Monday, 4 November 2013


One man that seems to be working harder than almost everyone else at the moment is Southampton based producer Zha. Championed by DJs such as Spooky and Slackk, I caught up with the man himself for the second installment of the Musically Mad interview series.

Download the mix here

First of all, for everyone not already aware, can you briefly introduce yourself...

Hi! I'm a grime, garage & UK funky producer that makes music under the alias Zha. I'm based in the outer skirts of West London and currently studying Mathematics at the University of Southampton. Not exactly your cliché grime producer but that isn't really a problem these days! aha!

How long have you been involved in music? What made you start producing?

I don't really know why I started making music but it must have been about 2003 when I first got Fruity Loops and, like every producer in the whole world, I made hip-hop, really bad hip-hop. I did this for about two years. I then heard early dubstep and began a more serious approach to music under my Seizure alias.

This music was deep and influenced by Indian, Arab and general ethnic sounds. From 2005 to 2012 I was making deep music and was given the chance to be a BBC Introducing artist amongst other amazing opportunities. It wasn't until November 2012 that I decided to set up the Zha alias. I've always been a grime kid but because of the scene I was involved in I didn't want to affiliate grime with Seizure.

What was the inspiration behind the creation of a grime alias? Was there a frustration at the sort of beats that were prominent at the time?

I've been making grime since 2005 or 2006 but due to my alias constraints, I couldn't put it out there. I suppose it came to a point when I made a Grime track and was just angry that I didn't have a medium to put it out on. And yep, the music that was out and about last year wasn't too great. It's absolutely mental how many incredible producers are hovering in the underground and I wanted to be one of them. I had a strong plan for the year and what I wanted to achieve in terms of remixes, people I really wanted to give my tracks to and how I put out my music to gain exposure and develop a following.

Tell us about your radio show...

So my show is on Thursday every week from 4pm till 6pm. Before I say anything, I have to shout out Beeno, Fish & Pixel for their incredible work and effort into putting together such a professional station. It is coming upto three years of being on Rood FM and I think as it stands, I'm the only Grime show. I probably get the lowest level of people being locked in ahaha but it is because it isn't a grime radio station, but this is the exact reason why I keep doing it. Places like Nasty, Wavey and Deja Vu are incredible platforms to push grime, but to people who already love it. I want to have a platform where there isn't any awareness and cultivate a fresh following.

I hear that! Radio is something I feel quite strongly about. I think grime would be a stronger and more unified scene if more people were involved in radio (as musicians and as listeners). It's just as important for MCs.

I think MCs have a harder task of being "liked" or recognised. If someone doesn't like their vibe, no matter how much radio they do or what they achieve, people can be quite stubborn. As producers, we can make a a million tracks that people don't like but make one that turns someone. Radio would be an amazing place for MCs to experiment or try out new flows and what not, saying that, I now want someone to jump on my Rood sets... ahah!

You're involved in running a number of labels. Tell us about the different sounds you're pushing?

Yep! I don't want to chat about all of them as this section will get really boring, but I'll mention two of them. Fent Plates is a label that is now three years old and released over 50 artists along with plenty of vinyl releases. The sound is deep, sometimes uplifting, sometimes sad music. We're quite "anti-synth" on the label and the key aim is to put out timeless music.

The other label is White Peach which is the complete opposite to Fent Plates. White Peach is a label, vinyl pressing service, digital mastering service and Grime & UK Funky specialist record store. The label aspect of White Peach is to push any form of dance floor music. The next 12" is huge for the Grime scene... I'll say no more.

What should people expect from you in the near future?

So, I have the Jackie Chan EP dropping on Bandcamp soon, we're still filming the music video which is just plain stupid. I have my Dullah Beatz - Kill Confirmed Remix coming out soon and my Spooky - Coolie Joyride Remix coming out on 12" via Ghost House Records. I have two vinyl releases coming out on two different labels, but I'm not sure if I should talk about it yet! I have a bootleg Remix pack coming out for free once my Facebook page hits 500 likes, it has about 6 remixes. I think I have forgotten a bunch of stuff, but this'll do!

Thanks for the interview, any shout outs?

Toooo many to shout out and if I start listing people then people will get pissed when I don't mention them specifically. Big up to everyone that is playing my music on radio and in clubs and to every single person that follows me on Soundcloud, Twitter or Facebook. I've only had this alias for 1 year (mid-November) but it's been a pretty good journey so far! :)

Lethal Bizzle - Leave It Yeah (Zha Remix) [Dub]
Zha - Seduction [Dub]
Zha - Ill Riddim [Dub]
Zha - Warp Feat. Rival [Self-released]
Zha - Deckle Riddim [Forthcoming]
Tempa T - Next Hype (Zha Remix) [Dub]
Zha - Dented [UK Bass Music]
Synikall - Man Like Me [Rub a duck]
Zha - Midnight [UK Bass Music]
Zha - Fall To The Side [Forthcoming]
Zha - Muck [Self-released]
Spooky - Coolie Joyride (Zha Remix) [Forthcoming Ghost House 12"]
Zha - Alexandra Palace [Forthcoming]
Rebound X - Rhythm 'n' Gash (Zha Remix) [Forthcoming Block24]
Zha - Jackie Chan [Forthcoming]