November 13, 2015

Get your party hat on and get set to celebrate the fifth birthday of Red Bull Studios, London. Prepare your ears and eyes for a week-long takeover celebrating all things music and art. We caught up with emerging artists, SAZ Project who were selected by The 405 as ones to watch. We chat inspirations, guilty pleasures and creative processes.

UO: Did you grow up in a musical household?

Zane: Yes, my grandparents had nine children, all of them musical, whether making or playing. All have had musical careers of some sort at one point in their lives. My mum sings and was pregnant with me when she was performing on GMTV with her band. My family are super supportive, so I especially like to get the family on my sound too.

KB: Sadly no, I developed an interest in music myself as far back as I can remember.

UO: What kind of music did you listen to growing up and how has that influenced your sound now?

Zane: I grew up listening to a lot of punk/rock from bands like Fightstar, Linkin Park, Blink 182, Lost Prophets. Indie has played a big part too; Bloc Party and Foals at the top of the list. I love alternative/folk too which shows in my acoustic playing. I love Ben Howard, Andrew Bird etc. All of our influences form the mix that is our sound now. Production wise, hip-hop. And I love the heavy transitions you get in J-Rock too.

KB: I can’t say a particular kind, but I grew up mainly on modal jazz, indie, grunge, grime and hip hop. All very different sounds, but it all makes sense to me and comes together quite nicely in my playing/music making style. Very specifically Foals, John Coltrane, Nirvana, Skepta & Biggie Smalls.

UO: When did you meet and how did The SAZ Project come about?

Zane: Seon and I were the original SAZ duo. We started producing under the name at the end of 2012, and started the SAZ Project art community in 2013 as a means of sharing our music, bundled with talented artists as a means of exposure for the both of us. Seon went travelling at the end of that year and I’ve been everything since then. Kelv and I met Februry/March of last year (2014), and he became a member straight away. We made three songs that first day.

KB: We met nearly two years ago and the SAZ Project came about because of the contacts we have made over time with a bag of artists through having them working on song/album cover art for our releases. It’s a way of showcasing their artwork and forming a creative community in which like-minded people can interact and vibe.

UO: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

Zane: All the best things that can come from music aren’t always visible. You can forget the power of music until someone tells you your music has had a positive effect and got them through a dark place. Kelv got into uni through the music. Some things don’t directly benefit me, but they’re more than worth it.

KB: It’s kind of corny but the most important lesson I’ve learnt so far in my time here is that things really do heal with time, and that if you’re in a miserable situation in life, things will get better you just got keep going with it. Not trying to get emotional or anything, but it’s a very valuable lesson. Positive thoughts are everything.

UO: Who or what inspires you both personally and professionally?

Zane: Life, love and troubles. Things everyone goes through. I just want to make great music that people can live to, have memories to, and that will make them think or feel.

KB: I’d say God, because he told me to be myself at all times whether that’s leisure or business, and it works pretty well.

UO: What’s your creative process? From initial idea to finished product?

Zane: The process is generally to lay down some drums, play 2-6 layers of guitar depending on the feel, record some bass, freestyle while I’m doing so and if there’s something happening in life that second I’ll put it into words as best I can at the time. Some songs can take us ten minutes to an hour from conception to finish, but with songs that mean a bit more to us, sometimes I’ll come back to it and layer little bits like painting stroke by stroke over time. In the end are songs that capture not just the thoughts or feelings, but months worth of memories by the time they’re finished.

KB: Usually I start hearing music in my head, it’ll be either lyrics or melodies, rhythms, simple ideas that I start generating and then I get them down either on paper or on the guitar or bass. Then I link up with Zane, we get the ideas recorded but in loads of different takes so that we can pick and choose the best from each one. From there its a process of refining everything, giving it structure and especially soul! Every sound is organically made, even the samples are made purely from chopping up recordings of guitar/bass/vocals.

UO: We love the artwork for your singles – can you tell us a little about where the idea came from to pair up with artists, and what it means to you?

Zane: As I was saying about the SAZ project, we wanted a medium of sharing our music that gave incentive to come look, but also an incentive to share, based on an idea of mutual collaboration. We’re all going through our own journeys and collaboration is an important thing to us.

KB: Thanks! It kind of coincides with the SAZ project and community, with all this artwork being sent to us we put it to good use. We want really cool artwork to represent our really cool music! They are all sourced from friends/associates which we are in contact with directly in most cases. We like to give them 100% creative freedom when it comes to creating the cover. I guess because we are interested in seeing what our music makes the artist feel or visualise.

UO: What are you hoping to do/achieve next in 2015 and beyond in 2016?

Zane: We’ve got a few things in the pipeline, including a few film soundtracks, tours, visuals for both Chances LP and new materials, executive production on Miraa May’s next album, a SAZ x Joe James tape…

KB: I’m hoping to be able to get into a position where I can make music my life so that I can do my modelling and my music and not have to stress out about trying to live a 9-5 lifestyle that I have no interest in doing. We want to ‘blow’ and have been working hard to be able to have our passion as our jobs and get away from the system.

UO: What are you hoping to get out of your time at Red Bull Studios?

Zane: Some engineering tips – I produce everything, but I’d love to have a professional’s eye for a while. Pick their brain so that I can take the knowledge with me when I leave.

KB: Well at the session today we managed to wrap up our latest single ready for release which was great, so shout out to the Red Bull Studios fam! If we have other opportunities to work in the Red Bull Studios, I think Zane would agree that making an album would be ideal.

And finally…

I’m currently listening to…

Zane: The NEW SAZ tape!
KB: oe James Flames!

My guilty pleasure is…

KB: Dancing in the shower

My favourite city in the world is…

KB: Natal, Brazil

Our dream collaboration would be…

Zane: Personally Ben Howard/Bloc Party, Mac Miller
KB: Young Thug