I'm stoked to announce that I will once again be performing at North Coast Music Festival. This year I'm playing a set at The House Tent with my beautiful wife, Coro. Our set starts at 6:15pm and goes an hour. We are directly opening for Chicago legends Gene Farris and Derrick Carter! Don't forget to add us to your custom schedule here!
Traveling to Dayton, OH for my first time to play a good looking festival that is headlined by Bone Thugs n Harmony. I've never seen them perform so I am pretty stoked. I'm starting with a banger Zebo set followed by a special Light Em Up set with my partner PHNM. If you are in the area come out and show some love!
Your boys are back for their 3rd year in a row at Chicago's Spring Awakening Music Festival. We have a lot of new tracks and surprises that we plan to unleash upon the peoples. Have your app ready to rock. If you haven't downloaded it yet, go to www.lightemup.co and download for free for both android and iPhone. We play on the best day, SUNDAY!
It's been a couple of years since I made a "Trap to the Future" mix so I decided to bring the series back and did so with this new one. I have 33 banger Trapstyle tunes on there along with some acapellas thrown in for some added flavor. I'm going to put together some new themed style TttF mixes that I think you will dig. Be sure to show some love and comment and also repost on your social media.
Hey friends, it's been a while. Sorry for not being in communication, but it has been an extremely busy summer. Been working hard with my brother PHNM and our LightEmUp project. If you have not done so, go over to the facebook page for the project and throw us a like. After that go to www.lightemup.co and download our app for FREE for both iPhone and Android.
I wanted to let you know about my new custom snapback that is dropping on October 24th. This is the first merch hat that I have done and I'm pretty damn excited about it. There is a limited number so make sure you get yours as they will go quick. The cost is only $35.
Hey friends, my Light.Em.Up project with brother PHNM has released the Trapstyle mix for our series. We are dropping a mix for every genre in our app, which if you haven't done so, download here. Warning: This mix goes hard in the muhfuggin paint! Make sure you have the proper low end on your sound system to enjoy it properly. Download it HERE.
As many of you know I have a project with DJ PHNM known as LightEmUp. We have an app that goes along with the project that we use at shows. When you get to the party you log onto the app and then every 20 minutes we have a "LightEmUp breakdown". At the end of the countdown you pick a genre of music from the app. Each genre has a color associated with it. You pick the color and then hold your phone up and which ever color dominates in the crowd is the genre that we play next.
We give the party goers the ability to contribute to our set and dictate the musical direction. Because of this, no 2 sets are ever the same and you get a unique experience each show. We noticed people are on their phones at events so why not make that work to our advantage. The reason we did this is because PHNM and I are known for being 2 of the most diverse DJs in Chicago with the ability to play any room. We wanted to create something that was technology driven and unlike anything anyone has done before. I think we did that just right.
I have gone from making the Electric Playground mixes from bi-weekly to every week. If you are in the Chicago-land area you can listen to my mixes on 101.1FM every Saturday night at 12:30am. Each week my mix will focus on different styles of Bass music from Trapstyle to Jungle to Moombahton and so on. For 1.30.16 my mix is hard Trapstyle with a bit of Dubstep flavor.
Be sure to tune in every Saturday as I am joined by fellow Chicago DJs such as Green Velvet, Nosmo, Louie Loop, Kings of Class, Bucky Fargo, and more!
It's been a while since I gave an update on what's going on in my world. First, my new project called Light.Em.Up with my little brother PHNM has been going really well. We just had a crucial new app update and if you have yet to download it please go to www.lightemup.co and do so for both Android and iPhone.
The project focuses on our strengths which is our DJ Skills. Both PHNM and I have been praised and known for our diversity when it comes to music and being able to play any room. With that in mind I got the idea of creating an app where fans would logon to it while at the party About every 20 minutes we do a "Light.Em.Up" breakdown where we have a 10 second countdown and the partygoers get into their app and pick a color that corresponds to a specific genre of music. After making the selection people hold up their phones and which ever color dominates in the crowd, we mix into that genre of music. We give party goers the opportunity to contribute to our set which makes it fun and also a completely unique set each and every time.
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ZEBO – “We See Ourselves The Way That We Think Others See Us”
JULY 7, 2015DJ / Producer, Global, House Music, Interviews, Q&A 317 Likes 967 Views
Zebo packs a cut-up crateful of styles, from hip-hop and B-more to French, Electro, Disco and even a nasty snippet of a techno track or throwback freestyle gem. While this maximal approach might be increasingly common among DJs who cater to the ADD-riddled mash-up club casualties, Zebo stays head and shoulders above the rest for knowing that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Skills can be honed, but taste can’t be taught.
