In this episode from the Emerald Podcast Network, Associate Arts and Culture Editor Zach Price sits down with Oakland-based electronic music producer Zach Krane to discuss Krane’s transition from a nine-to-five job to a full-time DJ, releasing his debut album and his first headlining tour.
Krane’s team gave the Emerald permission to use “Hallow”, “Feel It”, “Next World” and “Nobody But You” from Krane’s debut album, “Fallout,” in this podcast. Check out the release in its eternity on Spotify and listen to more of Krane’s music on SoundCloud.com
Listen to the full interview above. This transcript has been condensed and edited for clarity.
This episode was produced by Alec Cowan.
Emerald: How has this tour been compared to other tours you’ve been on where you weren’t the headlining act? Does your approach change?
Zach Krane: Everything else has either been DJ nights, soft ticket nights or doing support for larger acts.
Something like this though is really fun because I get to play as much of my own music and weird stuff as I want, which really fun. And know that people are more trusting, more energetic and they’re looking for that too. They’re looking for what they know my sound to be. So yeah, it’s cool. It feels really gratifying and validating.
I play a lot of unreleased music of mine, and that’s always a little risk because people have never heard it, they don’t have the melody in their head, they aren’t sure what to expect but I think with a tour like this I have a lot more liberties to push people a little bit.
E: I’d also like to ask you about your musical background. How did you get into DJing and the electronic music scene and how difficult was it to transition from working a regular job to becoming a full-time musician?
ZK: I remember my first booking request came in and it was really confusing. My only exposure to DJs had been weddings and bar mitzvahs so I had to figure out what was going on. It was like $300 bucks to go DJ in San Francisco and I sort of just tricked myself, I was just like ‘I’m just going to say yes.’ I had to learn how to DJ using Ableton in like two weeks, and I just did it and it was really nerve-racking, but it was really funny. I was suddenly being exposed—it was the first time when a part of me was like, ‘oh I can make money off music?’
So that just kept growing and after a little bit of time, I was really careful about when I transitioned from having a salaried job to this, just because I’m a bit of a planner. It was at the point where I could say ‘alright, I can feed myself and pay my bills and in a year if I’m not optimistic about the fact that it’s growing and catching up to what my life was, then I’ll quit. Then a year later I was really optimistic and so I stuck in it, and that was a couple of years ago.
E: I’d like to shift gears a little bit and congratulate you on the release of your debut album, “Fallout. Can you tell me a little bit about what the writing and recording process like for the album?
ZK: This might be true for other people too, but it just starts with a song or two that I feel like I want to take this sound and grow it more. It started with a couple of singles and I thought to myself, ‘oh you know this will make a nice little EP package.’ And the more I kept working on it and sketching it just kind of grew and grew that it got to the point I had to remove songs off of it because it kind of spiraled out of control.
E: Now that you’ve released your debut album and headlined your first solo tour, what next for Krane?
ZK: I’ve got a bunch of singles in the works, that I’m not going to talk too much about. I got a remix package for the album, and we got most of the tracks back with some really cool names on it. Some big names and some really small names, but it’s really fun to hear these songs completely reinterpreted.
I’m working on some apparel stuff to take some of the Krane graphic design and branding. A lot of people have been bugging me for merchandise and clothes and stuff like that so I’ve always procrastinated it because I’m not just going to hire some designer to slap my logo on a shirt and call it a day. I want to do something special so that’s coming along and will come pretty soon actually and the clothing is looking really cool. And then another album in the works that I think is still me, but try to do something different. Not because I’m like letting go of a sound, but I just want to do a different sort of project.
E: What are your career goals or aspirations?
ZK: Just to be involved in music as my career. I think it’s a humble but it’s hard. Being a producer and a DJ is awesome, but the primary thing is being able to think about music all day, being involved in the creative process, this is one way to go about that. I would love this to continue, I’m just realistic to know that it could end. People could lose interest and that’s okay. If I’m not doing interesting stuff anymore that’s my fault. Being able to take something that I’ve spent so much of my free time thinking about, making, analyzing, listening to, being a fan, and now having that as my way of making money and every dayy is incredible. So if I’m involved in music for my nine to five in five to ten years, I’m so happy.
Follow Zach Price on Twitter: @zach_price24