Get to Know Rising Artist ZERØTONIN

ZERØTONIN

ZERØTONIN might be one of the freshest faces in the scene but offers up a blend of bass and hard dance that will dominate your senses.


If you’re someone who loves the blend of powerful bass tunes and high-octane hard dance, then ZERØTONIN is an artist who should be on your radar. Kicking off his career in 2020, this San Diego-based DJ and producer is one of the latest artists to marry those two styles together while also layering in elements from pop to create a sound that’s packed full of energy and a touch of emotion.

Early releases from ZERØTONIN arrived in the form of “You” and “Right,” along with mashups that see him blend tracks like “Until You Were Gone” and “Mr. Brightside” to create some magic. Last year saw him continue on his path, teaming up with Make It Bump for a mashup of “Oxygen” and “Long Way Down” while also closing out the year with the emotion-fueled “love of my life” that put an emphasis on his pop side.

Beyond growing as a producer, ZERØTONIN continued to hone his chops behind the decks as well with a number of mixes and a handful of performances. This included his debut at Lucid Dreaming Festival in Arizona in 2020, a second gig at the event in March of last year, and an appearance up in Lodi, California as well. Now, as he continues to embark on the rest of 2021, ZERØTONIN swung by to chat with us about his beginnings and plenty more – so listen to his guest mix and read on for the full conversation.

Stream EDMID Guest Mix 312 || ZERØTONIN on SoundCloud:


Hi ZERØTONIN, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today! Before we dive into the present, let’s turn back the clock a little bit. Tell us about the start of your journey. Who were some of your earliest musical influences?

I didn’t start diving into EDM until my junior year of high school when I heard Gryffin’s “Begging For Thread” remix and Matoma’s “Old Thing Back” remix. Like most people, I started out listening to Tropical House (which I still love to this day) and once I started branching out, I discovered Tujamo, W&W, Will Sparks, 3LAU, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, etc.

I would say that a lot of my early influences came from the Big Room/Melbourne Bounce era of EDM as I loved the fast, “put your hands up” synths, pulsating basses, and super catchy lyrics. Those tracks inspired me to make my very first song which was a big room track called “Make Some Noise” that I don’t think I’ll ever release but who knows, maybe I’ll play it out. It’s honestly hilarious when I go back and listen to it because it’s actually not that bad of a track but the samples and synths just scream “big room.”

A couple of years later,  my friend showed me videos of DJs playing at EDC Las Vegas and I immediately said “I want to do this” so I bought a Pioneer DDJ-SB2 and started teaching myself how to DJ. With some help from my friends in my music classes, I learned how to build sets, beat match, play out doubles, and also make mashups. This was also when I got Ableton 9 and started messing around with it and trying to make tracks from loops and chopped up samples on my novation launchpad.

After I graduated, I spent months working on an EP but I lost 80% of my work when my laptop’s hard drive failed. Needless to say, this hit me pretty hard and I ended up putting a hold on producing and focused on improving my DJ skills. Fun fact, my singles “You” and “Right” were originally on that EP and I rebuilt them from the few samples/stems I was able to recover from the drive after I sent it off to a drive saver company. 

What led you to develop a passion for bass music and hard dance? Was it something that happened simultaneously or did one come before the other?

After my sophomore year of college, I was pretty invested in the surface/mainstream level of EDM and it wasn’t until I heard Gammer’s “THE DROP” that I was like “holy shit, what is this and where can I hear more of it.” This [2017] was also when I discovered Kompany and was absolutely blown away by the cacophony of sounds coming from one track. After discovering Kompany, I spiraled down the dubstep rabbit hole and my love for genre blossomed into pretty much an obsession as I began listening to everything that had a heavy, heavy drop. 

It wasn’t until late 2018/early 2019 that I started listening to more hard dance after discovering Stonebank’s remix of “Cold Skin” by Seven Lions. From there, I started looking up “hardstyle remixes” on YouTube and came across Da Tweekaz and their “Frozen” remix. What drew me into hardstyle was the level of freedom that the genre has and the energy it possesses. Plus the hardstyle community is so wholesome and carefree. Personally, I think it takes a deeper appreciation of music to really enjoy hardstyle. Most people disregard the genre because they think it’s nothing but aggressive kicks at 180+ BPM but in reality, most hardstyle tracks sit around 150 BPM and have really complex melodies woven in and around the leads/kicks.

I have a deep appreciation for the hardstyle artists that are pushing the genre in the US and for Insomniac giving them the opportunity to perform out here. I went to Project Z for the first time last year and it blew my mind to see so many people at the hardstyle stage. After questioning whether I wanted to add hardstyle to my brand, seeing that turn out gave me the confidence to push forward. 

Last year saw you drop tracks like “love of my life” and a mashup of “Oxygen” and “Long Way Down” with Make It Bump. Are there any forthcoming releases that are in the works that you can share with us today? 

