[Note from Sky: This is the first ever Pariah Tribe Spotlight article published. We’re experimenting with the format. Let us know in the comments or on social media if you like this format!]
FULL NAME: Zack Morgan
DAW OF CHOICE: Logic Pro 9
FIRST ELECTRONIC TRACK HEARD: Hold Me Close – Flux Pavilion
How were you introduced to electronic music?
I first really got into it in college. I was listening to A&B’s Trance Around the World to study everyday and I soon noticed that dance music was everywhere. That’s all people were playing at parties, for the most part.
Why did you start making it?
I wanted to get into the music scene in Santa barbara (I went to UCSB) because I was still very keen on playing music live from my band background. I started DJing, since bands weren’t playing the shows in Isla Vista, it was DJ’s. Soon, I wanted to refine my sets instead of just spinning other people’s records, so I started making edits, and then that kind of turned into producing my own original stuff.
How do you feel living in L.A. has affected your music?
Living in LA has definitely been a change of pace. I love it, but it’s true what people say about it being saturated. On one hand it’s nice because the shows and the artists are close and pretty easy to meet and form relationships with, but on the other hand, there are just so many artists trying to achieve the same goal. It can feel more like a competition than business founded on artistry. It’s really all about balance though; finding the time to make music, finding the time to create opportunities and meet people.
What did it feel like to win the Discovery Project?
It was crazy. It’s still one of the biggest accomplishments to date. When I submitted, I wasn’t really thinking too much of it. I was still confident in the music but, you know, a lot of people enter, so it’s very competitive. I got the call while I was taking a mid term exam so I couldn’t answer but I had a feeling it was from Insomniac. That was the longest hour of my life.
After winning the Discovery Project, where do you see your career in 5 years?
I see myself playing a lot more shows and hopefully touring with a few buddies. That’s really why I do this; that connection with an audience that I get is priceless. I’d also really like to find some way to help producers like me find success; people that really work hard and love music. The scene is filled with too many people doing this for the wrong reasons, and if I can find some way to sort through to find gems, whether that’s a label or a management company, etc., that would be a really cool thing.
How do you feel being a part of the Insomniac artist family?
Insomniac is amazing. They treat artists so well. It’s pretty cool, because no matter what, I know they’ll have my back, and plus I know that they have such a commitment to quality — just look at the way they run their festivals. It kind of gives me confidence in my own art that I’m endorsed by this group of awesome people.
How do you feel Insomniac has helped you?
Well, first off, Insomniac has helped me just push my music out. People trust them and their brand so it’s been super beneficial to have them push my stuff on social media and whatnot. Now, people trust my brand and what I do the same way they trust Pasquale Rotella for putting on amazing festivals. But, more than that, they’ve really just helped me step up – in production, in DJing, in networking, in a lot of different ways. When you work with a company like that, it puts a bit of pressure on you to be the best you can be. It’s made me work harder than I ever thought I could, and that’s a really good thing.
What was it like playing EDC?
EDC was crazy! Playing the actual set was on another level. It’s a weird, but hugely satisfying experience to play original music that loud for that many people. It really gives meaning to what I produce in the studio. But otherwise, so much of it was spent meeting artists and going backstage to check out the inner workings of the fest. Really, really cool.
Tips for beating nerves during a set at EDC?
That’s tough. I get still really nervous before every show, no matter how big. I would say first to just prepare. Make edits and do work before the show to ensure that the set is unique and special (for you and the audience). and trust in your taste. Artists usually have really good musical judgement, so chances are, if you think a song is awesome and will play out well, the audience will too!
Where does your workflow on a track begin?
Workflow really depends. I almost always start with chords and melody, then once I have a solid idea, I’ll translate that into the drums and synths and stuff. For Bad Kids, I did drums first though, so it really depends! I’ve noticed that a lot of artist’s backgrounds help them with the various parts in a mix. My guitar background has really helped me create melodies and top lines.
What do you feel sets you apart from other artists in your genre? In general?
I focus so heavily on melody and the ‘feels’. I try to translate that to almost every genre I make. This obviously works best with the future bass, but you can hear it with the trap records, too. I’m blending genres a lot, as well, not really following any guidelines in making music, just doing what sounds and feels right to me.
Any advice for aspiring Discovery Project winners?
I would say first, to be original. Find something; a sound, a genre, an idea, that no one’s really doing and create a track from that. My submission was maybe not the most technically advanced track submitted, but it was definitely original at the time. I think that’s something that Insomniac takes very seriously — innovation and creativity. I would also say don’t get discouraged if you don’t get in on the first try. I submitted twice before winning. Just continue to grow as an artist and hone your craft and you WILL get there, it’s just a matter of time.
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