Zach Douglas, a.k.a. Z-Dougie, is a jack of all trades in the world of electronic music. The 20-year-old rising star, known for his unique “ghetto bass” sound, has been making big moves in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Z-Dougie has become a household name within the Memphis EDM community, and last year he earned the title of music director for Daisyland at the New Daisy; Memphis’ hottest EDM dance club. OneEDM had the exciting opportunity to sit down with Zach to discuss his career, how he got started, and what he sees for the future of Z-dougie and Daisyland.
“I get my inspiration from two places, my friends and the feeling of sharing music I’m proud of.”
How did it all start for you?
“I downloaded a ninety-nine cent DJ app on my iPod when I was thirteen, and would “DJ” for my friends wherever there was an aux cord. I fell in love with mixing music and ended up getting some beginner DJ equipment for Christmas. I practiced every day after school, started playing house parties at fourteen, and actual venues by fifteen. After that, it’s almost blurry from how fast everything is happening, but I’ll never forget that DJ app.”
Give me a brief rundown of your music career.
“Like I said before, I started on an iPod app at thirteen and worked my way up to playing house parties and small venues by fifteen. I got connected with Donald Hines (DJ Epic), and he got me spots playing these big high school warehouse raves. Around the same time, I met Nolan Leake (Gutta Kick), who helped get on MEMfest and a bunch of other Crop Circle events. Big shout out to both of them! I started producing my own music and playing out of town shows at sixteen. I kept doing both of those for a few years, learned from producers Luzcid and Tascione (both awesome guys), and made a ton of friends along the way. After my first year of college in Chattanooga, I dropped out and moved back home without much of a plan. DJ Epic hooked me up with some big shows when I came back, and I got a ton of new support in Memphis from those shows. I met the owner of the New Daisy at one of them, and a few days later he offered me the job at Daisyland. Since then I’ve been doing my best to throw some badass shows and make some dope music.”
Who is your biggest inspiration?
“I get my inspiration from two places, my friends and the feeling of sharing music I’m proud of. I have a lot of homies that are working their asses off to make their dreams come true, and that makes me want to work harder. I think everyone’s favorite part is playing shows though. There’s no feeling that compares to playing live music and showing off what you’ve been working on.”
What genre would you categorize your music? Do you have a specialty, or genre that you are more privy to than others?
“Ghetto bass music is what the Z-Dougie project is all about. I don’t really stick to certain genres for my production or sets, but it will always be ghetto.”
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
“I’ve had a lot of fun and played a lot of shows in the time I’ve been doing this, but the highlight so far was playing direct support for Ookay on my birthday this year. One of the craziest crowds I’ve played for and I had hundreds of people sing happy birthday to me. Tightest birthday yet!”
What is it that you love about the scene? Your sub-genre’s scene?
“My favorite thing about bass music is that the possibilities are endless. There’s still so much unexplored territory with the tools producers have today. It’s crazy. You never know when you’re going to check SoundCloud and discover some random artist creating an entirely (new) genre. I hope to offer something new and influential to bass music in my career, and just knowing that it’s a possibility keeps me motivated.”
What is one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?
“Jotaro, jk. That’s a hard question, there’s a lot of songs I can listen to over and over again. Off the top of my head though I can say Life’s A Bitch by Boogie T never gets old. I’ll get hype for that tune every time it comes on.”
How did you become the music director for Daisyland at The New Daisy?
“I had just dropped out of college after my first year at UTC and moved back to Memphis. I didn’t have a plan really, but I knew I wanted to focus everything on music and somehow make it work. I got booked at Daisyland to play with NGHTMRE, and then again with Getter the summer of 2016. I brought out a lot of people to both and got a great response from the crowds. I met the owner at Getter, and we exchanged numbers because he liked what I did. A few days later he called me to offer me the job as music director.”
How has the EDM scene changed since you took over as music director?
“I’ve tried really hard to use my position to bring all the different parts of Memphis’ scene together, and I think it’s working. We’ve booked artist from all different genres, big and small, and try to put the locals on as support that makes the most sense. It seems like the DJs and fans around here like what we are doing and supports it. If we keep everyone involved that wants to be, I only see it continuing to grow.”
What artists have you booked for Daisyland since you’ve taken over as music director?
“We have had a ton of shows in the year that I’ve been at Daisyland, but some of the top shows we’ve had were Herobust, Zomboy, Ookay, Eptic, and Boombox Cartel. We also have a crazy lineup of shows for the rest of 2017 including Adventure Club, Space Jesus, Slander, Borgore, and even a few others not announced yet.”
What is your vision for the electronic scene here in Memphis?
“There’s nothing I’d love more than to have a sick bass music scene in my hometown, but it’s not just about big shows. I’m trying to include everyone who wants to be involved with what we are doing, so we can build something closer to a family rather than just a fan base. It’s already growing fast, but there’s still a lot of work to do. I’d like to see Memphis become a hot spot for bass music in our area and all of the local artists build with the scene too.”
How do you juggle both making music and throwing shows? What else do you do besides music?
“I have my Z-Dougie project, the Daisyland job, and a couple audio engineering jobs too. It’s not easy balancing all of it, but it helps that they are all music related. I write everything down to make sure I don’t forget things and try to focus on one task at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so I prioritize and then get to work. Trying to balance all of these different things is definitely the hardest part of my career, but it’s all totally worth it in the end.”
Are you able to share any of your secret tricks with me?
“I think being a nice and genuine person has done a lot for me. I try to be as socially involved in the scene as possible, and always stay positive while doing it. Connecting with the people who support you and make sure they know you appreciate them can take you a long way in anything you do.”
What is your number one goal as a DJ? As the music director?
“I’m really just trying to spread happiness while keeping myself happy too. I’m not sure how far Z-Dougie or Daisyland will go, but I’m just focused on building myself as an artist and the scene in Memphis right now. I’ve had a ton of fun so far, and everything is only be getting better. I guess ultimately the goal is to share music and happiness for the rest of my life.”