Oh yeah. There will be a lot of releases coming from me this year! Even though I love making pop music, “love of my life” was the last pop-leaning song that I’m going to release for a while. I’ve been spending a lot of time working on more remixes and originals. I actually have a hardstyle remix of Justin Bieber and The Kid LAROI’s song “Stay” that you can hear in my mix and will be dropping on my SoundCloud in the coming weeks.

I also am finalizing a bass track with my good friend 5MII3 and am in the process of starting another collab with DESTROY3R. Oh and I’ve started a new side project with some friends that I can’t go into detail about yet, but expect a lot of music from us in the coming months. 

When you’re crafting up a mix like the one you made for us today, what’s your track selection process like? Do you typically try to hit on a few tracks you know you want to use and flow from there or is it more just going with the vibe as it happens?

I usually start out by going through my old sets and random playlists and picking out the tracks I know flow well together and then using those as a template to build off of or replace with new tracks. But I usually grab a few songs and then freestyle from there. I am a big fan and user of 1001 Tracklists as I love looking through sets to find tracks I’ve heard live. It saves me a lot of time and it saves me from going insane from scouring the internet for hours on end. 

For this mix, I kind of went rogue and spent hours looking through past sets of mine for the perfect tracks and ended up going through about 7-8 versions before landing on this one. I really wanted to showcase hardstyle and hard dance while still giving some love to dubstep and I think I did a pretty good job. I may have gone a bit overboard with the hard dance but I couldn’t help it hahaha. 

Just for fun, if you could play a set anywhere in the world (think Cercle-style performances), where would it be and why?

I would love to play a set at Defqon.1, Tomorrowland, HARD Summer, and EDC Las Vegas. Out of all of these though, a set at Tomorrowland would be epic because I know I could spin a 90+ minute hardstyle set and people would lose their minds. Plus to be on a stage that large in front of that many people would be a dream come true.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to play out a dubstep/hard dance set at any of the festivals here but to play a pure hard dance set in a country where hardstyle originated would be beyond amazing. I’m actually going to Tomorrowland this year and I’m so hyped to experience everything and see the stage that I’ll hopefully play on one day.

Besides your career as a DJ and producer, you’ve also worked in other areas of the industry as well. Do you feel like that’s helped you learn more about the scene as a whole?

Definitely! Working in the industry has really opened my eyes to the sheer amount of time, effort, and lack of sleep that goes into every release and show. I always knew that it was a lot of work but I couldn’t really grasp just how much it was until I started working in the industry. I love how tight-knit the industry community is. Once you’re in, you’re pretty much family. Everyone looks out for one another and is always trying to help each other build their careers.

I know that a lot of people think that they need to be “cool” or cold and calculated to go far in the industry but that’s the worst thing you can do. People pick up on that fast and it doesn’t make them keen to work with you haha. The industry has helped me realize the importance of being genuine and sincere with not only myself but with others in my space and that’s something you can’t be taught but you have to learn. 

Before we bring this conversation to a close, we have to know, where is your go-to spot in San Diego to grab some Mexican food, and what are you ordering?

Oh man, this is tough. I’d say my top two places are the Taco Stand in La Jolla and Agave Birrieria in Encinitas. For Taco Stand I usually order either their Carne Asada tacos or their Grilled Pescado (Mahi Mahi) tacos. For Agave Birrieria, I always get their Birria Burrito because it’s possibly the best burrito I’ve ever eaten. An honorable mention is their quesa birria as it’s delicious. 

Finally, what goals do you hope to achieve in 2022 on a personal and professional level?

Personally, I am looking forward to getting back into shape this year as I finally got cleared to go back to sports and lifting weights by my physical therapist. COVID taught me a lot of things and that is to protect my mental health so I’m taking the steps to make sure I don’t overwork myself and burn out. 

That being said, I am really want to get booked for more shows. I would love nothing more than to play direct support for someone at a proper club and proper show. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing these underground events but I miss playing at clubs and being on a stage in front of hundreds of people. Outside of that, I am really eager to continue to build my own brand as well as build up the brand of my new side project. I’d love to have one of my releases land on a label this year so I’m going to be on the production grind. Lastly, I’d love to work with as many people as I can. So if anyone reading this is interested in working with me, hit me up on Twitter!


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Grant Gilmore’s authoritative voice as a media professional lends credibility not common to EDM journalism. As the founder of EDM Identity he has effectively raised the bar on coverage of the past decade’s biggest youth culture phenomenon. After ten years of working for nonprofit organization Pro Player Foundation, Gilmore launched EDM Identity as a media outlet offering accurate informative coverage of the rave scene and electronic music as a whole. Although they cover comprehensive topic matter, they have taken special care in interviewing the likes of Armin van Buuren, Adventure Club, Gorgon City, Lane 8 and Afrojack. In addition to household names, they have also highlighted unsung heroes of the industry through their ID Spotlight segment. Whether he’s covering it or not, you can expect to find Grant Gilmore attending the next big electronic music event. To find out what’s next on his itinerary, follow him via the social links below.