"Shake" is the second official collaboration between Zeds Dead and Jauz, following 2018's "Lights Go Down." The friends debuted the track together at Ultra Music Festival in Miami last March, but it bangs all the harder in your headphone. We caught up with both Zeds Dead and Jauz to hear how the song came to be and why they can't help getting back together in the studio.
Billboard: When and how did you meet each other? What did you bond over as people, and how soon did you click creatively?
Zeds Dead: I remember having Jauz open for us in Chicago in like 2014 or something. I think that’s where we met. We had been playing some of his songs. He did a remix for Ratchet, I think that’s where we first noticed him.
Jauz: Yep, I think that was the first time. I think that was one of my very first shows ever haha. Was super nerve-racking. I’d always been fans of Zach and Dylan's and the more shows we did together we just all became friends really naturally. They’re some of the few people in our world that I felt like I could really just be myself around from the get go.
This is your second collaborative release. What is it about Zeds Dead and Jauz together that feels so right?
ZD: I think we both have some similar influences, and it’s easy to agree when something sounds good in the studio. We both mess with a lot of different tempos and genres, so it’s nice to never have any expectations going in.
Jauz: I feel like our styles have always been kind of similar while also being super different. All three of us love to produce and release all different genres/styles of music, so playing sets and making music together felt pretty natural. We each have our very unique sounds, but we also have a lot of crossover where it matters, and that’s why I think it was always a no-brainer.
What’s the story behind “Shake?” You premiered it in Miami, but when did it start coming together? What inspired the earthquake vibes?
ZD: We made it in Los Angeles, so maybe it had something to do with the earthquakes recently. I experienced the biggest one I’ve ever felt this year. I was waiting in line for a food truck, and everything was shaking like crazy. There was a chandelier in the store next to me, and it was rocking back and forth like crazy. The ground was rumbling, the truck looked like it might tip over, I was thinking "is this the end of the world?" I didn’t lose my spot in line though.
Jauz: Unfortunately, I’m going to have to burst the bubble here: The title just came from a random vocal sample we found. However, it definitely did feel timely considering all the crazy earthquakes going on. We made like 40 different versions of this song, and after letting it sit for a while, I went back in to work on it and completely flipped it on its head. That was the starting point for the song that is "Shake" today. There’s still a lot of the synth work from ZD in the song that came from older ideas, but we tried to make it feel more melodic and have a call and response instead of just being super rhythmic and one-dimensional.
Have you ever actually felt a club shake?
ZD: We’ve had the bass shake things off the table many times - including the laptop we’re playing off of, stopping the music.
Jauz: Yep, definitely had a lot of tequila sodas never make it to my mouth after bouncing off the decks right as the first drop hits. It’s a casualty of war, I guess.
Neither of you are newcomers to this scene, and you both do a lot to keep your sounds varied and fresh. What about the overall bass music scene has you excited right now?
ZD: I think the scene is very healthy and thriving right now. Lots of excitement for bass music events and artists I’m seeing, and lots of great new music coming out. It’s very nice to see.
Jauz: I agree 100 percent. I think for both of us as artists, what helps things not feel stagnant is we are always making different stuff. Myself personally, I only write whatever kind of music I’m feeling at the moment. That’s why sometimes I put out a bunch of heavy stuff, and then I’ll put out a bunch of housier stuff. Right now, both the house music world and bass music worlds are so exciting and full of incredible music. There’s new artists coming out left and right completely changing the game every few weeks, so it’s a really exciting time but also challenging, but in a good way. Keeps us on our toes.
What about the scene do you find annoying or hope might change?
ZD: I don’t really know. Like I said, I feel like the scene is really thriving right now. I’m not really that conscious of what goes on at a certain level. My scene is really just the studio and what I see at shows, and for that, I can’t think of anything that’s really annoying.
Jauz: I’m the same. I try my best to focus on just what I’m doing at any given moment and not really worry about what’s going on around me, because that’s what leads to us as artists trying to compete instead of just being ourselves.
Anything else you’d like to share about this release, anything you might have coming in the future, or anything you want you to say about life, the universe and everything?
ZD: This song will be on a project we’ve been working on called We Are Deadbeats Vol. 4, which will be coming out in the near future, so look out for that. We also have been working on a ton of new music for a few other bodies of work that we’ll be letting you know more about soon.
Jauz: I’ve been trying to put out as much music as I possibly can for the last few months, and I’m not stopping anytime soon, so expect lots more from myself. We have some really exciting stuff planned for the end of the year and early 2020, so make sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled, because I’ll be talking more about that stuff pretty soon here.
"Shake" is out everywhere on both Zeds Dead's Deadbeats and Jauz' Bite This! label, and while earthquakes are hard to predict, it's almost a guarantee both artists with drop this doozy during their respective sets at Nocturnal Wonderland in California Saturday, Sept. 14.