As fans of electronic dance music, we all, at some point, have watched our favorite DJs rip through their sets at our favorite legendary venues, complete with flashing lights, screaming crowds, and glorious ambiance. In that exact moment, even if it were just a brief second, we envisioned ourselves on that stage, in control of over 100,000 people screaming your name and following every measure and beat of your set with synchronized shuffling. Then we snap back to reality and realize pipe dreams are exactly that…..dreams.
For one young producer, these dreams kept him awake at night at his bedroom desk, a single lamp light casting shadows under his tired, bloodshot eyes as he powered through production after production on his overheating Alienware computer, trying to create a memorable record that can push him from the rays of a lamp light to the spectacle of a spotlight. He has done exactly that.
Enter Greg Zaccagnino AKA, ZAXX, from Staten Island, NY. If you haven't heard of this 17-year-old prodigy by now, you're missing out on an up and coming contender to take over festival main stages; I hope you don't miss the ride. ZAXX's journey from bedroom producing, to playing along side legends, like Tiesto, is an interesting one. I was grateful for the opportunity to sit down with ZAXX and pick his brain a bit on what it really takes to go from a nobody to collaborating with blue chip artists and grabbing spots in some premiere festival lineups.
“Well, it all started back in 7th or 8th grade and carried on through high school. Some people viewed my dreams as a joke, but there were a few friends that supported me from day one; But I aspired to turn those jokers…into supporters.”
More recently however, ZAXX gained a huge dose of national support for his remix of “Better off Alone” when 3lau dropped the track at this years ULTRA festival in Miami.
“He told me before he was going to play it. Last year at ULTRA, nobody played any of my tracks, so I was skeptical. It was simply amazing when he did though, even though I was watching it from my bedroom on Twitch.”
As we continued the conversation, we discussed his recent success and his introduction to Tiesto that ultimately led to ZAXX flying out to Las Vegas to play along side one of his idols at one of the worlds premiere clubs, Hakkasan.
“Honestly, it still hasn't hit me yet. It's just unreal to see the dreams I've worked so hard for become a reality.”
Speaking a little bit more about his trip to Vegas, it sparked my interest to ask him what it was like being an underage performer in a 21+ club.
“Things are pretty strict in Vegas. I was escorted around the club and as soon as my set ended, I was escorted out. I did however get to stay long enough to play a track with Tijs (Tiesto), which was awesome. The excitement of playing in this legendary club alone is unreal, though.”
Discussing further into his immediate future concerning upcoming festivals and collaborations, ZAXX stayed pretty tight lipped about who he has been working with. But hinted that we will see him printed on plenty of festival fliers this upcoming Summer.
“My supporters can expect a ton of new music, some awesome shows and a bunch of stuff that I'd rather keep as a surprise for now. I have a track with ‘KSHMR' we're excited to release. Sadly, I can't hint at any festivals, but you will find out eventually.”
ZAXX has a new collaboration coming out with Riggi & Piros labeled, ‘Alpha', that will be available June 8th. Check it out here:
Winding down the interview, I always like to get an insight to what inspires the artists I speak to. I asked ZAXX if he only could listen to one song for the rest of his life, what would it be?
“Hmmm…either Pierce Fulton – Kuaga or Skrillex – With You Friends (Long Drive).”
ZAXX wanted to leave all of the aspiring bedroom producers out there a key to success and words of encouragement at the end of the interview. He knows what it takes to take his career to the next level. He did this generously in 140 characters or less!
“If you're a “bedroom producer” here's my advice: Don't release anything until you're ready. Success won't happen overnight and never give up.”