one track. When me and Lorenzo sat down, for instance, we ended up with about four tracks on the go. So I was sitting on those collaborations and a few people who I really rate had asked about collabs so I thought I’d put them all on one release. I’m really happy with the collection I’ve put together.
All done in real life?
All of them besides My Nu Leng. They sent a beat over, I added parts, they added bits and it went back and forth. The rest of them were all in my studio. I do prefer starting a track together in the studio but My Nu Leng was a natural thing cos they sent over an idea. Next time we do a track I’d like to start it face to face.
You and MJ Cole on a track together is quite a moment. Do you know him from your garage days?
We didn’t even know each other from the garage days because I only made a few garage records and didn’t really play it. I was immersed in the drum & bass side of DJing at the time. I met him when he was the main engineer at Vinyl Distribution. It worked really well with both of our sounds and approaches. It’s got a pizzicato and classic MJ sound then my type of bass and beats in it. I hope you can hear my sound anyway. He’s an incredible musician and that really took the lead.
Everyone’s interesting, though. They’re all exciting artists who I think are making some of the most exciting music that I want to DJ. I’m playing every single one of the DJs involved in this music. I’m a fan of all these guys. If you asked me the top people’s music I play right now, it’s these people. So to have them all on one EP is a great feeling.
What’s the secret to a perfect collaboration?
The perfect collaboration is working with someone who knows what they want to do. If you’re in a studio session with someone and for whatever reason they don’t know what they want to do or want to hear it can lose any type of momentum. Like on this EP… Everyone knew what they wanted to hear or had some type of vision or idea. And that’s the thing for me. It’s not a secret but it did take me years to find out the best thing to do when you want to make a tune is ask yourself ‘what would I want to hear?’ It’s so simple and obvious but it’s overlooked.
People second guess what people want to hear or what they’ll think and get caught up in all of that. You just have to ask yourself ‘what do you want to hear?’ The key to a good collab is working with people who know what they want to hear and if they’ve got technical knowledge then even better – you can teach each other new tricks and open up a whole new world of ideas when you’re next in the studio working on your solo stuff.
I get the impression this isn’t a one-off?
Never say never. Since starting this project I’ve had some great opportunities and there are a lot of different things being worked on. I just love making music, basically, and if someone wants to come over and work on something neither of us could do on our own then yeah, there’s always room for more collaboration projects like this.
Give us your favourite legendary collaborations of all time. Moments when the sum of the parts were immeasurably outweighed…
Ed Rush, Optical and Fierce – Alien Girl
What a track, changed the whole sound of drum & bass. imagine being in the studio when they made it!!
Nas x Amy Winehouse – Cherry Wine
Favourite rapper and favourite singer on one track – produced by Salaam Remi. Magical combo.
Noisia & The Upbeats – Dead Limit
When scientific mixdowns and soulful music meet. Benchmark business!
Chemical Brothers x Noel Gallagher – Let Forever Be
Amazing video, great track. Bit pop for me but as good as pop gets!
Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
Gotta be the greatest collab ever right?