Zak Waters Discusses Music, Hair Product, & Klondike Bars [TMN Interview]

Zak Waters
Over You (Available Now)

We’ve said it time and time again and we will say it again – Zak Waters is the reason for the dramatic rise of unplanned pregnancies around the globe. Whether we like to face that truth or not, we cannot deny his ability to swoon us all with his soulful sound frequencies. We have been featuring most of Zak’s music on TMN for quite some time now and have come to love everything about his music. Not only does he fill our lives with passion, funk, and enough dirty love-making-groove-house to make us want to bump and grind into the night, but he has showed us an entirely new different side to dance music. So we decided that it was time to sit down with Mr. Waters and talk more about his musical upbringing, his recent EP release, and everything else in between. Check out the interview below.

TMN: Hey Zak! Thanks for sitting down with TMN today. We really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk more with us about what you have going on these days. You know, it has been really cool to watch you grow over the past few years from collaborations with Madeon, to Candyland, to Adventure Club and David Dolano, etc. Before we talk more about that side of music, can you tell us a little bit more about your background in music and any instruments you learned to play?

ZW: Well, i’ve been singing my entire life, but it wasn’t until I got into the 6th or 7th grade that I became conscious of it. My grandpa told me to pick up a voice recorder and listen to myself. I realized then that I had something good going on for me so I stuck with it and here I am now! When I was in the 8th grade, I learned how to play the guitar and electric bass.

Funny story about how I learned how to play the bass – I moved to Canada for a little bit and started school a little later than everyone so I was put in band class to which I was forced to play whatever instrument was left. I thought, “Oh shit, i’m going to have to play the oboe or something (no offense to all the oboe players who kill it).” However, it was the electric bass! I wasn’t quite sure why no one wanted to snag that instrument, but I lucked out for sure.  I should mention that i’m actually not that great with the guitar or bass, but I do incorporate these live elements into my music and that’s something i’ll continue to do. When I was 20 I started learning the piano and know that very well. I love everything about that instrument so I love incorporating it into my productions.

*FUN FACT*: Zak was obsessed with 90’s R&B as an adolescent. TMN stamp of approval.

Zak Waters
PONY (Out Now)

TMN: Hey, you could have made the oboe sound really cool had you been forced to play that! (laughs) So we know that you used to be in a band back in the day. How would you say your experience with them influenced your transition into the dance music world?

ZW: To be honest, I really didn’t get into dance music until later on in life. I grew up listening to a lot of old school, 80’s/90’s funk. Eventually I got into hardcore music and guys like The Fray and Augustana. I actually used to hate dance music back in the day, but after I left the band, I stumbled upon Madeon and my opinion entirely changed – and i’m talking 15-year-old original Madeon. Once I heard him I said to myself “Wow, this is good music”.  Hearing Madeon for the first time really opened me up to dance music and I’ve learned to appreciate it that much more.

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[World Cup Rock] Vaudeville Smash – Zinedine Zidane (ft. Les Murray)

Vaudeville Smash - Zinedine Zidane
Vaudeville Smash
Zinedine Zidane (feat. Les Murray)

Zinedine Zidane was one of the best footballers in the history of the sport. We figured this would be a perfect time to show some love to the record with the World Cup going on. This tribute to the legend is much deserved, seeing as he won the “FIFA World Player Of The Year” three times in a row. During the 110th minute of his last game, he was dismissed from the match. Apparently Materazzi made some foul remarks towards Zinedine’s family on the same day he found out his mother was very ill. Although he made a rash decision and got angry, he was one of the greatest players of all time. Since 2013, Zinedine has continued his career as the assistant coach and sporting director for Real Madrid.

I think that’s enough history for now. Back to the music… I’ve never really heard a band like Vaudeville Smash. This band is from Melbourne, Australia and they have an extremely unique sound. This dynamic record is backed up with an awesome video which will pump you up for the rest of the World Cup matches.

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[Hip-Hop] Mac Miller – Melt (feat. ScHoolboy Q) (prod. Pete Rock)

Mac Miller
Melt (feat. ScHoolboy Q) (prod. Pete Rock)
Mac Miller
The Star Room  (OG VERSION)

Mac Miller took to his twitter a few minutes ago to casually let loose an incredible previously unreleased cut that features production from the legendary Pete Rock and a ScHoolboy Q guest verse. “Melt” has a jazzy summer groove to it with layered piano melodies, an addicting bassline and a humming vocal loop. Mac’s goofy flow shines over the lush backdrop and, although we are not accustomed to laid back verses from Q, the TDE emcee switches things up for some smooth, creative bars.

Mac’s most recent album, Watching Movies With the Sound Offwas released exactly a year ago and the SoundCloud description for “Melt” reads ‘movies we didn’t watch’ suggesting it just missed the cut for that project. Earlier today, as further celebration of the album anniversary, Mac also released the original version of the opening song“The Star Room,” which strips down the production completely transforming its tone into a relaxed, introspective one. Check out both of these unique, surprise releases above.

