Zayde Wolf Debuts Deluxe Version of 'Modern Alchemy': Premiere

Zayde Wolf
Sean Hagwell


When Dustin Burnett left The October, he pointedly left ambitions of being a recording and touring artist behind. Now, thanks to the unexpected success of Modern Alchemy, released under the moniker of ZAYDE WØLF, Burnett is suddenly back in the game -- and popular enough to command an expanded deluxe edition, premiering exclusively below.

"Fans kept reaching out and asking about more music," Burnett tells Billboard. "They'd listened to (Modern Alchemy) for a few months and were like, 'Can you release some new songs?' We had some we had recorded and a couple opportunities to send songs to people for some remix. We thought it would be a great opportunity to get some new songs out and hit 'reset' on it as momentum for the brand." The deluxe Modern Alchemy includes fresh tracks such as "Hurricane" (with Fjora) and "We Got the Power," along with songs that remained from the original sessions. For the remixes, Burnett sent Modern Alchemy tracks to Bhavior, MONO-KYO, Generdyn and Built By Titan, whose flip on "Dangerous" is one of Burnett's personal favorites.

"They're all very different from each other, which I love," Burnett says. "It was fun to hear what other people hard in something I created."

And in one fell swoop, the deluxe edition has multiplied ZAYDE WØLF's body of work beyond Burnett's initial expectations.

The project, he explains, was "super accidental." Leaving the band world, Burnett had success as a producer (An Epic No Less, The Wrecking, Finding Favour) and co-founded the drum sample company That Sound, which provides loops and samples for artists, producers and publishers. He crafted the ZAYDE WØLF material as demos that he intended to have other records, but Burnett's wife heard them and suggested he finish them, while a friend in the music licensing business who not only bought some of his material but provided the final push to resume his artist career. "She came back to me and said, 'Who's ZAYDE WØLF?'" Burnett recalls. "I said, 'It's me.' Her comment was, 'Get back in the studio and make more songs!' I told my wife that we just got this music license that's gonna be X amount of money. She said, 'Get back in the studio and make more songs!'"

After Modern Alchemy's success -- it hit iTunes charts in 25 countries, with big numbers on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, with the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Cavaliers both using his songs as walk-out music -- Burnett will be doing just that. "There's a responsibility that comes with it now," he acknowledges. "I get all these emails, sometimes one a week, with all these stories about how the music has moved people in some say. I wanted to continue to make music for people to be inspired by." Burnett is also thinking about putting ZAYDE WØLF on the road, though he's still a bit "on the fence" about returning to a life he purposely abandoned.

"It's definitely ironic," says Burnett, who's also working with Dancing With the Stars' Derek Hough on a new album and music for his upcoming tour. "But it's been a point of talk and I've been talking to some booking companies over in the U.K. right now to maybe do a little bit over there first, before we look at the U.S. The timing has to be really right for it. I think I closed it off for so long, but I'm open to the idea now. It'll take a lot of work, but if it's worth it and people want to hear it, I may just go try it again."


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