Zeds Dead

Zeds Dead

Maria Jose Govea/Mad Decent

Download the duo's sinister new single

You wouldn’t think that Benjamin Millepied – the “Black Swan” choreographer, “So You Think You Can Dance” guest judge, and Mr. Natalie Portman – and Toronto bass music duo Zeds Dead would travel in many of the same circles. You’d be right.

But just the same, Millepied went behind the camera to direct the video for “Demons,” the lead cut off Zeds’ new EP “Hot Sauce,” out now on Diplo’s Mad Decent, and available as an exclusive download here on CODE.

“Demons” has a death-march plod with creepy minor keys, and explosions of dubstep-ian bass that sound like Mars attacking.  It also has the hallmark of any evil techno track: sci-fi dialogue sample.

“There’s a quote in it from some old B horror movie, something about demons, so that became the name of the track,” says Hooks (half of Zeds with partner DC). “It also sounded very menacing; being attacked by demons, or confronting your inner demons, however you want to take it.”

The clip was produced as part of The Music Video Project, a marketing program backed by a premium vodka brand, pairing unlikely video directors with adventurous artists. But for Zeds Dead, it was a chance get a video as dark and creepy as “Black Swan” for their fright-fest of a track.

“We picked him for that,” says Hooks of Millepied’s “Swan” cred. “The sound of the music was quite dark. We thought, ‘This guy can probably do something to augment it.’”

Millepied’s video is a dance performance piece, part Michael Jackson tribute. It follows a troupe of dancers – pop-and-lockers, animators, and even moonwalkers – through a dark and misty suburban world, not unlike the woody clearing in “Thriller.” Each of them is some variety of ghoul, expressing its particular haunting through movement alone.

Despite its slower pace, “Demons” is in line with Zeds Dead’s bass-heavy body of work. But the majority of “Hot Sauce” is something of a departure. “Playa” explores stripped-down Moombahton and trap, “Trouble” pairs a piano vamp with a hobo bass shuffle, and “Mr Sub” reads like minimal house that you could accurately call “dreamy.”

“We dig all the tracks; they’re not really expected from us, but I think that’s a good thing,” says Hooks. “They just kind of evolved from experimental stuff we did in the studio. We said, ‘Let’s do something that’s not the norm on this EP, that doesn’t fall really in any major trends that are going on right now.’”

Even though it diverges from what fans have come to expect of Zeds, Hooks says they’re not about to hang up their keychain (that’s a “Pulp Fiction” reference, anyone?!).

“Zeds Dead is my entire artistic output,” he says.  “Some people have different aliases – make a hip-hop song, put it under this, dubstep under this. For us it’s everything, and we want to keep it that way.”

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