- Top 100
May 14, 2012
At 22 years old, Zomboy (aka Joshua Mellody) has taken the dubstep scene by storm. After releasing his first EP Game Time in August of last year, Zomboy has shot into stardom, touring around the world. This spring, Zomboy embarked on his first North American tour.
Signed with Never Say Die records, and still completing his music production degree at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guilford, U.K. while on the road, Zomboy is working on major collaborations with artists such as SKisM. Graduating from working with audio, to genres ranging from electronic to hardcore, Zomboy has fallen nicely into the dubstep scene and isn’t about to stop.
Zomboy attended Elements Music Festival in Edmonton, hit up Bass Mentality in Toronto, stopped in London and Montreal, before arriving in the Nation’s Capital on Saturday May 5 for DNA Presents Static at Babylon Nightclub. Dropping hits like Skrillex’s Scatta and Knife Party’s Internet Friends, as well as a remix of Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys as a tribute to the late MCA, Zomboy rocked the crowd with a sweaty bass-heavy line up.
We sat down with Zomboy before his show and discussed his upcoming EP, touring around Canada, his comparisons to Skrillex and what the future holds.
This is your first Canadian tour, how is it going?
Amazing. Every show so far has been absolutely insane. I started off in Kelowna, which was small but really busy, and lots of energy. Next day, I was in Edmonton at Elements. And then I went to Toronto, that was insane again. Then I went to London, that was mad. And then last night I was in Montreal, which was again, crazy. And tonight I’m here in beautiful Ottawa. It is very fucking beautiful, I had a good walk around.
So you’re attending ACM for music production?
Kind of. I’m not actually going in, but I’m still doing my degree. It gets really difficult when I’m touring, because a lot of the lectures teach everything you need to know about the assignments and the work, but I can’t be there for the lectures, so I’m kind of depending on classmates notes and stuff that they send to me and just hoping that I can do my own research and get through. Up to now I’ve been getting the top marks you can get, which is pretty crazy considering I’m never in.
You’re signed with Never Say Die records, how has that been since you’ve released your first EP?
It’s been crazy. They are the first label I have ever worked with, just because they snapped me up right as I was beginning to start the whole Zomboy thing. I released my first EP for them, and it’s been non-stop since then.
Looking at EDM in general, there’s a small group of younger people DJing and producing, what’s that like being 22 years old in this business?
It’s amazing. It’s very surreal. It’s all happened so quickly, and at my age it’s pretty overwhelming. But amazing.
When you were younger, what did you want to do? Did you even think about getting into the music business?
I was always a really sporty kid when I was growing up, I was really into sports. But over the years, I suffered many injuries, which left me not being able to do any sports, like breaking my back, breaking my legs, snapping my Achilles tendon, just ruined my chance of doing any sports, which really sucks. I’m not going to say that music was my second plan, but I just kind of fell into it after I stopped being able to play sports.
You’ve been musically inclined for a long time and experimented with other genres, so how do you take all that and put it into your dubstep?
The new style of dubstep is very aggressive, so it was a very easy transition for me from being a metalhead and listening to hardcore, and then beginning to write this kind of dubstep. Before this, I was a sound engineer for bands, so I did a lot of work with audio and I knew how to mix, so I think that was pretty good to bring into this whole electronic realm. Everything just went hand-in-hand. From metal, to the electronic/metal thing, to this, it was a very steady progression.
It’s very good to have that kind of background when you’re getting into something like dubstep.
Yeah, before I started doing the Zomboy thing, I had no idea about it. I mean, I’ve dabbled with synths on top of metal, but other than that, it was just kind of basic stuff. And then I moved to the whole dubstep thing, and I really pushed the boundaries and made it a lot more complex than just the sound engineering.
You play the drums, any other musical instruments?
I try to play a bit of everything – I’m not theoretically trained, but I try to play a bit of everything. I play guitar, bass, piano, violin and clarinet. Quite a few different instruments.
Sine the EP was released, things have really blown up for you. You gained 10,000 Facebook fans in two months. What was that like?
