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For this week’s First Look Friday, we’ll be feature an up and comer in the electronic music scene known as NEZ. Featuring a dark and progressive sound and repping a variety of different genres and inspirations, NEZ has managed to bring something new and exciting to the table. He may be relatively new, but his work ethic is pretty intense. NEZ just debuted his first EP, “Storm” which features some truly stellar tracks showcasing everything from a psychadelic womp fest to a remix of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love”. All four tracks on the release contain enough substance and quality to stand out in their own right. It is without a doubt that this guy will go far if he continues to put together the same amount of effort and professionalism that went into this release.

Electric Sloth was just lucky enough to sit down with NEZ to ask a few questions.

ES: What does “NEZ” stand for, and why did you pick the name?

 Everyone asks me this, and it’s actually pretty simple. NEZ is just ZEN backwards. I’ve always been drawn to Buddhist spiritual philosophies, and when I produce, or make any type of music, it puts me into this awesome creative mindset, what I consider to be my own little zen world. So I wanted my name to reflect that.

ES: How long have you been producing?

I’ve only been producing for about a year and a half, but within the last few months, everything has really been “clicking” and I’m starting to pin down my style.

ES: If you’ve only been producing for a year and a half, does that mean you have some prior musical knowledge?

I started playing piano when I was in kindergarten, and picked up the cello soon afterwords. My dad played drums and always wanted me to play bass so I moved up to upright bass and bass guitar after playing cello for a year. From there I basically fell in love with music, playing in classical orchestras to jazz and funk ensembles. I will always consider myself a bassist first and a producer second, hopefully you will be hearing more of my bass guitar work in upcoming tracks!

ES: Where do you draw inspiration from?

As with any art form, inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes if I feel like something big is happening in my life that creates a strong emotional response, I’ll try and capture that. Other times, ill try and capture the atmosphere of a place I visited or even draw inspiration from a picture I’ve seen. For instance, when I made “Imperial Storm”, I wanted to capture the sound and atmosphere of the oriental culture.

ES: Are there any artists or styles of music that you pull from for your tunes, for samples or otherwise?

I found this Adele acapella online, and I use that to do a lot of my vocal sampling, she has such a unique voice and I feel like the timbre of it fits what I do a lot. As for sounds, I’ve always loved the psychadelic womps remniscent of Kalya Scintilla, to me it sounds like the synth is breathing, and it’s a sound you don’t hear too much. I never try to produce in the same style sequentially. If i make a dubstep track, the next one might be trap, or drum and bass, or something totally weird, haha.

ES: What is something that you feel that is happening for the better in the electronic music scene?

One of the best things that’s happening in EDM right now i think is how other unrelated genres are starting to draw on EDM elements. I personally feel that EDM is the future of music, and its good to see many of the more traditional genres draw onEDM elements. I think groups like Lotus and Conspirator, Big G and Griz are really showcasing how beautifully real instruments blend with the genre. It’s exciting.

ES: Now for the opposite, what’s not so good about this scene right now?

 One of the bad things that’s going on, or has been going on in the scene is the expectation to how the music should be made. A lot of listeners expect this in a dub track: intro, catchy hook, build, drop, hook again, build again, drop again, outro, which is a beautiful way to organize a song, but its overused. I think producers need to break away from making EDM with the intention for it to be cut apart and be mixed, and instead focus on making songs that hold their own, and take the listener places.

ES: For a final question, what is the best show you’ve ever been to?

…Best show I’ve ever been to? Bassnectar. Easily. Lorin is an animal, and continues to be a stable artist in the scene.

Keep an eye out for NEZ over the next few months, because it’s only gonna get better from here. He has tons of tracks available for a listen and free download on his Soundcloud. Also, be sure to give NEZ’s brand new EP, “Storm” a listen. It refreshingly original.

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Check out NEZ’s Facebook page here: