Tag Archives: Interview

Profile: 1800HaightStreet

Zach, aka 1800HaightStreet and ZDBT, posing in front of the Vancouver Harbour

If you live in Vancouver, are any bit a of homer and enjoy new techno, then it’s likely that you’ve encountered 1800HaightStreet. Their driving melodies and billowing percussion have captured ears around the world, and for good reason. The duo has been producing and playing music for longer than a decade. Zach, known as one half of the 1800HaightStreet project and ZDBT, is a beaming example of musical proficiency, self-affirming excitement and commitment.

Fresh off the back of a European live tour, Zach sat with me to chat history, production, and plans for the future. What follows is a framed and summarized representation of our exchange.

they say being a touring DJ is really hard on your mental well-being, but I think being in a punk band in a crappy vehicle, touring Canada, is probably a lot worse. But, it was still fun. I wouldn’t trade that.

Zach was born and raised in Winnipeg. He began playing the drums early: at home and at school as a percussionist. His mother bought him his first drum set at the age of ten, and encouraged him to play to his heart’s content. Since then, he has taught himself how to play, aside from some training in Latin and Afro-Cuban grooves.

He moved to Vancouver in 2008, where he began working and playing in bands. His first tour was with hardcore punk band Sick Charade in 2011, and his last was with Summering in 2015. By that point he was pretty saturated by band life and decided to transition out of it. “I got pretty fed up with playing in bands,” he told me, adding that  “they say being a touring DJ is really hard on your mental well-being, but I think being in a punk band in a crappy vehicle, touring Canada, is probably a lot worse. But, it was still fun. I wouldn’t trade that.”

Since then, the duo has exhibited some remarkable output. They tend to write music independently and assist the other in post-production. At the moment, Zach is churning out a track nearly every day. This makes for an abundance of work to choose from when it’s time to collaborate with a label on releases. With such a brimming portfolio, I have no doubt that 2019 will be a productive year for the 1800HaightStreet and ZDBT projects.

It was with a couple friends and bandmates, Todd and Hunter, that Zach decided to part ways from the challenges of band life, sell his drums and pick out some synthesizers. With a name from Todd to reflect the psychedelic movement of West Coast Bay Area hippies, Zach and Hunter collaborated on production that led to their first release, The Pursuit, in 2015.

When Zach and Hunter aren’t touring or in the studio, they may be on a film set. Both of them pay the bills on a lucrative film payroll, with Zach working in props and Hunter in set decoration. Zach’s schedule is less demanding so he tends to be in the studio more often and has more opportunities to perform. Nevertheless, the duo often collaborates on adapting tracks for live performance, so they have a robust live arrangement at the moment. “I prefer doing live stuff in general,” Zach explained, adding that “DJing will be mostly a solo thing in the future. It’s fun to DJ back to back, but it’s hard to do that all the time. I like to be able to explore within a DJ set.”

This is a natural progression for Zach. He’s been listening to techno since the 90s when his uncle worked in a record store where he showed him some of the decade’s coolest electronic music. “[My uncle] used to make me mix tapes with banging techno and acid on it, like Hardfloor, and lots of 90s shit … I was really obsessed with the ‘Hackers’ soundtrack,” he told me.

With 30 years of techno along with hundreds of hours of solo studio work, I imagine that both his live and DJ sets are robust. I’ll be catching him in Vancouver on March 30th at Open Studios. Parties in Victoria and Edmonton are also in the works, with some European dates on the horizon.

Watch Lobster Theremin’s label LTBLK as well as Vancouver-based labels for Zach’s 2019 releases. Aditionally, watch out for a new project colab titled “Dosis” by Isla label boss Nap, and ZDBT

1800’s latest album Age is available now on Bandcamp.

Find  ZDBT’s tunes, and FM work on Youtube, Mixcloud and Soundcloud.

Thank you for your time and your words, Zach!

Are there any producers from the Vancouver area who you are interested in knowing more about? Please let us know in the comments or via email.


INTERVIEW: Eleven — Amanda Franzén, Curious future Graphic Designer

Amanda Franzén

Curious future Graphic Designer

  • Age: 22 years old, but I do sometimes feel like I am 43 but at other times 12, so I really do think that age is just a number.
  • Job situation:  Soon to be looking for a job, I’ll have my Bachelor Degree in June 2019, major in Graphic Design. Hire me!
  • Best memory with design: This is probably the one question most people have complained about being a “hard” one, and now that I’m going to answer it myself: I’m kind of excited! I have many funny and great memories with design, especially after I started my studies to become a Graphic Designer. We had plenty of different assignments that have been amazing and fun, but often those assignment have been a lot more than just a school assignment. Study something is about taking in and reflect about a fact or action, to actually let the information become something useful. This is what school have been for me, more or less. But I have also worked on different small project for different customers, and those project have almost given me more useful information about the branch of Graphic design than school could ever do. So my best memory have to come from exactly that: a small project I did a year ago from todays date. I was suppose to help a label company with creating four different types of beer labels that later would be used at a big label fair in one of Swedens bigger cities, Gothenburg. Fot he label company, the design of the labels wasn’t the most important part, but for them it was all about showing future customers what different kinds of material and printing techniques they could. I saw this as an opportunity to use the design as a further step to show their techniques, not only should the customers see the material, they should feel it. My best memory — right now — with design was when the label company gave me the finished result of the labeled beer bottle and it looked exactly as I wanted it to look like!
  • Favourite font/typeface: Right now I’m very found of the typeface FreightText Pro for body text and DIN Light 2014 for headings. But my favourites tend to change almost every single week.

As a future graphic designer, what would be my biggest expectations and also scares for the future? To soon be done with my bachelors degree and that I’m basically soon to be a Graphic Designer even on paper, both makes me very excited but a bit scared. Soon I will face the branch that is one of the most competitive ones out there, and the ones that I compete against for jobs and projects will often be friends from school or other assignments I’ve done through my studies. My absolute biggest expectations are the freedom I will have to be creative, all the possibilities to actually work with something that I will enjoy and take grate pleasure in doing. One of the biggest scares is, what I’ve understood after these weeks of interviews, to find myself out there, not being hired or not getting a job. But what is the most important thing to remember in those situations, I guess, is to keep my cool and always keep on fighting, never settling. To believe in my abilities and have trust in my creativity will be my greatest powers when looking for a job.

How would I describe the blog as a whole, as a project? Design choices: I found my theme pretty early on, called Catch. It’s build up by moving blocks, so every new post creates a new slide on the page. This was very suitable for the cause of my blog I had in mind, a gallery filled with different female designers. I’ve always been very impressed by different designers and their creativity, and as I’m soon to be one of them, I had an urge to know more. The design of the blog was therefor important for me, I wanted to create a platform where the designers would want to be a part of, a place where they would like to be seen. Even though I’ve chose to only interview female designers, I didn’t want the design of the blog to be gendered. Therefore I chose the colors grey (#474747) and a golden yellow (#fbcc33). For me, neither of these colors belong to any certain gender, just the way I wanted it to be.  Process: When I started the blog, I had an okay clear picture of how the blog would look and work. But standing here today, close to the end of this course, the evolution of the blog proves just how little I did know of having a blog and creating a network. From start my posts were quite flat and I used very little differences to separate one interview from the other. Throughout peer reviews I was helped with great ideas to make the posts more personal, with such an easy thing as making every header for the interviews with a sample picture from the interviewed designer. Now the post went from kind of anonymous to personal for every and each designer.  Now my idea of creating a gallery was fulfilled. What about the future?  I will not continue to post blogposts and interview designers, I believe the cause of my blog have been fulfilled. But I’m not finished with the platform as an opportunity to be seen. I want to reinvent the blog as an opportunity to us it as a personal portfolio. I believe that the platform I have created will be the perfect place for me to build my own “sales pitch” and be seen as a designer.

What would be my best tips for someone going through the same phase? To realise that you are getting closer and closer to actually growing up and that you are soon to be expected to be a grown up with a job and responsibilities is a very frightening thought. Especially if you are like me and live for the greater moments and what’s happening right now. But my absolut best tips for you is not to stop living in the moment and not to stop dreaming, and actually, but to never  grow up fully. For me, my inner child have always been one of my greatest strengths, my ability to not take everything way to literal and black and white, but my power to use colours and imagination. I’m not saying that you should never act like an adult, but you should never lose your inner child. Because we all have one, some of us closer than others, that inner kid that loves to play.

INTERVIEW: Ten — Julia Engström, Junior Graphic Designer

Julia Engström

Junior Graphic Designer

  • Age: 24 years old
  • Job situation: Student
  • Best memory with design: Making power points presentations in high school, which is what got me interested in graphic design in the first place. 
  • Favourite font/typeface: Berthold grotesk or other big bold fonts

You do a lot of different designs. What would you say is the best/funniest thing to create (logos, applications, etc.)? My favourite things to create are brand books. Instead of working with someone else’s design you get to build a brand’s design up from scratch. You decide the rules a future designer has to abide to.

What is your first priority when taking jobs? What is your favourite job to do? Since I’m a student I haven’t got the chance to choose certain types of jobs so this is a hard question for me to answer. What I do know is for future work application I will be looking for agency work were the jobs are varied and were you work in teams, which I have experienced during my internship and enjoy very much. If on top of that I got to work with up-and-coming businesses, helping them build their brand, that would really be a dream job situation!

Would you say that the design branch is man dominated or neutral? Why do you think that? My impression of the gender equality in the design industry is that it used to be dominated by men but in the past years it has shifted to a more neutral state. I do believe though that the higher positions in the design industry (such as art director and CEO) are still primarily men, which unfortunately is the case in most industries.

Want to connect with Julia? Write a comment and I will make that happen!

INTERVIEW: Nine — Sara Idberg, Junior Graphic Designer

Sara Idberg

Junior Graphic Designer

  • Age: 21
  • Job situation: I’m currently studying my bachelor in graphic design.
  • Best memory with design: My first semester at university we designed typefaces and I learnt how much I love typography. I could sit for hours just focusing in the details of my typeface, exploring with the curves and so on. I think the best thing about it though is that I can still proudly present a job in my portfolio that I made my very first semester.
  • Favourite font/typeface: Avant Garde Light or in general geometric/circular lightweight sans serifs.

You do a lot of different designs. What would you say is the best/funniest thing to create (logos, applications, etc.)? I would say any type of layout. It could be magazines, books, packages even, as long as it starts with a blank paper and I am supposed to arrange text and images. I can’t draw any better than a five-year-old so logos can be a bit tricky for me.

What is your priority when taking jobs? What is your favourite job to do? Considering my lack of experience, I will try to think as my future self. I would like to think that I will have the opportunity to choose the jobs that I can be proud of ethically and if so, that would be a priority. To solve a problem for a company with good values in a sustainable way. Of course, I would also love being able to do jobs where I can produce nice looking, smart designs where the client trusts my opinion, rather than having to adapt on their bad graphic profile thinking that my design is a total waste of money for the client.

Would you say that the design branch is man dominated of neutral? Why do you think that? I think that the agencies are overall man dominated but my feeling is that it’s getting better and a lot of them are actively searching for more women. It’s kind of surprizing though since the university programs on design are women dominated. I also think that there are more women in the field than we see, maybe there’s more women working freelance or in house? Either way I think that the agency culture has a very strong history of man domination with the “Mad Men”-spirit, when women haven’t been welcomed in.

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INTERVIEW: Eight — Sara Gärdegård, Graphic Designer

Sara Gärdegård

Graphic Designer

  • Age: 29
  • Job situation: Taking a break from agency life & started my own company, freelancing with design, photography and content/social media.
  • Best memory with design: I think for me it’s when I reach that level of satisfaction. It’s a gut feeling. I often know when I’m done and not and that level of happiness of slowing a problem for someone else for me that’s the best feeling.
  • Favourite font/typeface: Circular and Burgess right now.
You do a lot of different designs. What would you say is the best/funniest thing to create (logos, applications, etc.)? For me it has always been to have a creative approach to life, to solve problems, and make things better. My curiosity has led me to explore different sides of design. I still do, I want to learn more and get better at it. I need that flexibility to do a lot of different things to not get bored. The ”best/funniest” is I think everyones dream, a client who is open minded and have trust in you. Make things better, simple and useful.

Do you have something important for you that makes you more interested in taking one job over another (Environment, food, etc.)? If yes, why and does that affect the assignment itself? Well its 2018 and everyone should strive for a good work environment, diversity and inclusion. People are starting to get picky about work environment and health atmosphere and the people around you become like your second family. Other things that is a plus is obvious, like vacation days, flexibility, the role and responsibility is and salary of course. 

Would you say that the design branch is man dominated or neutral? Why do you think that? I’m pretty sure it’s man dominated, and it’s still a question for me how?!  People who graduates are an equal amount of 50/50 of both genders.. For millennial diversity is important. I think the industries is starting realized we need to more actively address the glaring diversity gap in creative agencies. In my first jobs I had no female leaders around me to look up to, (let me add there is a differens having women around you and women working in the same field). I felt that it has been at a nice thing to work with diversity and inclusion but now has evolved to taking responsible. In this industries where we create products for diverse consumers so it should be obvious that we need different perspective and backgrounds. Studies has revealed that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially. Your client might not prioritize diversity and inclusion, but you can bet driving sales is a priority.

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