After months of anticipation, Alan Walker’s Different World tour finally kicked off last weekend right here in Seattle! He didn’t come alone either. Joining the 21-year-old Norwegian DJ/Producer on his biggest tour to date is one of dance music’s young, rising talents: ZAXX.
Hailing from Staten Island, New York, 21-year-old ZAXX, real name Greg Zaccagnino, has accomplished much in a short amount of time. He’s collaborated with the Grandfather of EDM, Tiësto, amongst others, dropped fire remixes of some of dance music’s biggest anthems- he even has a song featured on the Netflix original film, XOXO! Did you know he also sings, and is proof you CAN use YouTube to learn how to successfully play the guitar?
We sat down with ZAXX before he took to the Showbox SoDo stage to talk about the unique way he met Alan Walker, accidentally creating a track with Tiësto, the Twilight saga, and more! With a sold-out crowd in the palm of his hands, ZAXX would tell us the best has yet to come. Get to know EDM’s future in our latest artist profile!
Starting off the tour with Alan Walker; it’s a sold out show tonight. What’s your feelings going into tonight, and the rest of the tour going forward?
ZAXX: I’m really excited about tonight. I’ve never played in Seattle before. Actually, I’ve not visited the Northwest much, so this is new to me- it’s really pretty over here!
I’m super proud of Alan. This tour is huge for him. You know, it’s my home country. To see him selling out shows here is awesome. But yeah, I’m excited! It’s going to be a really good tour, especially tonight.
It’s your first time here in the Seattle. What was your initial impression of the city?
ZAXX: It looks like Twilight (laughs). My girlfriend made me watch Twilight, for the first time, a few weeks ago. When I was landing here, I was like “wait a minute. It looks like a Twilight movie”.
It was filmed here!
ZAXX: It’s (Seattle) super pretty.
So going back to Alan Walker, and the tour here, I read you initially met Alan through Facebook, through an FL Studio Group! What were those initial conversations like, considering you’re both from different cultural backgrounds?
ZAXX: To be honest, I don’t really remember all the conversations. It wasn’t like we were talking every day. It’s weird how we were from the same exact origin. We have the same catalyst, which is a frickin’ Facebook group.
It’s super special to me because it’s such a weird thing, making music, and then being able to share it with a lot of people. For two people who are on tour together, who met on a Facebook group at age 13-14…it’s like “what the hell”. It sums up this generation- I think.
When you actually met in-person, what was that like?
ZAXX: We met in Washington D.C., for the first time. It was for five minutes. It was like “oh hey, I know you!” “I know you too!” “How are you?!”. It was crazy.
We did a few shows in Texas together- it was super fun. That’s how this came to be- me doing support for this tour.
Going back to your music here; you’re a pretty diverse artist. You sing, you play the guitar, experiment with different sounds. Were there any artists that inspired you, and helped define your sound?
ZAXX: Most of the artists that inspire me aren’t even electronic artist. A big band that inspires me is the 1975. I love them. I listen to them non-stop.
In the dance music spectrum, you have guys like Porter (Robinson)- who was a big influence for me. Petit Biscuit, a really great artist. Flume…you know, guys who have their own sounds.
It’s one individual sound you can’t pinpoint- it just comes from them. I love that. You can’t say what kind of music it is, but you know who made it. That’s what I strive for with my sound.
Speaking of artists, and influence, one of the biggest artist you’ve worked with is Tiësto. He’s a legend in the scene. What was it like to work with someone with that kind of status?
ZAXX: I’ve been working with Tiësto for a while. He signed a bunch of my records when I was first starting out, and I played with him in Vegas every other weekend.
Eventually, we made a song together (Affliction, out now on Ninjawerks Vol. 1). It did well. It’s doing well. The process was great. Just passing ideas back and forth, and working with somebody you look up to- it’s like “wow”!. It’s literally crazy.
I spent my childhood listening to somebody, then you work with them. It’s a mind-blowing experience; one of the most mind-blowing experiences ever because I’m just a normal-ass dude from Staten Island. It’s crazy.
You have your track with Tiësto, Affliction, on Ninjawerks. How did that come about?
ZAXX: Affliction kind of happened on accident! This amazing artist named Analogue Dear, he’s from somewhere in Europe, but he’s literally one of the greatest artists ever.
He sent me a guitar loop, which, in Affliction, you hear- it’s the foundation of the song. I pitched it down, added a bunch of effects to it. Tiësto heard it, and said we should work on this together. I’m like “yeah, let’s do that!”.
This great vocalist Olivera, who sang on it, she’s literally the best, we made a rough demo for here- she sang over it. We put our thoughts together, about what the song should be about, and then she wrote it, and sang on it. Then we just finished it up after the vocals came out.
It was a long process.
It’s still early 2019; still on that new year wave right now. What can fans expect from you, heading into this year?
ZAXX: I’m not allowed to say most of what is happening. The only thing I can say is I have a lot of music coming! My best music yet is coming out this year.
You can catch ZAXX, with Alan Walker, on the Different World Tour as it continues its trek across North America for the next month, and a half. Tour dates are available here.