Dreambass bossman Zent goes IN on this wild session ahead of our Rough Tempo takeover
Just days remain until 1 More Thing hits the road for our two day anniversary celebrations!
On June 17 we’ll be taking over Planet Wax, London with Trex, LSN, Scartip, Ghost Hardware, Baronna, Plasmator and Lakeway.
Then on June 18 we’re heading to Braintree, Essex for an all-day takeover at Rough Tempo’s Attic bar with the likes of Guzi, Anna Key, Simulate, Stonx, Shayper, E-Lisa, Zoner, R3IDY, Trauma DBC and DJ Zent who’s passed through with this absolute killer 1 More Mix session to celebrate…
A wild ride through the many shades and flavours of the DJ Zent sound and his label Dreambass Records (which is also celebrating a year in the game this month), the Manchester-based artist was last spotted on 1 More Thing with his tune Bun Dat on the 1 More Tune Vol 2 album. We caught up with him to find out what he’s been up to since… And what we can expect on June 18 at Rough Tempo. See you there!
You’re about to celebrate a year of Dreambass Records with a big VA release aren’t you?
Yeah we are! We actually turned one in April but with everything else I’ve been doing, the release has ended up a little later. We got the best of collection and some exclusives in there to make it special.
A nice point in time to reflect and look back!
That’s right. It was Jayline who suggested doing a best of album. It’s a good way of being able to put the spotlight back on music we’ve released so far, so if anyone’s missed anything they can catch up.
Totally. You can never keep up with every release, there are so many!
Yeah I know! It can seem quite daunting in that way but you’ve got to look at that positively; it’s great that there’s so much music out there and we’ve got so much to choose from.
Yeah you’re absolutely right. What have you been up to since we last spoke around the 1 More Tune album?
My main focus has been building my studio, that’s coming along nicely now. I’ve basically been jumping back and forth between that, making tunes, gigs and DIY around the house. We moved to Manchester last November so there’s a whole load of things that need doing as we settle in. So yeah I’m not bored!
Haha. The studio sounds cool. This is like a dream studio situation isn’t it?
Yeah it’s definitely something I’ve thought a lot about since I started producing five years ago. I’ve been saving and planning for this for a long time. I’ve done a lot of research, I’ve had advice off some good people. I’m building the whole studio on thick rubber mats, it’ll be in a detached garage. It’s all coming along nicely now.
Awesome. I remember when we last spoke, you explained how you’d come into production a bit later on in life as your career had taken over for years, right?
That’s right yeah. During that awful time we had for a few years a lot of DJs had their whole livelihoods taken away, that made me thankful that I did have a trade to fall back on. So I’m grateful I have a trade but if I could go back in time I probably would have picked music.
I hear you! Work took over too much of your life, didn’t it?
Totally. It’s something I think a lot of us can identify whether you’re self employed or full time. You go for that promotion, you take that extra job on, you get the bigger contract. It’s the culture. We’re pushed into it. And when you’re in a society with everyone doing that, it makes you feel safe that we’re all in this rat race together and we’re putting ourselves through this. But if you’re lucky to have a moment where you can get a different perspective and re-think things then it can really change how you feel about that!
Totally. The whole culture of overworking, stress, being slaves to our jobs has been normalized for so long. It’s down to greed isn’t it?
Oh massively. I don’t know if I want to go too far down that road in an interview but yeah it’s something that I spend a lot of time thinking about.
Same. Did you have an epiphany at any point where you realized you needed to make a big change in your life?
I was depressed for about a year and didn’t realise it. I was caught up in working, going to the pub, going out and all that and it was getting to the point where I didn’t want to get up and face things. I was rolling into work at 1pm but because I had a business partner I was getting away with it. I realise now why I didn’t want to get up; I couldn’t face my phone, I couldn’t face work any more. But I had the contracts and that’s exactly what I had to do.
Then suddenly my partner tells me he’s off travelling for a few months. I was like, ‘Oh okay then, you can do that can you, I guess?’ He came back and told me about it and I really wanted to have a similar experience so I saved up and me and my missus went travelling. And that’s where I got the space and time to start re-thinking things. One day we’re on this walk, found these hot springs and were sitting in one of them surrounded by rocks the size of small houses. It was beautiful. And that’s when it all hit me then. I thought ‘what am I doing? I need to quit.’ I’d made my mind and I knew it would be fine.
Where were you?
Panama. My partner had been to central and south America and it inspired me. The most important thing was having the time to do it. People go on a week’s holiday or two week’s holiday but your mind and body are only just beginning to unwind. You need at least a month to fully detach from the usual trappings of life to get proper clarity. But we live such fast paced don’t we? We barely get 10 minutes let alone months.
Innit! So when you came back you quit your company? How did you business partner feel?
I think he saw it coming. Long story short, we were in very different places. Before I walked away I wanted to build the company up to a big place but he didn’t. Now as we’ve realigned and separated he’s pushed it in that way but he’s done it his own way. I actually do jobs for him now when he needs help or when it suits me. He’s a lot happier now, I’m a lot happier now, it’s worked out well for both of us. I’m proud of that. Not all business partnerships go that way.
Props. On relationships, I remember you telling me you’d started making tunes with your girlfriend?
Yeah man. We just put a tune out actually. It’s a free download. Her name is Therapy because it relates to her job as a counsellor. She’s not doing all the artist stuff, because she’s busy with her job and it’s not about that for her. She just enjoys making music with me. Maybe when we’ve got enough tunes together for an EP we might send it to some labels but we’re not putting any pressure on it all, it’s just a nice way to create and write together and share our love for music.
That’s lush. What’s next on the DJ Zent agenda?
I’ve been settling into Manchester here and working on the house and my studio so I need to put more focus back on DJing. I had a great year last year with the gigs and it’s gone a bit quiet on that front so I need to do some work on that. I’ve also been patterning the releases for Dreambass for the next four months and doing some guest mixes for people.
And a mix for us! What do you have in store?
It’s funny, I go through the same process with each mix. DJing is what started this for me and it’s something my missus always reminds me that I love. But the busier you get, the lower down the priorities it goes and it can sometimes be seen as a bit of chore, even though it’s something I really love. At points like that I’ve got to remember a very young Mathew mixing garage records away on his 1210s in his bedroom with his mates around. This was what I would have dreamt of back then. So yeah, I got few fresh tunes in, a few of my bits and some Dreambass tunes and I’m well happy with it.
Awesome. And what’s in store for the Rough Tempo party?
The same really; I’ll be playing a bit of a 360 set crossing between genres and hopefully getting people dancing to some things they didn’t expect to dance to! Some promos from the forthcoming VA release, some dubs of mine and a few things from Dreambass vaults. I hope people enjoy it.
Join DJ Zent alongside Guzi, Anna Key, Zoner, Shayper, Simulate, Stonx, Trauma DBC & Juiceman, R3IDY and NoDave on June 18 at Rough Tempo Attic. More information.