Australian producer Zeke Beats is far from the usual success story in the electronic music scene. While many producers stick to the usual script, the Perth-native has taken the road less traveled to bass music notoriety. An award-winning turntablist, Zeke has gotten international recognition from industry legends such as DJ Qbert. With a skillset more akin to traditional DJ’s and a Vice DMC Championship under his belt, Zeke Beat’s ascension is a refreshing throwback to a time before SoundCloud and follower counts.
Zeke only began his production career a short five years ago, following a studio session with fellow bass artist EPROM. Since then, he has graced some of bass music’s hardest stages, bringing with him a live mixing style that would put some of EDM’s biggest headliners to shame. Zeke recently sold his stake in Lab Six, a production school which he founded to give back to Perth’s rich music scene. We sat down with the Aussie journeyman following an impressive Global Dance Festival set to discuss upcoming projects and goals following the US move.
You recently got approved for a three year visa. What do you have planned in that period?
It definitely means way more gigs in the US. In term of projects or releases I have coming out, their’s an EP with EPROM called Humanoid 2.0, and that will be coming out on a record label which The Gaslamp Killer will be staring. And then their’s a new track coming out on Deadbeats in two weeks. I played that one tonight.”
As someone with such deep roots in DJ’ing, do you have how you’re going to mix a track in mind as you produce it?
I don’t really think about it, but I tend to do things which I can scratch anyways, like little vocal samples and that. I don’t really think about it in that sense. Like with the routines that I do. Those are all made after the song was made… my manager was like “Yo, you should make some routines with these tracks *laughs*.”
We know you had your production school, Lab Six, out in Australia. What’s the future for that?
I actually just sold the Lab Six school. Moving to the US obviously means all of my time is gonna be used up over here, and obviously it’s hard to run a business from another country… So that’s all off my hands now. Up until three or four weeks ago I was still teaching, and more likely than not I’ll still go back in teach a course.
What is it like to make mixes with your own production after decades of cratedigging for tracks?
The transition from DJ’ing to production was a big step. At first I didn’t like it, but then I learned to love it. Now I fuckin’ love it.
What part of it didn’t you love?
I felt like the DJ’ing side was a lot more instant gratification. Meaning, you just get two tracks and it’s easier to make them sound good together. But when your creating a track from nothing… so much more goes into making a song than mixing a song. Whenever people ask me who are brand new to it, I say you’re better off starting off mixing and then getting into production. Otherwise, you get into production straight away and a lot of it can be pretty disheartening.