Washington’s ZAK. Gives Us The Scoop On His Melodic New Single ‘On The Line’ (Dissection Interview Series)

Hey ZAK! How are you? 

I’m great Julie thanks for asking, and thanks again for the interview! 

Before we get into the music – give us some background on yourself and your music. 

So I’ve been making music for the past 6-7 years. I’m from Washington state, and consider myself a vocalist / mc. I started out writing poetry, which soon evolved into songwriting once linking up with some homies in college. I used to be a huge old school/underground hip-hop fanatic, but in the last 3 years or so my taste in music, and direction have changed pretty significantly. I’ve been making and releasing music for years, but I finally feel like I’ve reached a point where I have found my lane. 

So you just dropped a song called On The Line. Your submission subject was “alternative r&b song” and I have to admit I was expecting another run of the mill autotune record. This is much different. How do you stay fresh with so many artists following this trend? 

 I initially started out making strictly underground boom-bap ish hip-hop, but once I started experimenting more and more I found my love for melodies was just as strong as my love for rhymes. So I decided to combine the two, with some musical influences from my upbringing, to make what I like to call an “Alternative R&B” sound, music that is rooted in hip-hop, but leans more toward the melodies, smoother flows and more of a focus on the instrumentation and harmonies in the production. 

 Production comes from Eden. How did you guys link?

So myself and Edeez have still yet to meet actually. He is a young producer from Canada. I heard some of his work with Toronto’s Bane, and knew we had to get some work in. We connected via social media. Once I heard that beat I knew that was the one we needed to start with. Expect more work from myself and Edeez in the future. 

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How did the song come together? What was the recording process like?

The song came together very naturally for this one. I had heard of Edeez and asked if he could send some beats thru. He really enjoyed my sound and told me he’d send a pack thru. He did that and I immediately knew we’d be able to cook up some crazy sounds. Once I heard the beat I knew that was the first track we had to cook up. Still haven’t met the dude, but I’m stoked to see where our creative relationship goes, the kid is crazy talented. 

Did the lyrics come easily? What was the inspiration behind them?

The lyrics for this one came very easy. Once I wrote the hook and bridge, I heard the beat drop and knew exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to take the song. The song for me represents everything you’ve put on the line to get where you’re at, and knowing that you won’t let a soul get in the way of where we’re headed. I’ve worked with countless people who talk the talk, but when it comes to down to the work, can’t follow through. After going thru this so many times, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands, and build a new team from the ground up who I knew was going to help me take this to the next level. 

How do you manipulate your voice?

So I use a bit of auto tune on my vocals. Along with more vocal effects, but I’ve been really focusing in on the delivery of my vocals, and learning how to sing certain lines and verses in order to get the type of sound that I want. I’m inspired by an array of vocalists and mc’s but recently my most important goal has been “finding my voice”, and since I’ve been doing that it’s been opening so many doors creatively. So I’m thinkin I’m just gonna keep pushin the envelope and trying new things and see where it takes me. Ever since I started singin more, I fell in love with songwriting all over again. 

What has been the response like for On Your Line? Are you satisfied with how the song is doing?

The response for OTL has been decent. Not quite what I was expecting, but I’ve been gone a while so this track was a nice reintroduction to my music and all of the work we’ve got dropping in the next few months. 

What’s coming next for you? 

Coming next is a whole lot of singles to heat up the summer, get ready for some visuals soon and a project that is already in the works. Basically show the world this sound I’ve been molding, and show em the full range of my versatility as an artist, and then take it to the next level. We’re just gettin started!