I caught up with 96 Zeus to chat about why music is the right path for him, the forthcoming single ‘kids’ and his background.
To anyone new to your music, name 3 words that best describe your sound
Soft, melancholy and dreamy
Introduce yourself (yourselves) and your hidden talent!
‘’Born in the US and raised in Norway, 96 Zeus is a recording artist that currently resides in Kristiansand. He produces, writes, and records his own songs, as well as mixes them, all in his home-studio’’.
I’ve always been interested in music, but the idea of making my own music didn’t come to me until I was laying in bed scrolling through Instagram. I stumbled across a video of Russ showing us how he made one of his songs. I was just amazed that one of his most popular songs at the time was made in his basement on his Macbook, so later that week I bought myself Logic (the same software he was using). That’s where it all started. It was 2017 and I was in college at the time taking my bachelors degree in business. I hadn’t spent much time making music, but I started off making simple hip-hop beats which I then posted on my SoundCloud. I never told anyone I made music until 2019, when I decided to post my first song How So on Spotify under my own label Jet Lynn Music Group. Later that year I came in contact with Dub Tha Prodigy, a producer from Pompano Beach, FL signed to Cash Money/Republic. He’s produced several songs with XXXTENTACION, with Save Me being the most popular. I loved his album 17, and after I saw that he had produced Save Me I decided to send him a DM on Instagram. A couple of weeks later he responded and listened to my amateur beats and gave honest and very helpful feedback. This really inspired me to keep making music, and to keep getting better at it. Early 2020 I released my song Monday Morning, which for me was my turning point. I felt that song helped me find my ‘’sound’’.
I really fell in love with the Lo-Fi genre. After having released a song several months later called June, I came in contact with Michael Kraun, an alternative hip-hop artist from Queens, NY. At the time he had well over 20,000 monthly listeners compared to my 200 listeners. He really believed in my music and told me that we should make a Monday Morning part 2, where he hops on as a feature. We released Monday Morning, Pt. 2 August that year. In November that same year I then released a two-song project called For the Midnight Bike Riders Trying to Fly. I noticed a shift in my streams and monthly listeners once I started to focus on promoting my music whenever I wasn’t in school. In 2021 I released a three-song project called Just Another Day, with the name being inspired by my favorite Slowdive album Just For A Day. It contained three slow and dreamy songs, with one of them being my first instrumental lo-fi beat.
Shortly after Just Another Day dropped, I came in contact with Kindbrew Records, a lo-fi record label. I signed a one-song contract where I released the song lovelovelove. with them. A month later encountered SPEECHLESS, a well-known artist in the lo-fi community. I ended up releasing my song you’ll find someone and it will be amazing with his label Speak Less Listen More, which ended up making Apple Music’s Bedtime Beats editorial playlist, being my first ever editorial placement.
Although numbers aren’t everything, I can safely say that I’m doing something right. I went from less than 10,000 overall streams in September 2020 to having over 1,000,000 overall streams in June 2021. It’s motivating to see that so many people enjoy my music. I have a three-song project coming out the 6 th of August called nature kids. Still, through all this time, I’m still in touch with Dub Tha Prodigy, who continues to show love and support. Not only have we collaborated on several songs together, but he has also introduced me to Natra Average, a producer from Richmond, VA, who is also signed to Cash Money/Republic. He’s also produced with XXXTENTACION, as well as other big names such as Kodak Black, Ski Mask The Slump God, Lil Wayne, Earth Gang and Wale. Both Natra and Dub have really inspired me and have given me an important insight in the music industry.
What made you decide that music is the right path for you?
It just felt right, simple as that. I really enjoy making music, writing songs, producing beats, and getting to know people in the industry. Although I am taking my degree I can honestly say that I have no idea what I am doing or what my future holds. Just going with the flow. One thing I know for sure though is that music will continue to be an important part of my life, and I will keep creating until I physically can’t.
What’s your writing process like? Do you write the music or lyrics first?
My writing process completely depends on my mood and feeling at the time. Whenever I feel like writing I’ll just pull up my phone and write whatever comes to mind, whether it being a full song or just one sentence. My phone is filled with thoughts and songs, where I might read through them every once in a while to find some inspiration. Other times I can finish a beat and the lyrics just come to me immediately. It is hard to explain, but you just have to be in the mood, I guess.
Tell MoggBlog viewers about your latest release! What’s the inspiration behind that?
My song kids is the second song off my three-song project nature kids. I knew back in March that I wanted to release something for the summer, and I also knew I wanted it to be a little more upbeat than what I usually make. Once I finished the beat, I knew I wanted to have a feature on it. I sent it to Michael Kraun, and within weeks he had written his verse for the song. At the time I was listening to a song called Range Life by Pavement. In the song they sing the words nature kids when describing The Smashing Pumpkins. I’m a big fan of the pumpkins and I just thought it had a cool sound to it. Music is subjective, so someone could hear Range Life and have a completely different opinion of it. For me I just felt free and careless, which is the feeling I wanted to create with my song kids. What my opinion of my music is doesn’t matter though, what matters is what you feel when you hear it.
You can find 96 Zeus on Instagram.