Aug 9, 2021
5 min read
Paul and Zach of Gettoblaster came up in the late 90s/early 2000s rave scene as a DJ and promoter respectively. “We stayed in touch and one weekend we were in Miami together… I got booked for a party eleven eleven with 12th Planet and I ahd agreed to play a trap set. When I arrived I knew it wasn’t for me. I said watch me fuck these people up. I played ‘The Percolator’ and looked at Zach and said this is what we have to do together. We started Gettoblaster from there.”
Given their lengthy history in the scene, Paul and Zach have a unique perspective of the modern house and techno scene. Coming off of a massive performance at The Brooklyn Mirage supporting Chris Lake, Gettoblaster reflected extensively on the things they love about the scene now, and how the scene has grown and changed in the last 20+ years.
“It’s all about the vibe. At Mirage it was amazing in the rain, everyone was just getting down.... Nowadays we notice that the crowd has to be vibing and you have to work harder to keep them engaged. In the 90s it was America’s first chance at hearing dance music, people were really listening. But at the best parties now, it’s incredible. Every movement we did at the mirage opening for Chris Lake, the crowd reacted.”
While Gettoblaster are now used to play massive venues week in and week out with incredible production and stage design, they sowed their roots in a much different way. Coming up in the warehouse rave scene meant they started their careers working underground parties. While they reflect positively on those days, there is a sentiment that the way we party now is safer and more responsible.
“You wouldn’t know where the party was. You would have to drive around and just listen for the music… We’d be in the warehouse with 7000 people and there’d be one disco ball. People would have a heart attack in the 90s if they saw the kind of production we have now… Venues back then would shut the water off in the bathrooms so that people would have to buy water instead of refilling. I’d been at parties where I’m DJing and the sound goes out and then all of a sudden there’s guns in your face cause the Feds are there… It’s definitely different now.”
After that fateful weekend in Miami where Gettoblaster was conceived, Paul and Zach began to crank out tracks in the studio together. When they started, Zach was living in Michigan and Paul was in Colorado. They would send tracks back and forth over the internet, visiting one another every now and then just to get some facetime in. As they’ve progressed over time, they have found inspiration from other artists comes constantly. “There’s so many amazing artists now. Back in the record store day there were 10 new artists every week… Now, the level of talent coming up is amazing.”
Paul and Zach put a tremendous amount of music in the first few years of their project together. While they achieved commercial success, their first true break out came in 2018 with the release of ‘Future Funk.’ Although it is now their most known track and a secret weapon for DJs across the world, it took a long time for it to gain any traction. “DJ Pierre helped us release it. We got a huge banner on Beatport but it did nothing. It would crush in our sets but it just didn’t sell at all. A year and a half later I get a message on our fan page from someone in Tel Aviv with a video of a massive crowd losing their shit to this track being played out by Solomun… It went to top 10 on Beatport immediately and had 30,000 Shazam's overnight.”
The success story of ‘Future Funk’ is somewhat indicative of the response that Gettoblaster finds to a lot of their music. Over the years they have noticed a tangible difference in how their tracks are received in Europe versus the states. “We get reactions in Europe first… out of the ten that get reactions, the biggest one will play here. This is why we interject actual lyrics into our tracks. The Europeans hate it when we add lyrics. We always get an email from the Euro DJs asking for a version with no words. It works better here with lyrics because of hip-hop and pop culture. We give out instrumentals for our European friends.”
Paul and Zach made the most of their time in lockdown, creating over 100 tracks and releasing 20+ this year alone. Despite their massive output, the guys are looking to have a more direct creative strategy around their releases going forward. “We’re slowing down our releases a bit and putting more emphasis on the tracks with vocals. We’re focused on creating music videos, finding sync licensing opportunities… and playing as many shows as we can to test out every new record.” They just dropped an EP with DJ Deeon and are playing shows all over the country.