Dustin Zahn: I do this because it's in my blood

Categories: Q&A
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It's been a good year for Berlin-based, Minneapolis-raised techno DJ Dustin Zahn. In January, he released an EP called New Day Rising on his own label, Enemy Records. A short time later, it was announced that he had been booked to play North America's most seminal techno event, Detroit's Movement Electronic Music Festival, for the first time. The big news, however, is that his debut full-length album, Monoliths, is out this week via techno powerhouse Drumcode.

In other words, he will have released 16 new tracks in the span of about two months, which would be inconceivable if it weren't actually happening. Gimme Noise caught up with Zahn to discuss his new music, his year so far, and when we will see him next at home in Minneapolis.


How long were you working on New Day Rising and Monoliths? Did you originally set out to produce enough music for an EP and a full album or did it just happen that way?

New Day Rising just came out of stuff I recorded for Monoliths. I started and threw away an album's worth of material about three times. The stuff I wrote for Monoliths came from a batch of just over two dozen tracks. Originally, I planned to release an EP on Drumcode in advance of the album, but scheduling made it impossible.

Is there more of a common theme to the songs on Monoliths than those on the EP?

Well, I think the tracks are much closer aesthetically. They're all a bit more spatial, quasi-dark, and thunderous. They don't feel as random as the EP does. To be completely honest, I don't think the track listing on the single made a lot of sense, but I went with it anyway because it's still a strong record. That random, spontaneous kind of mindset was pretty standard 15 years ago. It made the records and their producers appear more diverse too.

Was the plan always to have them both dropped within a couple months of each other?

It's kind of unconventional, but unconventional is the way the record industry operates these days.

Are any of your achievements so far this year are more important or meaningful to your career?

Nah, I don't care about any of that shit, to be honest. I do this because it's in my blood. I'd still be doing the same thing and I'd be just as happy if I had no achievements or profile. I do this all for myself and my sanity, first and foremost. That being said, everything that comes with success is something I really appreciate and I do not take it for granted in the least bit. I'm proud of it and it does make me happier, but it's simply just nice to have. It's not a necessity. My peace and satisfaction comes with developing the craft.

Can we expect to see you in Minneapolis much this summer? Any Communion appearances planned?

I don't know about how much I'll be around, but I know I'll pop in somewhere! We're planning something special for 4th of July weekend, which is my birthday. I don't know what the plan for Communion is since I'm not too involved anymore. But I think it's safe to say I'll probably be there at least once.


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