2014 was an absolute whirlwind for trapstep or “hybrid” trap music fans and artists alike. Throughout the course of last year, we saw more and more artists adding grittier, grimier synths to their trap music, as well as tweaked song structures, and some truly wild drum patterns. This marriage of trap & dubstep, when done right, shows off the best of both worlds, and is sure to make every basshead’s face scrunch up with joy. Needless to say, the rapid rise of this sub-genre helped to bring forth a flurry of outstanding new artists & record labels; but if it wasn’t for the artists already on the scene pushing the envelope, and thinking outside of the generic box, none of this would have ever happened. I recently had the chance to sit down with one of these envelope-pushers for an interview before the insanity that was his set at San Francisco’s wildly popular monthly rager known as Trap City, a few weeks back. This is what I came away with.
Zooly has been making music for roughly two and a half years. Stepping into the game right in the heyday of trap music (late 2012-2013), this young West Coast native hit the ground running and hasn’t slowed down since. Although Zooly’s sound has only improved over the years, his style has remained the same: a genreless hybrid of dubstep and trap music with that special west coast flavor. I actually think this is what held him back from blowing up until last year, simply because there was almost no other music out there like his when he first started producing. Back then, dubstep was still in full swing, and trap music had absorbed most of the EDM community with a very simple formula. There wasn’t a lot of room for nuance until the trap hysteria died down and dubstep slipped back into the underground. All of Zooly’s music has been outstandingly innovative from the start, but the EDM community just wasn’t ready for it back in 2013. That’s why his most popular track at the time, “You Should Know,” a straight up trap tune, beat out other wilder, more creative bangers, like the one below, by a landslide.
Nevertheless, Zooly stuck to his guns. He kept steadily improving and refining his crazy, crunchy basslines and head rattling subs, giving birth to a unique style that would become a driving force in the trapstep revolution of 2014. In that year, genre disillusionment was now running wild, and as a result, more and more artists began pushing the envelope into a realm of music that Zooly was already very comfortable with. All it took was the release of his debut EP, Sippin, and suddenly he was a star.
Following his EP’s release, and the explosion of his fanbase, Zooly kicked things into overdrive, cranking out a startlingly large amount of massive bangers throughout 2014 all while rocking shows across the country. Rarely has an established artist seen such a massive increase of fans a year and a half after his debut. Talk about being slept on – this Badman has been solidly crushing it for over three years now and is just starting to get the attention he deserves. What else can be said? When the time is right, the time is right. This is why you should never give up on your dreams.
The past few months have seen some of Zooly’s best work yet. Collabs with Smookie Illson & the Ragga Twins, Ingwell, & Thurz, as well as Calvin Harris & Gorilla Zoe remixes are just a few of the monsters he’s unleashed upon us after Dippin Down Compton’s smashing success.
Zooly live is something you really need to experience if you fancy yourself a basshead. He combines current hip hop bangers and his unique sounds together in such a way that it’s hard not to completely lose it on the dancefloor. Zooly shows are straight debauchery plain and simple. He had every person in the club going absolutely nuts for his sound, and this was a crowd of serious bassheads. Trap City has brought in huge names before like Loudpvck, Dj Sliink, & Valentino Khan, but this show was easily as crazy as any one of those. Don’t sleep if you see Zooly rolling through your city this year, this is one artist you don’t want to miss. I absolutely can’t wait to see what he’s got in store for us this coming year.
Check out my interview with the man himself below!
How was 2014 for you as an artist and what are you looking forward to this year?
Oh man 2014 has been crazy. It’s been a dream honestly, and the dream hasn’t stopped. This year I hope will be even bigger and better. I’m excited to keep doing my thing and keep putting out great tracks for everyone.
Your music has a very distinct west coast flavor, who were some of your biggest influences musically growing up?
All the classics man. Dr. Dre, Snoop, even Biggie, but mainly old school west coast hip hop artists like Tupac, Eazy Y etc. I try to progress from that instrumental movement just with my own sound.
What’s your opinion on genres?
Well, it’s just categories. It’s fine to me personally, but I feel like some people let that discussion become something that it shouldn’t be. Strictly trying to label this and that, I mean it’s just music it’s fine if you want to label it, but people shouldn’t let genres define their musical tastes. Let me give you an example like some people who only listen to Trap won’t check out a House tune they might enjoy simply because it’s labeled House.
How long does it usually take you to make a track?
It depends man, sometimes I’ll make one in a couple days, sometimes it’ll take a month or longer. Like that song “Alchoholic,” I made that in one day because I didn’t have the full version of FL Studio so I couldn’t save it. I just decided to say fuck it and released it.
Who are some of your favorite artists on the scene right now?
Ah let’s see, I really like Flosstradamus, Diplo, Milo & Otis…. pretty much anything that’s got a good melody and a trappy bassline, that’s my shit right there.
Number one artist you would want to collab with?
I really want to collab with Diplo, I admire him so much I mean he’s basically built an empire and I want to be at that level eventually. I feel like I could learn so much from him musically and otherwise.
Whats the most challenging part of being an upcoming artist in the industry today?
I’d have to say all the competition out there. Everyone is making so much music right now it’s like damn how do I keep up with that? I mean some artists will be putting tracks out every week, but you can’t let that get to you if that’s not your style. It’s definitely about quality over quantity when it comes down to it. In my opinion.
Whats the best part?
This, right now. Playing shows, traveling, meeting new people, just seeing everyone come out to dance with me. The feedback has been really great.
What do you use to DJ/Produce?
I use FL Studio (the full version) to produce, and CDJ 900’s to perform. Sometimes I use my Ns6 but CDJs are just more convenient for me so I’ve been sticking to those lately.
Any big plans for festival season this year?
Actually no, I don’t. I have a few plans but nothing set in stone that I can talk about, but yeah I’m ready to party so we’ll see what happens.