We connected with the Montreal-based Zak Lupu, also known as electronic music DJ and producer Simbasōl, to talk about everything he has been up to lately. Designed to trigger and release emotions, his EP “Samsāra” dropped last year, while his most recent EP release titled “INFINIDISKO” is his first stab at the Future Disco and Indie Dance genres. With a long list of new releases in the pipeline for this year, we are excited to hear all about it.
WWD: Hello Simbasōl, Welcome to When We Dip. How did your music career begin?
I would say my progression is similar to many people in the industry. I have been in and around the music scene for over a decade now. As with many avid consumers of dance music, it sort of creeps up on you and before you know it, it is THE central force in your life.
After picking up the decks as a hobby and playing a few local shows, the decision became clear as day to me. I wanted to create my own soundscapes and stories! I guess the metaphor here is as is if I was sitting at the coolest supper table in the world and for years, but didn’t yet know how to add my voice to the conversation.
Then one day all my suppressed inspiration finally had the courage and vision to flow out. Before you know it, the suit and tie are out the door and you find yourself living in Ableton full-time!
No clear starting point but one morning you wake up and you find yourself answering questions with ‘music’ & ‘career’ attached to each other. Got to love it!
WWD: Who were some of your biggest artist influences in the scene that inspire you?
For as long as I can remember I am 100% on board with everything Sebjak has put out and lately I am deeply influenced by guys like Musumeci, Dodi Palese & Ivory.
As a listener and as a producer, I am always drawn towards eclectic sounds. I like musical journeys that feel uneasy at times and land with powerful melodics that make everything feel right in the world. Musical roller coaster rides type of thing!
WWD: Your EP ‘INFINIDISKO’ just dropped this month. Tell us a little bit about the journey behind producing this EP and the two tracks ‘IFINIDISKO’ and ‘Family House’?
The “INFINIDISKO” EP is my first stab at the Future Disco genre, featuring the titular track and a second named “Family House”. These tracks are light hearted fun for sweaty dance floors and steamy nights.
In short, the theme of both tracks is: smiling with intensity!
These songs are for grinning cheek to cheek with fire in your eyes. Not the kind of smile when you smell flowers on a spring morning… More like the smile when you pick up a loved one at the airport. The smile when you score a winning goal, or when you accomplish something you have been working on forever.
The collective smile on a dance floor when everyones problems and worries wash away into a full fledged boogie fest!
Coming up in this game, I keep hearing iterations of “Have you found your sound?” and “What genre of music do you play and produce?” but in my head I always think well, are you in one mood every day of your life? Do you still think the same way you did a few years back?
The type of music I put out will continue to morph and grow, but what stays consistent is that I am trying to express nuanced feelings. The ones you can’t quite put your finger on. The ones that are felt so strong, they suck the words right out of your head and make your insides tingle.
That being said, there is something about this Future Disco sound that has literally changed my life. So much movement and joy mixed with the thumping kick drums and deep baselines.
It feels like home to me, resonating with the way I live my life; balance through the extremes! Living this existence without taking risks never seems to satisfy me. Shooting for the highs and learning through the lows is the name of my game.
Don’t ask me why, but there’s something in this sound that is making me understand myself better. Kind of like a “Sonic Mirror“. Oh snap that’s catchy, guess you just caught me naming the next EP…
WWD: Is there a particular aspect of travelling and being in new places that encourages you to create?
From a flat-out inspiration stand point, I find traveling and the freedom that comes with it great for inspiration. Less for the output during the travels themselves, but more so for the full tank of ideas and energy I come back to the studio with.
From a stylistic perspective, this is a tricky question. We live in a world where the sounds of the world are so easily available at the click of a button. I mean samples with worldwide influences are everywhere. Most sites even allow to source so by location in the advanced search button.
There used to be something magical when artists had new foreign influences in their music. Like when the Beatles came back from India for example.
I am looking forward to working with local artists on my travels to try and recapture this true essence of inspiration. The idea of the authenticity that comes from live creation from small local scenes is really exciting for me. A few of these collaborations are already in the works.
WWD: What techniques do you experiment with to develop your own sound?
This year, I am making a concerted effort to humanize all my tracks. A major shift for me is how I bring constant movement to songs. For example, I used to draw in all my automations my hand.
Now I do that simply as a place holder while I am arranging and mixing the song. Then I map a whole bunch of Macros to my push controller and live record the automation lines for each track. This subtle change brings so much more flow and play to the listening experience.
Even if I don’t think the average listener will pick up on this change, I think on a subconscious level these types of tweaks are what glue a track together!
WWD: What is on the horizon for the coming year, what are you most excited about?
The past few months have been devoted to some serious studio time. Well not so “serious” but you know what I mean! Which naturally means I have a deep well of material scheduled to be released all throughout 2023.
Obviously I am very excited about the release of “INFINIDISKO” on Kookoo records right now!
I am also working hard to incorporate live aspects of my songs into my performances. Using classic drum machines and sampling my productions to recreate them in unique ways each time.
WWD: Thanks for talking with us Simbasōl!