Interview With Rising Hip-Hop Artist Zach Zoya
We had a chat with charismatic Montreal-based artist Zach Zoya to talk about his recent releases.
After establishing himself in the Montréal music scene by gaining the support of 7ième Ciel, collaborating with platinum producer High Klassified (Future, The Weeknd), earning a finalist position for the FEQ Rising Star Award at Festival d’été du Québec, and bringing his high voltage live performances to the stages of renowned festivals including M For Montréal and the legendary Montréal International Jazz Festival, Zoya has now partnered with Universal Music for a series of highly anticipated releases to drop this year.
Q1 Your new song ''In Da Way'' talks a lot about achievement and momentum. What’s something that distracts you the most when it comes to that and how are you focusing to get there?
Definitely like an energy thing. Basically what I'm talking about in this song is that you don't want to be working with people that kind of distracts you from the main point you're trying to do, let’s not try to make music and then somebody’s trying to just impede on my vision. There’s a big difference between a collaborative effort between two artists and just somebody giving you insight and like their feedback based off nothing and it's just like ugh. I guess it would be like unrequested opinions. But then again, you get some things you might have not thought of when people are just like ‘’okay but I didn't like that’’ or when a fan or somebody from the audience who might not know anything about music is like: ‘’okay but I heard that’’, and even though you might be like: ‘’okay but it's a weird effect that I did, you just don't understand’’ well if the audience received it like that, it says something about the music.
Q2 You’ve been releasing three singles since the beginning of the year. In the context of the actual pandemic, did it affected the way you are usually working?
Honestly, not really! Songs are usually made in the studio with like one or two people. I have to say like at the beginning of the pandemic, we shut down the studio for the first month when it was really like a big deal, but then we slowly just started picking it back up and you know at the essence, it's a distant thing right. I'm in the studio with my guys over there so it didn’t impede that much on how we work. One thing though is that it affected how I get to work off my own music like performing. Performing is a big part of creating songs cuz it gets a huge feedback. You know what works and what doesn't work so that's really the main difference. If I had performed those songs more if I could have if those songs could have been performed already a bunch of times and in a bunch of venues or a bunch of shows, you can pick up on things, so there's a lot of stage learning that I didn't get to do.
Q3 You’re from Rouyn-Noranda, a small town miles away from Montreal. Because you grew away from big cities, do you think it inspired your work?
I think it plays a role in how I work and I think you can definitely feel it. I just think it makes me kind of unique. I think it sets me apart in a sense that we all got the same info right, we all grew up with the same hits, with the same American hits, with the same European hits, the same Québécois music right. I guess the difference is when you're in a big city, there are some monopolies on the culture so certain things become the norm, and then it kind of trickles down and everybody follows right. So when something's established as a cool thing to do, I think it spreads out like wildfire in a big city like Montreal and maybe a little bit less in a place like Rouyn-Noranda or at least the peer pressure is not as big. I think that's the advantage it gave me, that I didn't grow up loving all the same things as everybody else in Montreal because I didn't have that peer-pressured or like I didn't have specific things. I think that that's the part that you can kind of feel in my music.
Q4 During quarantine, you shared the series DAYZZ OFF which consists of quick 1-minute releases. What was your approach with these videos?
It was basically to show my very regular life like when we make music sometimes, we recreate ideas like with music videos and stuff, you can go and imagine things right. Slurpee and In Da Way, my two latest music videos, are not representations of the reality, it's a world, a creation, an art piece, and DAYZ OFF too, but the point of it all was to make it more documentary and it really shows pretty much when my life looks like for real. The visual shows what I've been doing and the music is just like ‘’let me show you what I can do’’ type of thing.
Q5 What artists have you discovered lately?
I keep listening to new music all the time right, but like only, a very specific few have an impact on me like leave a mark. I mean, definitely Don Toliver, I think he's in a good place. People like Pink Sweat$, but now it's pretty old like it's not my latest discovery. I've been listening to a lot of Lucky Daye, I've been listening to a lot of Alec Benjamin. I've been trying to diversify what I listen to. Honestly, I haven't been listening to a lot of music compared to usually cuz now I'm just in the studio making music, so I try to not listen to everything that's coming out as it comes out to not be stuck in that energy and just create my own things separately. Then sometimes, I'll come back like: ‘’okay let me listen to a Big Sean just dropped’’.