It’s all about Peace, Love & Understanding from the cool soulsters in LA
Interview by Dan Prince
Dimitri, Jerry…a huge welcome to DMCWORLD. Where in the world are you right now?
Dimitri : We’re both in LA, California
Jerry : I’ve just got back from out of town working on movie stuff …
What is the best piece of new music you have heard today?
Dimitri : I’m in love with Disclosure, I love the way they use different artists on their songs
You are about to release your debut album ‘Peace, Love & Understanding’, you must be really excited about it…what was the inspiration behind the project?
Dimitri : We’ve been working on this project for 7 years. The inspiration was to bring songs about peace, love and understanding, adding live instruments to the music to make it sound more organic
You’ve worked with quite a few different singers on the album, tell us about who is involved and what they brought to the project?
Dimitri : For example working with singer Valerie Moise, because she has danced with Madonna and Britney Spears, she already knew how to bring a performance to a song. Another example is Shezere (Love to Love You) she has already worked with The Roots, so she came into the studio and nailed it. The next example is Shellena Black (Jesus Is), I heard her at the club singing (God Bless The Child) and immediately I went over to her and asked would she sing this song that I wrote, you would kill it. After she sang the song she said this song has a special meaning to her, she had just got over cancer.
Please give us a few words on your new musical babies…
1 I Am Beautiful – a song about believing in yourself and loving yourself
2 Time – about missing your lover
3 My Love – it’s a spiritual song about God’s love for us
4 Slave To The Rhythm – it’s about going to the club and feeling good beats and you never want to leave the dance floor
5 Love Of My Life – about having someone supports your goal and dreams
6 Never Forget You – about loving someone and letting them go
7 Love To Love You – about loving someone who’s been really good to you
8 It’s Alright – it’s about seeing the beauty in the world
9 Happy – its about finding your true love
10 Peace, Love & Understanding – its about learning how we can get along with each other and not all this fighting in the world
11 Jesus Is – the song is a testimony about my life
A big quote from you…”It’s an album of songs surrounding the theme of Peace, Love and Understanding: A much needed peace in the world today; agape love and a call for all to seek a common ground instead of focusing on all our differences”. Do you think you were born in the wrong era…?!?!?
Dimitri : No, I think I was born in the right time, because things are worse than they ever were. So now is the time for peace, love and understanding to come out
There’s a real cross pollenation of genres throughout the album, from Jazz, Disco, Funk, Gospel and House music, who are your big musical influences ?
Jerry : David Bowie, Prince, Brian Eno, Sade, Miles Davis, Mark Farina, The Clash, Dub Reggae, Joni Mitchell, Little Dragon, Masters At Work, Daft Punk and Motown bassist James Jamerson
Dimitri : Prince, Donna Summer, The O’Jays, Isley Brothers, Chic, Miguel Migs and Masters At Work
You’ve both had interesting careers in music…let’s dig a little. You formed a Trip Hop band together before called Zumbi, what brought you back together to create Zona?
Jerry : I had been doing house instrumental tracks for my personal enjoyment. The first track would be Peace, Love and Understanding which I produced in 2003. Then Dimitri wrote the lyrics and melodies to the song
Jerry, what was it like workcing with the likes of Snoop Dog and The Roots back in the day?
Jerry : Well I only played bass at a few shows live with The Roots and played guitar on a couple of Snoop Dogg’s songs for Pay The Cost To Be The Boss and Faking The Funk Soundtrack. I didn’t start producing and seriously engineering until 2005 which is how I make my living ever since. I don’t enjoy playing live so much, I live in the studio 12 to 15 hours a day working with DJs, bands and songwriters. I never get bored
Dimitri, you have DJ’ed for some swankiest parties in Hollywood, who is the most famous person you’ve DJ’ed for and where was it?
Dimitri : I’ve DJ’ed for Mike Tyson, David Boreanaz and Buffy The Vampire Slayer – but I also DJ a lot of Hollywood Hills Parties which brought out many stars
What do you prefer most about being in Zona, writing and producing or playing live on stage?
Dimitri : Both
Jerry : Writing
Describe a typical Zona studio session, do you guys just all turn up to the studio and jam or is the writing process a much more technical affair?
Jerry : Well I handle all of the music. Often Dimitri will mouth or reference a certain type of beat or style. And then put lyrics to them. Dimitri sometimes has additional production ideas like “lets put a flute on the intro”. We have had only two outside musicians on these collections of songs. Greg Brown on vibraphone and Greg Velasquez on congas. The band is for live shows only. Dimitri finds different singers to sing his lyrics and melodies, and then the singers are brought to my studio. I record the vocals then mix and master the songs myself
Who’s cool on the LA music scene right now?
Dimitri : Marques Wyatt, Doc Martin, EC Twins, Master Kev and Adam Auburn
Jerry : I don’t really go out too much, I leave that up to DImitri
What’s next on the agenda for Zona in 2016?
Dimitri : To play a lot of live shows
What are the big 5 records in the Zona box this weekend…
Dimitri : Disclosure, Louie Vega, Terry Hunter – Live Together, Demarkus Lewis – Catch The Light, DJ Spen & Joi Cardwell – What Love Gonna Do
And finally – what is coming next from you studio wise?
Dimitri : I’ve just started my own record label 70×7 so I’m going to be releasing music from other artists. Jerry : Keep working in the studio with different artists, my slate is full for a while
‘Peace, Love & Understanding’ is out now via 70×7 Records