EARLIER THIS WEEK, SFV ACID RELEASED A NEW LP, AMBER'S STUFF, WHICH SPIN CALLS "PRETTY CHILL FOR A BREAKUP ALBUM" (LISTEN TO THE STREAM BELOW). JUST HOW CHILL IS THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY-BASED PRODUCER, ARTIST AND FASHION DESIGNER ZANE REYNOLDS THESE DAYS? WE ASKED HIM, AND HE TOLD US TO PUBLISH HIS PHONE NUMBER
How would you say that your sound has evolved between, say, The Dwell and Amber's Stuff [previously Amber’s Songs]?
Zane Reynolds: Well, Amber's Stuff is an older release.
Oh, I didn't know that.
ZR: It's older. It's old music, so I don't know how to answer that question. It's just what I was making at that time. It's not a progression or a digression or anything, it's just what I was making. I made it sometime in late 2010.
What's bringing you to release those songs now?
ZR: I showed them to Charles Damga, the guy that runs UNO, and he wanted to put that out before The Dwell, but I was looking for new songs to come out before that came out. So it came out just because he kind of wanted it to come out
So there wasn't any big change in the way you felt about the songs? It wasn't like, too sensitive or something?
ZR: It's not that I didn't want to do it. It's just that I didn't think I would ever release it with anyone. But I think the same thing about other songs. I think it's a fair thing to put out as a record, so why not have someone put it out, you know?
Was there anything that you were listening to when you were making the record that you can remember?
ZR: No, I was depressed! I was crying over a breakup. I don't know. I don't think my depression was much about the breakup. I think the breakup was just a good excuse to let a lot of things out. So I think it was time for me to do that.
Got it. So it was cathartic, maybe.
ZR: Yeah. If you wanna use that word, yeah.
Did you design the cover for the album?
ZR: I did. When I make a record I make the whole record. The cover and the labels and everything are from that week.
Wow. It's like a little time capsule.
ZR: Yeah, I just take all the old stuff from that time and just use it in some way, so it stays that way, you know?
When I was reading about the record on XLR8R, people seemed to think there was something tongue-in-cheek about it. But hearing you describe it, I don't get that sense.
ZR: With The Dwell or with Amber's Stuff?
Well, actually both. But in this case, particularly about Amber's. There was something in the press release about the girl going on to date another musician and people said, “Oh, well, he's joking.”
ZR: She went on to date one of my friends from high school. But that's fine. That's how relationships work, you know? You get into a small group of people, and people are going to fuck your friends and fuck your friends' friends, so that's no big deal, you know. That's just simpleton shit… The whole thing with The Dwell: I read some comments that people thought I was white trash, and being kind of an inverted hipster and trying to like, create propaganda for a large corp with the whole Starbucks theme of the record. I thought that was really great, that someone thought that I was totally like, saying Fuck you to the whole music industry, like its whole I'm cool thing. That's all that I can hope for.
Not seeming cool, is that what you're saying?
ZR: Like saying Fuck you to the cool. I'm just doing what I'm doing. I've been in the same house, same room, since I was a baby. So maybe I do have a white trash sensibility that a lot of people don't have.
That's kind of the crazy thing about it. There was this weird judgmental tone about suburbia, so people kept calling this sort of suburban sound that you make like, about facelessness or ugliness or loneliness or whatever, but you seem to have a more complex take on it.
ZR: Yeah. You know, LA is this huge place and I've lived here forever and I see the differences in the city but I have a hard time not looking at the whole place as one. And I live in the county, I don't live directly in the city.
Right. You're in Receda, right?
ZR: Yeah, so I've been driving all around the county forever, so I don't feel like anything is too far, and I don't have these kind of superstitions about each place, or places where I don't want to be and rather not be and stuff. Yeah, it's complex in a way that I just think the place where I grew up is great, and I'm lucky to be here. And also the Valley is just nice because, I mean, I don't run into anyone. I just don't care about being constantly surrounded by my peers. I mean it's overwhelming enough to go to a club and just have to talk to all these people in one night. Which is fine and that's fun but that's all any artist needs to do for themselves. I think that immersion artists take to get into places—in to suck one's mental dick or whatever—is just kind of an unnecessary move.
Before you were with UNO you distributed in a bunch of different ways that were kind of the opposite of mental dick-sucking. Like you left CDs in places and that sort of thing, right?