Although house and jungle dominated his early turntable diet, Zebo is a polygamous lover of music, and he hustled to find any opportunity to play, be it raves, loft parties, weddings, corporate parties, in-store events and fashion shows. He is also an instructor at Columbia College teaching both a Club Dj part 1 class as well as an advanced part 2. Outside of which he runs the Chicago-based, Hot Dog Records with partner Marco Morales. A label that focuses on releasing any style of music and artists that represent Chicago.
It is this genuine love of music paired with incredible deck acumen that propels DJ Zebo beyond the reach of all the other DJs trying to out-reference, out-cred and out-mix each other, their varied selections resembling 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound laptop. Zebo’s not simply wearing his musical heart on his sleeve—as the WAV file tattooed on his ever-moving forearm might seem to indicate—but actually spinning dance floor gold with both his technical abilities and intuition in reading the crowd, a modern day Serato-equipped Rumpelstiltskin.
Yet for all his vaunted versatility, no matter what direction his sets head, Zebo’s initial love of jungle seems to subconsciously permeate his music at peak hour, with bombastic basslines rolling on and on underneath familiar hooks and clever samples. Pitched-up, pitched-down, scratched-up and around, Zebo’s a populist at heart, finding the redeeming values in both subterranean cool and overt pop—it’s a delicate tightrope to walk, but this DJ has the balance to pull it off. Check out Zebo’s exclusive Q&A with S&S below.
S&S: What’s your style of music? How do you describe it?
Z: I play what I perceive as “good music” which I realize is completely subjective, but is something that all DJs should do. In my humble opinion there is good music and bad music and that is the two types. Being that it is subjective it makes it so that all DJs are not playing the same tracks.
S&S: Who or what was most instrumental to you when it came to music?
Z: My father was always into music and he got me into it at a young age. He passed away suddenly when I was 8 years old so the rest was my passion for learning music as my mother was not very musically inclined. When I found the Rave scene in the mid 90s I knew I found a place where I felt I belonged. I was blown away by future forward music being played on a retro medium known as vinyl. I wen to my first “Rave” in ’96 and it was all over from there. Before that I wanted to be a radio DJ, but after that first party I knew that the party DJ was the path for me.
S&S: What drives you creatively?
Z: First and foremost great DJs and second hearing new (or even old) great music that I have not been exposed to before. Watching DJs who push boundaries drive me to push my own style of DJing even further. The crowd also plays a big part in this. Being able to give them something different from the next DJ is what pushes me to think outside of the box.
S&S: How much does your audience influence you and your music selection?
Z: I have always been into sociology which is the systematic study of human group behavior. I feel that great DJs are also sociologists as they learn different demographics and what music works for said demographics. This is not saying you can put a specific group of people in a box and only play what you think works for that specific group, but it does give you a framework to go from and take your set wherever you want to go from that foundation.
S&S: What artists or genres do you listen to when you’re not working?
Z: My absolute favorite genre of music to listen to is old Reggae. I really love Rocksteady and Ska from the 60s and 70s and a lot of actual Reggae from the 70s. The style got kinda weird in the 80s, but came back with a vengeance in the 90s with a new style of electronically produced party style Dancehall Reggae. I also like underground hip hop and “Golden Era” Hip Hop from the 90s to today. I also listen to Soul, Funk, Disco, etc… as those genres were sampled in so many of the electronic music tracks I have loved.
S&S: Do you have any favorite memories of growing up with your family?
Z: My childhood was kinda tough with my mom raising me and my sister by herself after my dad had passed away. My mother was also super young when she had me so it was tough for her being a single mom. I do have some memories of family gatherings and I also spent a lot of my pre-teen years traveling around the US with my grandparents. We had some good times.
S&S: Is there anything you would like people to know about you?
Z: My religion is to do good and my country is Earth
S&S: Are there any charities you are working with or excited to tell us about?
Z: I host an annual charity where I take donations for requests and donate the funds to the Pacific Garden Mission on Canal St. I really believe and support what they do to help men, women, and children get back on their feet and get them job training, food, shelter, and tools to be able to take care of themselves.
S&S: Are there any questions that you wish people would ask you?
Z: I can’t think of any question I wish people would ask me. I enjoy any question as it provides learning on both sides.
S&S: And on the flip side of that, are there any questions or references you wish people would stop asking or using?
