Zhu is one of those characters that you can’t help but admire. Whether you like his music or not is beside the point as he has established himself and his brand as a phenomenon rivaling even the top-tier DJs, and all without showing his face. His secrecy has been his greatest weapon in the fight to make his music the lead character in his story, but as a force for change, it’s a largely unsustainable model. Dancing Astronaut’s chief executive Senthil Chidambaram actually put it best when he said, “He can be great in the studio, but to be a flagship guy for this movement in dance music, he’s probably going to need to show more of his personality eventually.”

Ahead of the Grammy’s tomorrow night, Zhu sat down with the L.A. Times for his first ever full interview on American soil. Though speculation and evidence has risen in the past, a few things have been officially cleared up for us, including his identity. It’s not really a shocker or anything, he’s not secretly Thomas Bangalter or anything, his name is just Steven Zhu. He is 25. He grew up in San Francisco but now lives in L.A., and he is the producer and main vocalist behind his tracks. Still, as the Times’ piece points out, “Zhu would much rather talk about songwriting and sound design than himself.”

“This project is all about art, and we try to make it all about the songs and the response,” he said. “Being able to have everyone focus back on music is the first step. But the second is to have influence and have people care.”

Zhu has made people care. He has made people take notice. I saw him at his first ever American live show, last November’s HARD Day of the Dead, and while I had to leave a bit early to get a spot for Gesaffelstein, the performance was incredible. Just a sheet between him and 40,000 fans and still his set was said to be the best of the weekend by many. The performance aspect of his persona will never fade, as it’s part of his charm. As for actually showing himself in public, that day might not come anytime soon. Asked whether he would actually be attending the Grammy’s, his curt and simple response rather summed it all up nicely – “Maybe?”

If you’re curious about his future plans, ZHU isn’t interested in collaborated with the big names of EDM:

“There are some things in the works. We’re looking to collaborate with people who are artists in their own right. Who are uniquely different but come together, we can make cool stuff. Kind of like how Jay Z and Linkin Park did.”

You can read more via L.A. Times, and get even more info from the print piece via Dancing Astronaut.


Image Source: Christina House / For The Times