ZR: Yeah. I still do that. I still leave stuff places and give stuff to people who aren't even going to listen to my stuff. I give vinyl to people who are not ever going to put on vinyl. Making music was just, and it still is, basically just a hobby. I mean, it was obviously good having PR and all this stuff happen this year, but in the same way the push for anything has nothing to do with what the thing is. But obviously I love having the push and I'm thankful for it, you know?
And it seems like it's not happening in some way you don't want it to. I read in an interview where you were talking about the “white boy fucking house movement.” And that's not what's happening. You're not being asked to DJ at weird parties or be places you don't want to be, hopefully.
ZR: Well, no, I was mainly just disappointed at the extent of what even small labels do to project an image of success and to get that kind of success. And I think when a small label does that and they're trying to manifest this thing that isn't really there it doesn't really have much go. So I mean I think the push is great when it's done right, and obviously UNO is doing something kind of right within the world, even though the music world is just a complete mess. It feels to me very black-and-white. It's like you have to be very, very successful or not. I am not. So in terms of the “white house” thing, I was mainly pissed off that any small label would have any say over anyone's outlook on things. Which 100% SILK had, to like, shift my thing. And it was just like, that's not about what music is, in general, to me. So, yeah, I was just mouthing off.
Are you touring for this album?
ZR: I'm going to be touring. Right now we're trying to figure out a tour but also my people are trying to help me get an agent for my art.
How do you feel about the live experience of your music? I feel like sometimes you get typed as, you know, like Burial, some kind of bedroom DJ. So do you feel that performing live is really different, and the crowd reacts differently? Are they standing with their arms crossed?
ZR: Well that depends which venue you're playing at. I mean, when I'm in Russia, people are free. When I'm in LA or NY or like a normal club, it's, you know. It's usually a long critique. But it's all fun for me. As long as I don't ruin my hearing any more than I have. I have, like, really bad tinnitus.
ZR: Yeah, so I'm also trying to, like, save myself from all this too.
Yeah. Take some breaks between shows for sure, don't do it every night, maybe. You said music was a hobby of yours so I thought maybe we'd talk about some of the other stuff you've been up to.
Art and video too, right? Like you did some videos for MOCAtv. How did that get started?
ZR: Well, once again that was thankfully through Charles. But yeah, I kind of pushed for that. I said I really wanted to do something with them, so I did, and hopefully there'll be something else I'll be doing with them soon, for the Amber stuff. I hope that goes through. Yeah, you know, I mainly just draw. I mainly do drawing. And I'm doing video stuff too but mostly just drawing.
Is drawing where your heart is? Is that where you put most of your effort and creativity into?
ZR: Yeah. It's been mostly that. Mostly just drawing and then trying to do things with some friends, trying to do things with other people because I've been doing things by myself for a long time so, yeah, it's mostly been trying to do other things. Trying to draw, paint, airbrush, do other forms of art, you know.
Any inspirations? Anyone that you in particular find inspiring, or their work?
ZR: I have very close friends who are inspiring that people don't know about. But actually, you know, James Ferraro is a good friend is probably one of the most inspiring dudes out there right now.
Yeah. I interviewed him for VMAN.com a couple months ago. He's a really sweet guy.
ZR: Oh yeah. That was a good interview.
And you've kind of worked with fashion, with Yves Saint Laurent for a couple of things, right, a t-shirt and some patterns. Did Hedi Slimane approach you?
ZR: The lead singer of No Age, Dean Spunt started releasing my music, and I've known Dean for years and he's been dating this girl that used to work for Hedi, this really nice woman. So she knew that I was into drawing so she asked me to give him stuff. So I gave them a bunch of, you know, really highly detailed illustrations and then they just asked me if I could do something simpler. So I just spent a couple weeks or a week doing simple things and sent them a portfolio to use for the spring.
Have you been seeing any of your friends perform who you’re excited about now?
ZR: You know what, I haven't been going out. I've just started a night in the Valley. It's at like this funny bar, this funny tweaker bar called the Canby that's right down the street from my house. It's been good.
Anything else want people to know about?
ZR: You know, you should put my number at the end of the interview.
Your phone number?
ZR: Yeah. It’s 818-309-8498.
artwork zane reynolds