The Creators Project: As one of the parts of the NASA duo, can you tell us how you came to be a musician?
DJ Zegon: I think that my first musical influences would be my nanny, the maids, and AM radio stations. My mom was a DJ influence for me as well. In the mid-70s she had two record players and a mixer, and she would record her mixes in reels and cut them. So since I was able to reach the record players I would put my hand there and touch it. Then later, when I was 10, 11, 12 years old, I played the guitar with a band. From the record players to the guitar, and then to the record players again, see?
Is this when hip-hop entered your life?
We were always on Praça Roosevelt, in the downtown area of São Paulo, and in the same places where the first B-Boy generation in Brazil appeared, around 1984, 1985. We also enjoyed punk rock, heavy metal, and new wave. The skater group has always been eclectic. A few years later I met Thaíde, who took me to DJ Shopping, which was this DJ shop. Later on he took me to his rehearsal with DJ Hum, before they recorded their first album, in '86, something like that.
I'd love to talk about your live show for a bit. Your Coachella set, for example, was a major production--there were the astronauts, puppets… How did this come about?
I’m not much of a person who enjoys speaking on the microphone. But I do enjoy expressing myself--every place I go I prepare a vignette, a collage. But I think that the DJ’s charisma also comes from how he sends his message, how he sees things.
And how does that play into the technologies you incorporate?
I think that the tools don't really matter--you have to use them. Sometimes you feel a bit lazy because these things make it too easy sometimes. The programs give you everything, but actually you end up going back to the origins and sampling without seeing waves, editing by the numbers. This rocks.
So you think that music is all too similar today? Because the means of production are universal and because everybody is using the same tools?
In part, yes. There are many, many clones, and only sometimes does something original come up. I went through a phase without making any music, without distributing music, just trying to rediscover myself, because I didn’t want to be part of that. So I think I’m starting to return now.
Are you finding that you now know exactly what you want to do musically?
As an artist, you don’t want to be like the others, so the thing I’ve been giving priority to for the past six months is my main instrument: the record player. As a DJ I have to express myself greatly.
What do you think is missing in music right now, technology-wise? If you were to develop a product based on your needs, what would it be?
Well, people are inventing new ways of selling music. We have to find out new formulas to make money with music. I can’t complain, but I see very talented people, who never earn enough money to live. A record company will not record an album spending as much as it used to three, four, five years ago. This is surreal. So in order to maintain quality you have to be more creative and be smarter to sell and to live off that. You have to make a miracle.