Zeds Dead is a Canadian electronic music duo from Toronto, Canada. Dylan Mamid, also known as DC, and Zachary Rapp-Rovan, also known as Hooks, rose to prominence releasing original music and remixes from 2009–10 before becoming a staple on the international touring circuit thereafter. Today, they are known for their exploration of a diverse variety of genres that combine aspects of UK garage, house, electro house, hip-hop, glitch, drum and bass, and more.
Career In The Beginning (2004–2006)
Mamid and Rapp-Rovan were born and raised in Toronto, Canada. The duo were introduced through mutual friends in 2004 when DC asked Hooks to paint a graffiti mural in his garage. They quickly discovered a mutual love for hip-hop and at the same time were both starting to produce music. They began to collaborate under the moniker ‘Mass Productions’. Mass Productions (2006–2007)
In the summer of 2007 Mass Productions independently released their first and only official release. The album was heavily influenced by 1990s hip hop. However, Mass Productions did not garner much attention outside of the local scene. Formation of Zeds Dead (2009–2010)
DC and Hooks both began to take an interest in electronic music, and began producing dance music under the name Zeds Dead. The group initially found a niche audience on MySpace.
Zeds Dead self-released their first track together, 'Journey of a Lifetime', for free. They played their first live set at The Social in Toronto on June 11, 2009. Bassmentality (2009–2013)
In 2009 Zeds Dead founded a weekly party called Bassmentality in the basement of the Toronto bar 751. The party was intended as a venue for new DJs to play, unrestricted by concert promoters. In the summer of 2010 Bassmentality moved from the basement of 751 and into Toronto's Wrongbar.
Bassmentality featured weekly performances from its founders, Zeds Dead and The Killabits, as well as rotating slots of local and international acts. Over the four years that the event existed, it hosted early performances from several now-acclaimed artists such as Skrillex, Borgore, Nero, Camo & Krooked, Bare Noize, and Bar 9, among others.
In 2011 Zeds Dead released the track 'Bassmentality' with The Killabits, named after the event. Early touring (2009–2010)
Zeds Dead began their first official North American tour in December 2010, playing over 40 shows in Canada and the United States. They made their European debut in June 2010 in the UK, playing a string of dates around the electronic music festival Gottwood in Wales. The Graveyard Tour in 2011 was the first tour of its scale for Zeds Dead. From September to December the duo played over 50 dates across North America. International touring and releases (2011–present) Victor EP
The Victor EP was released in March 2012 on Mad Decent's Jeffree's label. The album was a collaboration between Zeds Dead and Toronto-based artist Omar LinX. It featured Omar's rap vocals over seven Zeds Dead tracks. DatPiff called the album '[a fusion between] nostalgic 90s sample-based hip hop [and] futuristic bass [with] cinematic soundscapes.'
The music video for the single 'You and I' was shot throughout North America during the Living Dead Tour and received over 13 million plays on YouTube. The Living Dead EP
The Living Dead EP was released in July 2012 on Ultra Records and was the second collaborative album with Omar LinX released that year. A music video was released for the title track on July 12. The video featured actor Peter Greene who played the character Zed in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, the film that inspired the duo's name. Hot Sauce EP
The Hot Sauce EP was released in January 2013 on Diplo's Mad Decent label. The EP was noted as a breakout album for the group. The first single, 'Demons', had a music video made directed by Benjamin Millepied, the dancer who choreographed Darren Aronofsky's 2010 film, Black Swan. The video reinterprets Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. The single was also featured in the video game Saints Row IV, and the film Step Up: All In.
Zeds Dead received a cease and desist order from the hot sauce manufacturer Tabasco regarding the album's original artwork. Tabasco believed the artwork to be overly similar to their branding. Zeds Dead was subsequently forced to remove all original art and promotional videos for the album. Somewhere Else EP
Zeds Dead released the Somewhere Else EP in July 2014 on Mad Decent. The album contains collaborations and features with Twin Shadow, D'Angelo Lacy, Omar LinX, Big Gigantic, Bright Lights, Sean Price, Perry Farrel, and Dirtyphonics. Somewhere Else charted on several Billboard charts upon release, including the Billboard 200.
Prior to its release, the single 'Lost You' featuring Twin Shadow & D'Angelo Lacy was intentionally leaked online by Zeds Dead through a Craigslist missed connections ad in which users were sent a short clip of the video upon responding. In May 2015 the video for 'Lost You' received an MMVA nomination for best EDM/Dance video and won the award for Best Post-Production. 2 Night Stand Tour
In 2015 Billboard exclusively announced Zeds Dead's 2 Night Stand Tour, and plans for a new album in 2016. The tour aimed to take the duo off the festival circuit and place them in historically significant venues in major North American cities for two nights each.
A portion of the proceeds from the 2 Night Stand tour went to benefit the Florida rehab clinic Recovery Unplugged.
On the Austin stop of the 2 Night Stand tour, Zeds Dead attached heart rate monitors to four fans during their set and analyzed the results. The test concluded that there was a clear rise in heart rate during the performance and a correlation of heart rate peaks during key points in the set. Record Label and Debut Album (2016-Present) Deadbeats
On March 1, 2016 Zeds Dead announced they had launched their own record label, Deadbeats, alongside the release of a new track 'Back Home' featuring Freddie Gibbs. Northern Lights
On October 14, 2016 Zeds Dead released their debut full-length album Northern Lights through their label Deadbeats, and subsequently embarked on a tour of the same name. The album has a wide variety of features including Rivers Cuomo and Pusha T on 'Too Young', and Diplo and Elliphant on 'Blame'.