FKN Exclusive – Zaptra
We always love to introduce you to some very talented individuals. Today we have a very talented producer from Los Angeles, California by the name of Zaptra! Check out this FKN Exclusive with Zaptra and see how he started out in the industry!
Producer/Producing Group Name: Zaptra
City/State: Los Angeles, Ca
So tell us a little bit about yourself?
- Hi! My Name is Art Paz. I make electronic/ambient/indie/breakbeat/DNB music under the name Zaptra. Based out of Los Angeles, Ca. 90042. My muse is life itself and all the infinite possibilities this world has to offer.
What inspired you/your group to start Producing?
- Richard D. James A.K.A Aphex Twin. The Come to Daddy e.p. and Drukqs album became a complete ear-opener for me. Aphex Twin manipulated sounds in ways I had not heard before. Bjork has also been a huge influence to my music. In Bjork’s second album, Homogenic, I found this idea of mixing organic instruments with electronic instruments. Elements I knew I had to have when producing. I couldn’t just go straight electronic. Starting my musical development with piano at the age 11 and then guitar shortly after, I knew how important it was to keep the natural dynamical movements of instruments that have vibrations in every mix. By 2004, that’s when the sounds of Zaptra came to life.
Who are some of the artist you’ve worked for?
- Most recently, I have had the honor of remixing a single for Riverside-based band The Bellrays. The track, “Sun Comes Down,” will be featured on the Bellrays upcoming album, Black Lightning, due later this year. Lisa Kekaula, has such an amazing voice. Soulful, powerful, and heart-felt. Lisa has also worked with producers Basement Jaxx and Bloody Beat Roots, so this became a huge deal for me, especially because I had never done a remix before. It was time to step up to the plate and play with the big leagues. The remix went so well, in-fact, that I was asked to remix a cover of Duran Duran’s New Moon On Monday by Anthony J Resta. I was like “who’s Anthony J Resta?!” Turns out that Anthony has been working with Duran Duran for the last 20+ years and has credits on 30 Duran Duran tracks. I also read that Anthony has also collaborated with Prince, Blondie and Elton john… The list goes on and on. My stomach dropped a little after finding out who was going to be listening to my remix. This remix also features singer Tracy Bonham who’s fame came in the mid-nineties with her track “Mother Mother” from The Burdens Of Being Upright. For a moment I thought, “Wait.. How did I get here, is this really happening?”. I had so much fun remixing these tracks I felt inspired to remix music for some other local artists, including: yOya, Full Time Villain and Thurlow. Thurlow’s Walking Hearts E.P., featuring Zaptra’s remix, came out in late 2011, and I toured the west coast with them in the Fall. Best tour ever… well… my only tour so far.
Were there any hard challenges you had to face in the industry?
- One of the hardest facts you have to face in the industry is the possibilities of getting so-close and yet not going anywhere. You really have to do this and be in the industry for the love of music and not for fame or money. All those things would be nice, but you shouldn’t expect results for a long time, if ever. Having a major record deal on the table was heart-stopping, only to have it slip away for reasons that should not have been. I was only 19 at the time, and I didn’t really grasp the reality of what a record contract meant until much later. In a way it was a calling to really educate myself with the business side of the industry. After learning the realities, I am so glad I didn’t get into debt with a major label. Besides, anyone can be a label these days with all of the tools and technology available to you, it’s crazy to think about just 15 years ago, the thought of releasing something on your own and getting your music into the hands of people outside of your local area was almost impossible to do without a label. You really had to travel in order to get anyone’s attention. Don’t get me wrong, touring is a very important part of getting people to listen to your music. But, now you have Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, WordPress, Blogspot, the list goes on and on and on. It’s almost too much sometimes. It was difficult-enough releasing my own vinyl debut album Zaptra in summer 2010. Just the cost alone. But, it is something I have always dreamed of doing. It’s quite beautiful actually.. Artwork design by Darryl Blood. Transparent blue vinyl. I still have limited copies available.
What ways have you found was the best way to promote your group?
- These days it’s very important to always have your virtual shout outs. Constantly keep up with whats going on in the process of creation. Play shows…Lots and lots of shows. Tour. Try your best to have new material for your listeners throughout the year or at least talk about upcoming material in the works. I’m not sure if the whole “singles” idea is necessarily a good method. I’m a real strong believer in “full-lengths”, albums with stories and concepts. Lyrical or instrumental. Take the time to really put something out that’s worth listening-to and create the sensation for your listeners that binds their memories of the time period they listened to your album with the music itself. We all correlate certain albums with certain periods of our lives. Music is a time machine in disguise.
Is there any advice you can give to up & coming producers out there?
- Don’t force-yourself too much. Producing music is something that should come naturally. If you don’t do it from the heart, then you’ll find that everyone else will feel the same when they listen. Sure, there is a methodical aspect to producing, so learn how to use the tools to the best of your ability. However, always let the process come naturally, or else you will find yourself frustrated and un-motivated. I find that meditation can really help clear your mind of any clutter keeping you from releasing your energies naturally. Meditation can come in all forms, whether you do it in silence in your room, or simply by taking a break and stepping back for a moment. Go outside to a hill top, or just drive around aimlessly for awhile. You should always try and reach out to others for tips as well. Don’t be afraid to seek advise from your peers and fellow musicians. When you have an opportunity to collaborate with another producer or musician, TAKE IT. You will always come out with a new perspective. Keep an open mind and take risks.
What is one of your biggest goals in life? Goals?
- Damn. Good question. I’m always flying by the seat of my pants, embracing each day with inspiration to create music. AHh.. I got it. I want to tour the world for a year or more with my music. I want to play festivals such as Coachella, SXSW, All Tomorrows Parties, Sasquatch Festival etc. I want to open for Bjork someday… Aphex Twin, Radiohead, or…. have them open for me! (lol). I want to inspire others to create music.
Is there anything we can expect from you/your group in the future?
- Absolutely. I am working on the next Zaptra album, with the goal to release by summer of this year. Also, I have tons and tons of more remixes in the pocket, which I will continue to post on my Soundcloud. I am also producing the next Army of Mice E.P. due October 2012, and scoring for independent films. You can also expect another Zaptra tour.
How did you hear about FKN Famous & what do you think of it?
- I heard of FKN Famous through Twin Falcons. FKN is on the right track! About FKN time there was a site with such dedication to spreading knowledge and supporting the arts!
Any last shout outs to your supporters and future fans?
- Michael Jackson said it best, “Don’t stop till you get enough!” Which will be never. Thank you, Universe, for allowing my existence and the abilities to be in tune with it through music. I will never let you down. Thanks to all my family and friends who have always believed in me. Thank you to Aderra Records! For those of you new to Zaptra, get ready for a lifetime of great times!!
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