Schaut man sich das Ranking der besten DJ-Mixes des letzten Jahres auf Rate Your Music an, überwiegt neben PC Music-affiliates vor allen Dingen ein Name: Baby Zionov. Der junge Neuseeländer hat gar den ersten Platz inne und übertrumpft damit sowohl DJ-Legenden wie Marcel Dettmann und Move D, als auch heißen Scheiß wie Lotic oder eben besagte PC Music. Für Zolin fertigte er abermals exklusiv eines seiner exquisiten Sets an , das seine üblichen unüblichen Trademarks beeinhaltet: Eine Laufzeit von knapp über 10 Minuten bei einer schier unendlich langen Tracklist. Wie das geht? Extreme BPMs und eine Orgie an Mash-Ups. In dem zum Mix gehörendem Interview klärt Baby Zionov das Konzept hinter seinen „Audacity-punking“ kommenden Projekten, sowie erhaltenen Props von A.G. Cook.
Where have you been hanging around lately?
My room, I guess.
Where and when was the mix recorded?
It was put together over about a month at the beginning of summer, my first summer out of high school. I make my mixes in Audacity, cutting/pasting/manipulating tracks by hand (a technique my friends and I call “Audacity-punking” due to the rough, handmade, “gridless” feel it gives off) which gives me pretty much infinite time to play around with my ideas and just pile endless amounts of shit into it, so there isn’t really one point when it was recorded. Most of it was done in the aforementioned room but some of it was done on my laptop on the bus, and lots of it was formulated in my head while just generally living life. Sometimes I get obsessed with a track I just discovered and immediately find ways to shoehorn it into the mix, or two songs just pop into my head already basically mixed – DJing a lot makes you realize that if you take literally any two tracks, beatmatch them, and play them at the same time, it’ll usually sound pretty good, which takes the magic out of a lot of mashups but is also liberating in its own way, because the possibilities are so endless.
Is there a concrete concept behind the mix which differs from your previous mixes?
Not exactly – I’ve done “conceptual” mixes before (a mix using only rap acapellas and video game music, a ghettotech mix and eurobeat mix overlayed on each other, a chopped & screwed tape of “gay boy cry jams”) but those rarely seem to come out as successful as the ones that are basically just explorations of my own musical psyche. I grew up basically on the music from “Dance Dance Revolution” and the Sonic the Hedgehog games, as well as dumb Euro-Trance and some anime music or whatever. But my love for those was repressed in my early teens along with my femininity and my confidence, and I started getting into a lot of rock music and experimental music instead. If I appreciated pop music, it was from a really tokenistic and detached perspective, because I was afraid to confront it in any real way. Most of 2014, when I started making these mixes, was about undoing that repression, getting my confidence back, having a lot of realizations about my gender, sexuality, identity, etc. – that led me to abandon most of my interest in post-punk or whatever and get back into this kind of unabashedly dorky, bubbly, feminine music. So my mixes are partly a way of processing that and trying to reconnect with myself at, like, 10 years old, reconciling that with the person I am now. So I guess in that sense it’s music about queerness, identity, and growth, as well as music about music, as I guess any DJ mix has to be.
Could you name 3 headlines that characterize the mix?
“Gay Space Travel”
“Baby Zionov vs the Lizards”
“Bubbly Laser-Sound Boogie Shoes Spasm Classics”
Your mixes are always about 10 minutes long which is quite short compared to typical mixes or sets. Why did you choose to do it that way?
I like dealing with extremes in tempo, I guess; everything I make ends up either above 170BPM or below 100BPM. It’s a way to easily squeeze new dimensions out of already existing music, but too much of it is often exhausting and can actually fuck with your perception – everything I listen to always sounds excruciatingly slow if I’ve been working on a mix for too long. Also, I generally prefer just showcasing an idea once than letting it go on too long. It’s cool to have like a 10 minute mix that has as many ideas as an hour long mix, and then you can just listen to it six times if you want – I’d rather leave the listener wanting more than have them getting bored. I think it would be cool to eventually make a really sprawling, massive, dense work, though, something like Bitch Ass Darius’ “Follow the Sound” (my all-time favourite record.) Every time I start on a new mix I think “let’s try and make this one, like, an hour long,” but I usually have said everything I want to say by the 12 minute mark.
Do you plan to produce own songs or do you see yourself more like a DJ only?
Taking tentative steps towards original stuff. I released a couple of “original” tracks a few months ago – one of which I use in this mix and fuse with SOPHIE’s “Lemonade” – which are still Audacity-punked and very much based around samples, so they’re more like extensions of my mixes. But I’m starting to try and figure out how to use Audacity to make stuff basically from scratch (as well as stuff like a recreation of the Sleng Teng riddim, also in this mix), and there’s a few projects floating around with regards to that, including a netlabel thing (called “Davewave”) with some others that will hopefully get off the ground soon! On the other hand, I’ve also been trying to figure out how to recreate these mixes in a live setting and do actual DJ things, so it’s going both ways, I think.
How much are you influenced by today’s very popular Bubblegum scene with PC Music, Sophie and others?
I’m a massive fan – it’s pretty much my favourite music in the world. It was pretty lucky that they got big when they did, since it coincided exactly with me getting big into dance and pop music and probably fueled that obsession – it was very refreshing to hear music that sounds exactly like how I feel and think and am! I’m pretty disappointed with the way a lot of people seem to read it as a “troll on the music industry” or as very cheap, disposable stuff, because it’s obviously such well thought-out, creative, exploratory music – it has such a unique timbral personality, and just a really refreshing attention to detail, world-building and such. I sample at least four PC tracks in this mix, including a Cassie track that was used in A.G. Cook’s “Radio Tank Mix” (an AMAZING mix that pretty much operates entirely on its own internal logic) so I’m pretty open about the influence they’ve had on me. I guess it’s the music that helped me realize that my love for chipmunked vocals, my interest in goofy pop, my random noodlings in Audacity, etc, were legitimate and had an audience and could be used to make music. I’m pretty indebted to them. I actually sent one of my mixes to A.G. Cook at one point and was really starstruck when he responded and complimented it.
-Zionov vs. the Lizerds-
Divlja Grupa – Harp Bass
Nicki Minaj – Roman Holiday
Classics of Game 001
D.JW – Spica
A.G. Cook – [untitled]
Cajmere – Perculator
Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl
DJ Deeon – Phase III
Davina – Don’t You Want It
Lil Jon – Get Low
Sentinels – Love Rhythm
Luke – I Wanna Rock
Sunshine Productions – Above The Clouds
-Gay Space Travel-
Cory in the House – White House
SOPHIE – Lemonade
Baby Zionov – Nobody Wants to Dance
Cassie – Not Love
DJ Deeon – The Dick
DJ Irresistible – Fancy (Jersey Club Remix)
DJ Deeon – Housework
Tornados – Telstar (Commodore 64 Version)
Nicki Minaj – Stupid Hoe
DJ Funk – Pop Them Thangs
SoulEye – Positive Force
Black Eyed Peas – My Humps
GFOTY – KISS
-Blood & Oatmeal-
Ursula – Young People
(some ragga jungle acapella i can’t remember)
Baby Zionov – Sleng Teng
Doopees – Astro Age Steel Orchestra Plays „Look For A Star“
Martyn – Alldayallnight
Princess Superstar – Perfect
Loop 7 – The Theme (The Legend)
Kylie Minogue – Step Back in Time
Lala Moore – Over the Clouds