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[Sexy] Mayer Hawthorne – Crime (DYNOHUNTER Remix)

Mayer Hawthorne
Crime (DYNOHUNTER Remix)

Livetronic trio DYNOHUNTER are following the footsteps of numerous other notable electronic musicians from their hometown of Boulder, Colorado, and they’re doing it in a big way. Combining pristine production, soulful sax, live drumming, and heavy electric bass, these boys are doing the Centennial State proud.

With their latest release, we’re offered up a groovy interpretation of Mayer Hawethorne and Kendrick Lamar’s vibe-heavy song, “Crime.” Orchestrating a luscious soundscape, this party song is given a new identity, complete with a smooth bassline, gorgeous melodies, and top notch sampling. What could possibly make this track any better? The fact that it’s available as a free download on their Soundcloud page.

If you happen to be heading out to Sonic Bloom this weekend, make sure to swing by and catch Clark Smith (Sax/Production), Justin Ehmer (Drums), and Fred Reisen (Bass/Synth) live. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

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[Chill] fwdslxsh – With You (P A T H remix)

With You P A T H remix
With You (P A T H Remix)

We know you ninjas love to chill out on “hump day”, so we present you with this beautiful remix. P A T H has been cranking out some serious heat and making his way all over the blogosphere lately. You may not believe it from his mature production quality, but P A T H is only sixteen years old. The fact that his tunes don’t really fit into a specific sub-genre really sold me on his music. His latest production is a spin on fwdslxsh’s “With You”. This remix has my body swaying uncontrollably with the panning on the percussion and chopped up vocals. The pitched vocals and water noises add a beautiful touch as well. Really looking forward to more from this prodigy after this soul piercing track. When it ends you’ll be craving for more; luckily this is a free download so you can enjoy until his next release!

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[NEW] Alt-J – Hunger of the Pine

Hunger Of The Pine

U.K.-based band, Alt-J, blew the music world away with their 2012 debut album, An Awesome Wave, which won England’s highly-respected Mercury Prize and led them on an extensive worldwide tour. After a long hiatus from new music and parting ways with one of their band members, they are back with the lead single from their upcoming album, This Is All Yours.

“Hunger of the Pine” continues the unique, experimental narrative expressed in their first project, but carries a slightly more solemn progression to it meant to capture feelings of longing. The slow-build proves powerful drawing the listener into Alt-J’s deeply and delightfully emotional world. If you listen closely, you may recognize an unexpected, warped vocal sample through out, which the band members identified as Miley Cyrus singing “I’m a female rebel” on her song “4×4.”

Although it is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, the track definitely leaves speculation open as to the direction of their sound making it a particularly compelling glimpse. Stream above and pre-order the album, which drops on September 22nd, on iTunes to get an instant download of this first release.

[via NPR]

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[Denver Giveaway/Event Preview] TMN Presents: ASTR + The Knocks (Live) – 6/24/14 – Larimer Lounge


The Music Ninja is ecstatic to be presenting two of our absolute favorite burgeoning acts, both out of New York, ASTR and The Knocks (Live)  next Tuesday in Denver, CO.  There’s a veritable buzz circulating around the TMN office as of late, and it’s pretty safe to say that is has to do with June 24th. Just 6 months removed from their Varsity EP, ASTR, whose story sounds like something out of a movie, bring their cimmerian, R&B tinged brand of electronica and pop for the first time to Denver with an incredible supporting cast. Also on the stacked bill is a very special live set from nu-disco revivalists The Knocks. While they’ve brought performances with regularity to Denver in recent times, most have come in the form of DJ sets, and to have them plying their craft in their true vision is always an inviting, raucous experience. We’ve once again teamed  up with our friends at the Larimer Lounge to get you ninjas involved in what will be without a doubt a can’t miss concert and one of TMN’s most anticipated nights of 2014. We’re giving away not one, two or three, but FIVE pairs of tickets to our studious readers through Facebook (just follow the instructions below) and for our friends who would rather not take their chances and want to secure a place in what will be a tightly packed venue, grab your tickets here.

Entering is a breeze. Simply “like” The Music Ninja, ASTR and The Knocks Facebook pages and share our Facebook status here for a chance to win! The contest runs until the day of the show, June 24th, at 5:00 p.m., and our winners will be contacted via Facebook but there are a few rules of course:

– You must be 16 or over to enter.
– You are responsible for transportation to the venue
– You must bring a valid form of ID to pick up your tickets at the door..
– You must promise to have as much damn fun as possible on our behalf

Listen to a couple of our favorite tunes below from ASTR, “Operate” and The Knocks “The One” below to tune your cochlear cavities before the show.

The One Ft. Sneaky Sound System
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