NP Exclusive Interview: ZAXXs Heart-to-heart About Naruto, Tiesto ID + More

    SpringHill Suites Chicago OHare by Marriotts 15-minute parking. This girl is well-versed in lateness. Nevertheless, tardiness wasnt an option because ZAXXs Greg Zaccagnino and I were on a mission: arrive at Bottom Lounge by 8:30 pm or bust. Hed already missed the boat on comparing apples to oranges, more specifically deep-dish pizza to a slice of New York. Dont let this Staten Island indigenes intimidating body art fool you. Zaccagninos wholesome personality plus charismatic charm shined through his 21-year-old smile. The Willis Tower, I-90 East””ZAXXs eyes gleamed with excitement. Gregs creations emanate an indie electronica essence, which lures listeners into his Los Angeles life and lair. We had a conversation regarding Elephantes Glass Mansion Estate Tour, ties to Tiesto as well as a Hillary Clinton encounter. 

    Did Elephante”˜s Glass Mansion Estate Tour inspire the ”The In Between” (feat. Anjulie) flip or the contrary? Youre the rework prince, so what grabbed your attention with this song?

    It came together naturally. He [Elephante] hit me up to do the remix, and thats how the tour came to be. Its an awesome song. I just wanted to make it sound how I would make this song if I had the vocals; thats usually what I do with remixes. He loved the remix so much he was like ”why dont you come on tour?” I said ”Yeah, lets do it. Thatd be awesome.”

    Share with our readers the plane situation you encountered on the way here.

    I got on my flight this morning, and three guys with wires in their ears cut the whole line: Secret Service guys, FBI or whatever. In first class, there was Hillary Clinton just sitting there. I was on a plane with Hillary Clinton, surrounded by Secret Service agents, on my way to play a club in Chicago. I felt intimidated by the Secret Service agents. I was taking videos of them because I was so intrigued. I was trying to be very discreet about it because they could see anything. Theyre very sharp. I was not going to mess around with them.

    Freaky Deaky in Houston, Texas. Who ”˜ya checking out for the first time?

    I love Chris Lake”˜s music. I played some of his stuff tonight, and Ive never seen him. His mixdowns are awesome. The ideas in his songs flow really well, and all of his songs are different, which is hard to do if youre making house music. Im going to check him out and Porter [Robinson]. Its such a great lineup. Im so excited to be on a bill with those people.

    When are your ”Chasing Cars” and ”The Great Escape” edits going to make their debut on SoundCloud?

    Theyre only in Tiestos sets and my sets. Tiesto closed out his Tomorrowland set with my ”Chasing Cars” and ”The Great Escape” remixes. I became really good friends with the lead singer of the band that made the song [Boys Like Girls]. People have been asking me for these two remixes for years, and they still do so well at my shows. Im going to put them out because why not? Screw it. Were planning to put them out very soon. I cant give you an exact date because I dont even know it””I really dont know it. They are going to be free downloads.

    What about your upcoming Tiesto joint effort tickles your fancy? Who introduced you two, and what role does he play in your life?

    We played it together on the main stage for 30,000 people at 2018 Global Dance Fest in Denver. We debuted it there, but its unnamed right now. I started the song with Olivera who sang on my song ”Dirty Neon” with 3LAU. She sent me over a vocal for the instrumental, and it worked so well. Its a different kind of song. Its slower. Its more emotional. It has a lot of honesty in it.

    Tiestos a mentor to me and a great person to have in my circle. Hes very supportive of my music. Hes always looking out for me like a big brother. We met when I made a remix to ”Better Off Alone” by Alice Deejay. He started playing it. Then, he signed me. I couldnt believe it: I was 17, and I quit school to do this. That was the best opportunity ever””work with Tiesto, go on tour with him and play Vegas. Having him guide me, to where I am today, changed my life.

    Why is ZAXXs Hakasaan residency null and void?

    I took a hiatus from my what I was making to rediscover what I really wanted to do because I was kind of unhappy with my music. I knew I needed to change something.  I took a year off from shows just to lock myself in my room, in Staten Island, to recharge. Its not that I dont prefer the setting. I love playing house music. Its still one of my first loves, but I also have a deeper side of me that Im turning towards. I am trying to blend the two.

    Theres more to my music than big drops. Theres a lot of emotion in it. I make it from a very personal place, so what Im feeling at the time is generally what I put out. Thats something that should be known. The music Im going to be releasing is very relative to what Im actually feeling and enjoying in my personal life. Its a good reflection of what I actually enjoy listening to as opposed to releasing stuff for the hell of it. 

    Whats the saga behind ZAXXs Naruto tattoo collage? Which cartoon will be inked on your body next?

    I was very obsessed with that show, and I didnt watch it as a kid””I watched it when I was a 19-year-old. It sounds weird, but that show really inspired me. I think its the art, storyline or genius writing in it. I really loved it. Nothing has ever made me feel that attached. It was a cartoon. It was anime.

    My next anime tattoo? I dont know if Im going to get one necessarily because I have a gigantic Naruto tattoo. Im going to save it for maybe one of my other favorite things like Lord of The Rings or Star Wars. Although, who knows? I get random tattoos all the time. My left arms empty; thats the canvas for my next project. 

    Why is this Chicago event special for ZAXX?

    Ive never been here. Chicago is so close to home, and Ive always wanted to play here. I have a lot of fans and supporters here. When you dont play somewhere, you want to tap into that group of people that like your music. I finally got here, did what I had to do and gave people a good show: even after Hillary [Clinton].

    Hows reading a room of people sometimes challenging?

    The biggest challenge of reading a room of people is when youre playing a song, and they stop dancing. You assume theyre bored. People dont always have to be dancing to enjoy what youre playing. Dance music has a stigma the crowd has to be jumping all the time. Sometimes, you want to chill and appreciate the sounds youre hearing. 

    When did you make the realization that your singing abilities extended outside the shower stall?

    I started playing the guitar and singing along. I always knew I wanted to sing on my tracks, and I knew I could sing for the most part. Obviously, Im not the greatest singer ever. Singing on my own songs takes it to another level. A lot of artists are singing on their stuff too. People make it out to be some crazy kind of breakthrough, but it really isnt. I just know how to make my voice sound the way I want it to. Its convenient to be able to convey your message as opposed to having somebody else sing your thoughts. It makes it that much more personal. Currently, in the dance music scene, its not how it used to be when I was first coming up. Now, you cant just be dance music. Youve got to branch out and be different now which is great. I love that. It makes me work harder.

    Connect with ZAXX: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / SoundCloud

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    Source: Noise Prn