Dami: What was your first introduction to music?
THREEZERO: My dad playing guitar. It’s been kind of a beautiful journey. He’s self-taught, much like I am in some of my producing capabilities. We’ve both grown so much in our music in parallel the last 6 or so years. I would definitely say he’s the reason I ever picked up an instrument.
Dami: Is your dad also an artist?
THREEZERO: He is. For a long time, he’s just played songs that he knew and more recently, he’s started writing. I want to hopefully help him put out some music one day. He’s way better than me.
Dami: Apart from your dad, who else inspired you to start making music?
THREEZERO: Miss Paisley, my music teacher when I was around 10 or 11 helped me record my first song (it’s somewhere out there on the web) and is probably the reason I picked up my first instrument-violin. I think the first album I heard that made me want to write music and produce is Madvillainy. I got big into DOOM when I was in high school and around that time, my friends and I formed a group. One of them, Liam McGhie, is still my engineer and one of my best friends in life.
Dami: When making music, where do you grab inspiration from?
THREEZERO: I’ve been leaning on my peers for inspiration a lot more lately. My new favorite song that I’m working on was directly inspired by a straight hour of Liam and I just talking and then he pulled out an acoustic and we wrote most of the song in 30 minutes. I think that’s what I love about being back in Chicago now; my music had become such an individual process (at least starting new ideas) and these last few months, that’s totally flipped.
Dami: Can you tell us more about your new single, “The Middle”?
THREEZERO: “The Middle” is about acceptance, but recognizing that just because you accept something doesn’t mean you’ve made peace with it or fully come to terms with it. These last 3 singles have all been me sort of timestamping moments in a grieving process and how nonlinear that journey was and is. Also, this is my favorite instrumental I’ve ever made.
Dami: Are you grieving anything at the moment?
THREEZERO: Probably the sense of community that starts to dissolve a bit the older you get. It doesn’t quite help that my arrival into full adulthood coincided with the pandemic haha. Everyone gets busier in their own lanes and no matter how comfortable you are with yourself and being alone, that takes a toll and an adjustment.
Dami: What’s next for you after The Middle?
THREEZERO: First and foremost is a break this week from creating to eating stuffing and pumpkin pie. I’m doing something special with these 3 singles top of next year that I’m going to keep a bit of secret for now. Then I have some new releases lined up and some other music I’m working on that I hope starts to take shape by end of next year. It’s gonna be a fun 2023, I think. I want to do some shows too. Book the boy!
Dami: When making The Middle, what did you want listeners to take away from it?
THREEZERO: That’s a tough one. Maybe that no feeling is permanent and there is no wholly good or bad luck. You will experience a variety of losses in this life and you will fully expect it to kill you and when it doesn’t, that’s when you really start to know what it feels like to be alive.
Dami: What’s your creative process like?
THREEZERO: A lot of the time, it just starts with practice. Some scales on the piano, my exercises on bass, something of the sort. It’s like stretching before a run. If I’m inspired, I might start writing a melody. If not, I might start with some drums. The lyrical process is different every time. I might write the song in the same session- within 20 minutes the way I did with The Middle. I might make a beat, have some ideas to record, and not finish the song for months. I might not have a single thing come tome for months until some life shit happens and it all flows out; that’s what happened with Sweet Tooth.
Dami: How would you describe your sound?
THREEZERO: I’ve been going around using something a really awesome musical peer, Francesca Wexler, said about my music- “haunting but relaxing”. I think I’ve been using my music as a way to meditate over the harsher realities of life as they come at me and find a way to beautify the discomfort essentially.
Dami: What influenced this “haunting but relaxing” sound?
THREEZERO: As of more recently, my obsession with The Sopranos; the most violent yet equally hilarious show in the world.
Dami: Any dream collabs?
THREEZERO: James Blake above all. By far my biggest inspiration. I get a lot of production ideas from him. As a Chicagoan, I think SONNY is probably the best artist coming out of this city. I’ve wanted to work with him for a very long time, and this year I got really into an artist from Houston named Hamond. His album Pirate Radio is top 5 this year for me. Those are all over the place, but I like to think I have the ability to jump around all kinds of styles.
Dami: What’s been your most memorable moment as an artist?
THREEZERO: It genuinely might have been 2 days ago getting featured on Homer Radio haha. Frank Ocean is one of my favorite artists ever and any close proximity to the things he’s doing for music means the world. Plus, its already generated more people hearing my music for the first time than I’ve ever had before.
Dami: Even though the year is almost over, is there anything else you’re still tryna accomplish before the end?
THREEZERO: Honestly this last month is pretty critical to me for my releases next year. Trying to get mixing, promo, and visuals in order. I had a lot of fun shooting the music video for The Middle. I want to do more big productions like that. Shoutout Dylan(@good.dylan), the director. Dude’s a genius.
Dami: How do you manage balancing writing for a blog and making music?
THREEZERO: That’s a great question because I wonder myself. First and foremost, shoutout Kane and Dusty Organ. To be very real while I’ve been releasing music, I haven’t been writing for him as much and I’ve appreciated his patience a lot. He helped me a ton with these releases and the rollout actually. But honestly, I think they feed into each other. Writing for a blog has given the ability to articulate more about what I love in music and then that ends up manifesting in my own music.
Listen to THREEZERO’s music HERE.
One reply on “An Interview with THREEZERO”
Love the new song Nate. Your music really is hauntingly relaxing. Congratulations on a great interview too.