Blue Amazon & Zak Gee team up for the release of Nutcracker on Mirabilis
One of the wonderful things about Underground Electronic Music is the magic that happens when multiple artists work together to create something special. With almost every release there is at least one remix, so that the energy of the original can be translated and transformed into a new yet cohesive piece of art, and the perspectives of each musician combine to build something extraordinary. When that collaboration begins at the very beginning, there is even more possibility to showcase the power of combining forces for artistic creation, where each producer adds their own experience to the mix, growing and building off of the other’s energy.
Blue Amazon and Zak Gee have found this within their work together, using each other’s strengths to create music that is not only half of each individual’s efforts, but a combined force which proves that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Lee Softley aka Blue Amazon has been creating electronic music since the mid-nineties, producing legendary tracks such as “No Other Love” and “The Javelin”, and spinning at venues like Ministry Of Sound, Bedrock, Renaissance, Chinese Laundry, and Paradiso. His love for the music has never slowed down, but is only growing as he continues to create. Zak Gee has been similarly passionate about a diverse style of music, but it was his love for house that brought him to London in the 90’s, where he began playing and producing the music that he loved most. As a natural perfectionist and a dedicated hard worker, he keeps on producing mesmerizing music today.
It is with this similar background and long standing desire to create and share quality electronic music that Blue Amazon and Zak Gee produce with today. Their latest release on Mirabilis “Nutcracker” is a dark, techno infused track with edge, with a remix from Nihil Young aka Less Hate that brings some driving melodic vibes. Get it now on Beatport!
Listen to the Nihil Young Less Hate Remix and keep reading to find out more about how the teamwork of Blue Amazon & Zak Gee really works:
How did you decide to start working together?
Lee – It was actually a relationship that was built over a period of time. I was aware of “Zaks” work from friends who run IVR over in Northern Ireland.
Around the same period I started working for Pro B Tech and Zak was one of the first artists I wanted to bring on-board. We were consistently in contact and I also asked Zak to remix a few of my BA things. I probably bombarded Zak with lots of questions regarding how he got his sound and mastering.
We both share a passion for electronic music, in fact for music in general and it made sense to try do something together.
The first project was “Sleep Deprived City” Ep and we have just kind of evolved from there. Remixes followed for others and we were also talking about making an original album.
We decided rather than getting into a full original album that we could initially work with a concept first, this is where the latest editions of the “Interpretations” albums came from.
Zak – I was discovered by Lee and that was for me the best thing ever happened to me. We are the classic combination of DJ and Studio-head – Its a time honored tradition and it really works for us – we both have our strengths and weaknesses but we never argue and we always support each other in work and life – I cannot over-stress just how important this is to our success as we are a solid working unit.
What do you think the other brings to the table that you really appreciate?
Lee – There’s lots of different aspects to the picture and its not just musically either, its also an ethos and ethic about the whole way of working. Project development, having the right attitude and being relaxed about things.
On the technical side Zak has taken a bit of pressure away from me in terms of having to write, mix and complete everything on my own. It’s nice because it gives me a breather from being head locked in technicalities.
For a very long time I had little faith in working with others and found it hard to trust people to be left to work on their own or finish a project. With Zak its completely different, I don’t have to worry about it and have confidence of the output. He’s one of the limited few people I can actually talk to on a technical level about music production.
Zak – Musically we have completely the same ideals – We love music, melody, harmony and groove – there are so many people that are good at underground music we leave it to them – We’ve forged our own niche over the years and it really suits us. I think the best thing is we always do what we want to do and make the music that moves you – we’ve been very lucky that other people seem to love what we do too.
What is your cooperative production process like?
Lee – it’s a bit of a back and forth process as we are generally in two different locations most of the time.
There’s no real fixed rule to it, sometimes I lay down the ideas of track then send it to Zak and he works on it, or its the opposite way around. It’s totally a bi leaded thing, and we don’t get over critical or silly over parts or elements begin removed etc. I’ve often worked with people in the past where there’s this silly attitude that that’s my bit and I want it that way, we don’t do that and we work on the principle that the output is more important than who added the elements that helped create it.
Technically we have similar software and apps etc. – so we are able to easily pick up from each other work via a simple file transfer.
Zak – Technology is moving on every week, so we decided to completely revamp the way we work , our production techniques and some of the styles we work in – It’s been one of the most bizarre times but now we are really firing on all cylinders and will be presenting some brand new material soon. It’s gonna be unique and a real change but still with our in built musicality – you have to move forward and cherry pick the parts of new sounds you like if you’re going to keep going and having success, and although everyone bucks against change initially it’s been the most rewarding six months of work I think we’ve done.
What is your favourite studio toy?
Lee – This is something Zak answer really, otherwise id keep you here all week.
Zak – Although I absolutely love VST’s, I can’t deny that my favorite and most used toy is NI KOMPLETE 11. Waves complete also really offer some great tools for sonically treating sounds. We have also played around with acoustic tools recently such as “Sonarworks” and measured the acoustics of our rooms etc
Where do you find the greatest inspiration?
Zak – We are influenced by so many genres and heroes we couldn’t pick just one. If you listen to the album its quite obvious sometimes who we have been influenced by on certain tracks – wink wink!
Lee – Inspiration for me comes from different sources but a lot of the time it’s a flash light moment that hits me and not planned. I could wake up one morning with an idea or be in the shower, the ideas come very frequently and then it’s a matter of putting them into practical terms.
Musically I’m very inspired by artists, who not only make good music but also develop their own unique sound and play on things. I’ve often talked about my admiration of “Arjun Vagale” after seeing him develop his career from Zero to Hero.
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