Lex Kats (ZÍA) has always had music in her veins. Much like many in the dance music community, ZÍA found her love for music in the punk/alternative realm. Even before she began producing, she was helping with tours and putting in work behind the scenes. Luckily for us, her relationship with music grew from admiration to creation. Now, her dark and dynamic mix of bass has been making waves in the dance music scene, and we could not be more excited.
ZÍA dove headfirst into her passion. She has rocked the stages at festivals like Electric Forest, Camp Bisco, Lost Lands, Hard Summer, and Moonrise. Her wobbly frequencies and magnetic stage presence contribute to her incredible uniqueness and leave any crowd she plays for craving more. Her passion for her art and love for the dance music community is truly inspirational. We had the chance to connect with ZÍA and talk more about her music, fans, and story.
EDM Maniac: Before the pandemic, you were certainly busy with tours. Can you tell us about what it was like for you touring for the first time? What has been your favorite tour so far?
ZÍA: My first tour, Up In Smoke, was a lot to take in since it was on a bus, but luckily it was with people I already knew well and was comfortable with. Jesse (Subtronics) was my roommate in Philadelphia at the time, so naturally, we were comfortable living together already. I’ve been on a few others, some were fly-ins meaning there’s no tour bus, just flights to and from each show. I did this on two separate tours with VAMPA and Sippy. I also did a tour with Dirt Monkey where we would fly into one city, take a Sprinter van to the next 3-4 shows, and then fly home. I don’t think I could choose a favorite; they were all special in their own way, but I have always been lucky enough to always be touring with good friends. It’s really hectic and you have to adjust to a different lifestyle on the road, but I will never take it for granted. Since the pandemic, I went from touring every weekend and working almost a full-time job, to not leaving my house for months, and I’ve never missed touring more.
EDM Maniac: From what I’ve read, your first love was metal and rock music. What artists did you listen to? How would you say it has influenced your own style?
ZÍA: My dad has molded my taste in music from an extremely young age. We would religiously listen to Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Queen, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. My late cousin, Daniel, who was like my older brother, got me started on the heavier stuff like Slayer, Pantera, Metallica, and Iron Maiden. It has definitely influenced me, at least in the sense that I really lean towards anything super heavy and high energy in terms of what I listen to and what I make.
EDM Maniac: You have such a distinct melodic, wobbly sound. It’s unique, creative, and so much fun to listen to. What inspires you when making your music?
ZÍA: When I was first learning to produce, I would sit and make a million bass patches until I found a few that I really loved. From there, I was mostly working around those few patches, trying to develop a consistent sound for my project. Now, I’m more focused on evolving that sound while I’m continuing to grow as a producer. Generally speaking, I pull most of my inspiration from my favorite movies and a huge combination of all my favorite artists.
EDM Maniac: You released and toured Deviate with SIPPY. We love to see two women absolutely dominating the bass music scene. Can you tell us about your process? How does collabing with another artist work?
ZÍA: “Deviate” was one of the first collabs that I had made; it was a huge learning process for me but really fun! We were in a unique situation in terms of production – we started the song while she was still in Australia, and then we finished it on the tour together. It was a lot of just sending the project back and forth and catching each other when we could with the time difference to give feedback.
EDM Maniac: Looking back on all the amazing things you’ve done, what are some of your favorite moments from your life as a DJ? Is there a special memory that sticks out to you that you could tell us about?
ZÍA: There are so many incredible moments over the years between the amazing shows I’ve been blessed enough to play and all the beautiful people I’ve gotten to meet along the way, but the most special memories are always the time I spend with my GRAVE GANG. They are my family, and there’s nothing I look forward to more than getting to travel and play music with my best friends.
EDM Maniac: You have been working hard on your art, and it has been paying off. From joining with GRVDNCR to launching your own tour, you are certainly a rising star. What has the process been like for you? How do you think you’ve developed as an artist and a person?
ZÍA: Aw, thank you for the kind words. It’s been a long and interesting journey going from wanting to make my name behind the scenes and either enter into management or tour managing etc., to actually becoming a producer/DJ. Joining GRVDNCR and working with Eric Silver and everyone on our incredible team was all I wanted even before I was performing. Then getting the opportunity to work with UTA and my agent, Jake Bernstein, has been an absolute blessing that I couldn’t be more thankful for. I love developing the ZíA project, and I’m ecstatic about the new strides I’ve made this year, continuing to develop my sound, my new art direction, merch, and the overall ZíA vibe (big thanks to 5AM for the new logo/icon and Ashes Bardole on all the graphics). I’m so excited to share with everyone more of what we’ve been working on.
EDM Maniac: You have an incredibly active and loyal fanbase of “ZÍA’s Angels”. What has it been like connecting with your fans? What does their support mean to you?
ZÍA: It means the absolute freakin’ world. Literally knowing there’s even one person out there that my art has had a positive impact on makes it all worth it. I’m so grateful for all of my angels and I honestly can’t even believe the amount of support I have from all these incredible people that I know or don’t know. It has me pretty shook, to be honest.
EDM Maniac: As a successful woman in the bass music scene, what do you hope your fans can learn from your journey? Do you have any words of motivation to share with other women trying to follow your path?
ZÍA: Yes, absolutely. Keep in mind I’m still learning myself every single day…but here are a few things I’ve learned thus far: expect a lot of rejection and people doubting you, but don’t let it get to you (easier said than done, I know). It’s irrelevant, and it’s always going to be there so just ignore it and keep working your ass off. Stick to your gut and don’t let anyone convince you to change anything about your art if you really believe in it. With that being said, if you’re lucky enough to have a team you trust and who shares the same vision as you, be able to take constructive criticism and know when you’re being given good advice that could help your career. One last thing I’ll add is to support other female artists! Support all artists you believe in – but seriously, women face challenges in this scene that many don’t know about. Hype up your fellow female artists by sharing their new music, comment on their posts, add them to your playlists, just support the hell out of them.
EDM Maniac: With quarantine, you’ve probably gotten some much-needed rest. However, it has also probably been hard to slow down when your career is skyrocketing. What has quarantine been like for your mental health? How have you been motivating yourself and keeping busy?
ZÍA: Quarantine has definitely made 2020 a rollercoaster of a year. It was really hard to slow down and go from working at the bar and touring full time, to screech to a halt for both. It was really hard at first and I was definitely in a dark place, but I just kept working on my EP and trying to take advantage of the free time to get my diet and exercise routine back on track, and pushing through until things got better. Thankfully, with the help of my best friends and family, my amazing partner and just keeping up with consistently working on all said things, I’m definitely in a way better place than at the beginning of all this.
EDM Maniac: What are you most excited for when the world reopens?
ZÍA: Besides obviously playing shows and festivals, I’m just going to be excited to see the people I love without being scared that I’m endangering their health and vice versa. Even going to the grocery store gives me insane anxiety, so it will be nice to not have to live in this constant state of panic anymore.
EDM Maniac: Do you have anything else you are excited to share with us?
ZÍA: Just that I really appreciate you wanting to speak with me, I appreciate anyone who reads this and supports me, and I hope we will all be back together soon safely! Everyone please please check in on your loved ones, take care of each other, and hang in there.
Imagine this: Festivals are back. You’re front and center of a stage. The lights dim, visuals start to appear, and the crowd cheers. ZÍA’s set begins and you are overwhelmed by the heavy bass frequencies shaking you to your core. That’s all we want, and we know it will happen again one day. So, if you don’t know her well yet, it’s time to learn. Study up, she is something that you do not want to miss!
Featured photo by ZÍA