It was crazy. The progression, especially with the Facebook follows, since the Game Time release. Before I released it I had just restarted the Facebook page and I had maybe a couple of thousand Facebook likes, and then off the EP and the UKF uploads, it just kept creeping really fast up and up and up, and it’s still going.
You’re talking about your next EP, how is that going and what can people expect?
I’ve definitely learned a lot more since I wrote that first EP, because I had only been writing electronic music for a month when I wrote Game Time, so I didn’t really know what I was doing. That whole EP was a bit of a fluke really, it was like ‘Yeah, that sounds good, I’ll put that there.’
My mixing has come a long way since then, because for Game Time, I was still mixing like a metalhead. A couple of songs I mixed before the EP, which was like Falcon 6, Dirty Disco and P.A.R.T.Y, they were all very complicated dubstep songs. A lot of DJs talked to me and said ‘Yeah, that stuff was sick, but we couldn’t mix it because it was too complicated.’ Everything was so complex. A lot of dubstep now is just straight beats, so DJs can mix it, but there was no chance anyone could mix my first couple of songs.
This next EP, I’m just going deeper into synthesis. It’s straighter, but more complicated at the same time. I’ve learned a lot since the last EP and I think this next one is going to be wicked.
Is there any kind of date set for the release?
It was originally going to be around March, but with all the touring, and I’m always writing on the road, the only time I write is when I’m on the road, so I keep pushing the date back because I want to finish these new songs and then I write even more songs. It’s a vicious circle.
We’ve got a date now, it’s going to be an exact year since the Game Time release, so Aug. 8. It’s not set in stone yet, but I think it’s going to be about four or five, maybe six original tunes, and then a couple of remixes from some pretty good artists, which I can’t go into detail about yet, but there’s going to be some big remixes.
A lot of people, whether this is fortunate or unfortunate, compare you to Skrillex. What is that like?
I’m quite glad. The story was, when I moved up to up to university, I was originally from Cornwall, which is a very rural area of England, to Guilford to study at ACM, just to further my sound engineering, my housemates were all hardcore electronic heads, and they just said ‘Dude, you should make some electronic music.’
The first dubstep song I ever heard was Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites by Skrillex, and I just thought ‘Holy shit, I want to make this.’ And I just think he’s amazing, like his melodies and the harshness of it with well produced beats, it made me want to do it. I think with this next EP I’ve got a lot more of my own sound, because my first stuff I was just like ‘I want to be him, I want to be Skrillex,’ basically. A lot of people hate on him, but if it’d got me to where I am now, then he’s doing pretty well.
If you could classify your sound, without using the words dubstep and electronic, what would it be?
That’s a difficult one. I guess it’s glitchy madness, or glitchy mayhem. That’s probably how I’d put it. I try to accommodate as much melodics as I can, because I’m a suck for melodics, but at the same time, I just love the hard beat and nasty bass as well. So glitchy mayhem is probably it.
So what’s next? Past your EP, where are you going?
Touring, I’m in the middle of organizing a big U.S. tour, and at the end of the year, I think it’s going to be something stupid like 50 dates. We’re talking big budget visuals and supporting the EP release. Writing too, I’ll be doing some big collabs with other artists. I’ve been collaborating with SKisM a lot lately, we’re doing a few tracks together which is going to be on his EP, like our remix of Hadouken!, and we’re hopefully going to do another collab for my EP. After that, I hope to collaborate with as many other artists as I can, keep writing music and touring like crazy.
Anything you want to say to your growing fan base that you haven’t already said?
I hope you carry on liking my work and I hope I can carry on pleasing your ears. I honestly don’t know what to say to them other than thank you. And it’s a huge thank you to all the fans, because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.
On an end note, are you happy to be here?
I am fucking excited, it’s amazing.
Make sure you pay attention to Zomboy. If you’re a lover of bass, his next EP, being released in August, is going to be fantastic, and he’ll be playing at some of this summer’s biggest festivals.
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