Z: No, I am cool with every question I’m asked and always answer with honesty. I don’t feel the need to have to tell the world who I am or try to portray something that I am not. So many do that with Facebook and it has distorted our perception on reality. There is a theory that suggests we see ourselves the way that we think others see us so many people use that and their social media as a way to make themselves feel better about themselves or to trick people into believing that they are something that they might not be.
S&S: What artist(s) have you been the most excited to work with?
Z: Opening up for Plastikman aka Richie Hawtin was one of the greatest moments in my career. I have opened up for almost every big name DJ you can think of and I’m blessed to have had those opportunities and experiences. I have also done a lot of work with DJ Godfather and feel he has been a big brother to me and has looked out for me many times and taught me so much! He is an amazing DJ, producer, and person.
S&S: Are there any artists that you dream of working with on a collaboration?
Z: Bob Marley, unfortunately it won’t happen on this plane of existence; maybe the next one.
S&S: What can we look forward to next from you?
Z: More mixes, tracks, and remixes. DJing is my main passion but I have learned to produce and remix as you have to be able to do that this day and age in order to survive in the electronic music game.
S&S: What legacy would you like to leave?
Z: I have already created that legacy by teaching at Columbia College, Scratch Academy, and by giving private lessons. I like showing kids how to DJ and show them the mistakes I made and how I had to learn on my own. I hope by moving them forward and faster than what I did that they will take DJing onto the next level and blow our minds with what they will be able to do.
Photo by K&N Media
The first festival to kick off the season in Chicago... SPRING AWAKENING! 3 Days of the biggest names in the dance music community. Held at Soldier Field, a proper venue to host a large number of people. Be sure to add Light.Em.Up to your custom schedule. If you are not familiar with the project, it is made up of PHNM and I and our app which can be downloaded at www.lightemup.co for Iphone and Android. You get to use our app to communicate with us on the music direction. We have LEU countdowns throughout our set and at that time you get to cast your vote on what genre you want us to mix into next by selecting your color and holding it up at us.
I can't believe I am writing this, but the good people at C3 have booked me to play a main stage at Lollapalooza for the 3rd time since 2008. This year I will be playing with my brother PHNM and our new Light.Em.Up project.
I'm extremely honored to annonuce that I will be doing a tag set with my beautiful wife at Mamby 2015. This is a huge deal for us as I asked her out for the first time at a Mamby party when it was at Moonshine. Edie and I have been doing our monthly party at East Room for about 5 months now and we have packed it out each time. We stick to a strict format showcasing House Music and Disco in all styles both old and new. Expect to hear the same during our set at Mamby. Check the line up on this one. It's pure quality both days.
Last year I was blessed with the "Best DJ" award from the first Chicago Nightlife Awards and it was true honor. The awards are coming back for a second year and being that we live in a city with so much great talent I did not enter the competition but decided to pass along the title to another great Chicago DJ. I'm excited to announce that I will be presenting the "Best DJ" award for 2015 as well as participating on the committee for the event. I encourage all of you to take a few minutes and cast your votes for 2015. The first round which consisted of the nominations has already happened and now each category shows the top 15 that you get to choose from. Click the image to be transferred to the voting page.
SoundCloud can get weird about DJ mixes so I have decided to move the series over to MixCloud. It is a great time to revisit the series if you have not done so in a while. I'm still very proud of all of the mixes I have done with the series and have a special new Trap to the Future mix in the works.
Was honored to be listed as 65 out of 100 in the nations top 100 DJs. Shouts to all of my Chicago family including Trentino who was listed as number 6. Congrats to the homey Morse Code who was listed as number 1. I also have to mention my big brother DJ Godfather who is listed at number 36. These DJ lists are always weird and always seem to piss people off. I see some nice diversity in the list but there are definite placements that made me scratch my head? It comes down to subjectiveness and the individual who created the list so it is definitely not an end all be all. With that said, it is an honor to be listed. You can check the rest of the list HERE.
I'm proud to announce my new project with my brother PHNM called Light.Em.Up. We are a DJ duo that has an app that goes along with our project. Users download the app and use it during our shows. Every 20 minutes we have a breakdown where we tell the crowd to "Light Em Up". At that time they get into the app and select a color that corresponds to a specific genre of Dance Music. They then hold up their phones showing the color of their choice and at the end of the countdown the color that dominates in the crowd dictates the genre that we go into next in our set. The fans get to pick the direction and hear the styles of music that they want. PHNM and I are both known for being diverse DJs that can rock any crowd and we thought it would be fun to include the audience and make them a part of the show.