When you hear the term "G-House", artists like SNBRN come to mind. As the genre continues to grow, especially on the West Coast so do the artists that produce it. Emmanuel Vazquez or NZN is another aspiring artist with a speciality in crafting G-House.
NZN's musical career is proof that you should do what you love. Vazquez gave up a career as an engineer after studying at California Polytechnic State University to devote himself to music and learn his new trade at the Icon Collective Music Production School. He's definitely an artist to watch in 2017. After releasing his latest original track "West Coast House", NZN went 'Behind The Beat' for an exclusive interview.
Only The Beat: Take us back. When did you know you wanted to become a producer? Where was your first official gig?
NZN: I've always been naturally drawn to music production. Back in high school my buddy and I got a copy of fruity loops. We had no idea what it was or what we could do with it. I also had a cellphone where I used to make beats on there. Later, I came across Sony Acid Pro and made an instrumental album called, The Chronicles of Barnaby. In college is when I started making custom mash-ups while djing. I got Maschine and Ableton live-intro but was still only messing around. And then one day my wife and I saw the episode of Master of the Mix on VH1 where we saw Loczi kill a remix challenge and he mentioned he went to ICON. And that was moment where I knew I could finally wrap my head around what music production is. My first official gig came shortly after I started ICON and I got to create a theme song for a YouTube series.
OTB: Where does your stage name "NZN" come from?NZN: When I started djing I would throw weekly parties at my house. And to no surprise the cops were usually called. This one time a man came up to my house with a flashlight and told me to knock it off. I told him I work hard and pay my taxes so I slammed the door. Two years later he literally becomes my boss. He always referred to me as his 'Noi Z Neighbor'.
OTB: Who or what has been most inspirational and/or helpful in your music career?
NZN: Honestly it has been such a journey of mentors, artists, books, athletes, entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs, friends, family and life experience. But, through all these I found the recurring message, we get one life, know your worth and make the most of it. I find myself wanting to be an advocate of this message to others and music has been a natural platform.
OTB:You attended the EDMBiz Conference this past year. How important is it to network in the music industry?NZN: It is crazy how important it is to network. There's that saying, your net worth is proportional to your network. Not only is it crucial, but it's not complicated to network as long as you know who you are and what you represent. People usually pick up on good vibes.
OTB: You just released a new track "West Coast House". Can you tell us little more about this track?NZN: My buddy, Krewe, and I were having the infamous we gotta collab conversation. So, we actually set up a session at the ICON studio in Burbank. We laid the drums down and decided to move onto the bassline. We had this bouncy rhythm going and I won't ever forget, we just started bouncing in our chairs. I posted a quick video on my Snapchat and people were feeling it. From there we just chose the elements that reinforced the bouncy theme and the rest wrote itself. The name 'West Coast House' was a placeholder but as we worked on it and finished it, the title just felt right.
OTB: What is your favorite track the you produced and one that you did not produce?NZN: One of my favorite tracks that I produced was my "DOPE" release. This track meant a lot to me as an artist. I wanted to release a track that I really liked but was not perfect. I wanted to purposely put myself in a position of criticism so I can get past it and grow as an artist. The track that's my favorite that I didn't produce would have to be SNBRN's Let's Ride Remix. The Game's Let's Ride track usually found it's way into my sets, but with that SNBRN remix, it's a staple now.
OTB: What advice do you have for anyone thinking about starting a music career?
NZN: That it will take a lot of discipline and as mentioned in the question, it is a career and needs to be treated as so. The hours of dedication and the life long commitment to continued learning shouldn't ever feel like a sacrifice but just should be what you do.
OTB: The West Coast music scene is very competitive. How do you stay competitive and get your music out there? NZN: It definitely is but there's an upside to it. As long as you have something unique and authentic, it will come across through your music and connect with people. What has helped me is when I have put myself/music in a position to be discovered while not spamming people. Spamming not only doesn’t work, it leaves a bad taste.
OTB: What can we expect from you this year and big releases, collaborations, shows?NZN: This year I'm really looking to focus on my sound and push the boundaries of G-House. Philzen and I have a release in the works that's gonna push on that G-House fence. As far as big releases, I have a few planned for the year but I'm always looking for new opportunities. With each release I'm looking to grow as an artist and reach more people to share the message, know your worth and put in the work to realize it.