THE BIRDHOUSE 136: ZDS Interview

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For episode 136 of THE BIRDHOUSE, I am happy to welcome longtime Dirtybird artists and my homie, Nat Self aka ZDS to the show. All the way from London, ZDS has been signing records with Dirtybird for nearly ten years. His first single "The Dance," was released on DB020 in 2009 back when he still went as Zombie Disco Squad. Fast forward ten years and a lot of good times later, ZDS has had multiple releases on Dirtybird, played Campout and is finally doing his first BIRDHOUSE guest mix. His most recent release on the label, "Sweat" featuring KE was a huge hit, seeing support from top DJs and tastemakers around the world.

Aside from Dirtybird, ZDS has released music with notable imprints such as Toolroom, Play It Down and Snatch! among many others. A talented musician and an all around great person, Im excited to share this guest mix with you all. Check it out below and read on for ZDS's BIRDHOUSE questionnaire.


How did your music career get started in earnest?

Me and my mate were putting on parties that got pretty successful and we started playing around the UK and Europe quite a bit. A string of records that did pretty well and a residency at Panorama Bar made it into a job I could live from.

Where are you from and does it have an influence on your music?

I'm from Brixton which is in south London and it had  a massive influence on my music. Brixton was the home of some of the most exciting radio stations (legal and illegal) when I was growing up. From a young age, I was exposed to all sorts of underground dance music. I think pirate radio has shaped so so many uk artists.  

How many times did you want to quit trying to make this your career?

At least three or four. I've been Djing professionally for a few years now and there are times when you are tired as hell and I have thought this is really not worth it. I normally snap out of that mood pretty fast though, normally when I have a great show or hear a amazing piece of music. I think it's a common feeling amongst most pro Dj's.

What was one piece of equipment that helped define your sound early on?

I have pretty much always been 'in the box' (only used a computer) and so I guess the thing that shaped my sound most were my technics 1210's. I used to buy armfuls of odd records from bargain basements and go through sampling them. Sadly I no longer have the decks and I really miss 'em!

When you were getting started, which artists did you try to emulate (both musically and careerwise)?

Switch. I was blown away when I first heard his music. It sounded like nothing else out there.

Music For Freaks and The Classic Music Company  - again it was just so individual.

Green Velvet: IT'S TIME FOR THE PERCULATOR - this record is basically my all time favorite record and I reckon you can hear it's influence in every record I make.

Dirtybird: At the time when Dirtybird hit London everyone was into really dry minimal music and a friend played ‘Chimps’ and I was like what the hell is this and have been a fan since,

Careerwise I have never tried to emulate anyone, which is probably a bit stupid. I'm only really interested in music, I probably should focus on that side of it a bit more.

When you have a tough week or a rough tour, how do you get yourself back on track?

Mediate. It sharpens the mind up nicely.

Where and when are you at your most content/happiest?

I love Barcelona.  Going for walks along the coast near the city are some of my happiest memories.

Do you have any secret hobbies or hidden talents?

I do a fair amount of painting and photography. I sometimes think I might be better at painting than making music.


Favorite and least favorite colors?

Blue - Beige.

Favorite and least favorite words?

Bawdy - Moist.

Favorite animal?

Monkey. Dog's are a close second doh.

Favorite board game?

Monopoly. I cheat btw.

Favorite guilty pleasure food?


Favorite guilty pleasure song?

I heard Ice Ice Baby for the first time in years the other day and did think it's not horrible.

German or Detroit techno?

Tricky one. Prob Detroit.

Festival, club or illegal warehouse?

Outside day party in the sun. dunno where that fits.

Biggie or Tupac?

Biggie. I never really got why people rate Tupac.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Trek.

Exercise or Netflix?