ZZEV Interview: Rising Star from Dehradun Talks Music Journey, Inspirations, And Ambitions

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In the sacred womb of Uttarakhand, creativity and artistry thrive like stars twinkling in the night sky. Here, talent abounds, and artists bring color and life to the world around them. Uttarakhand’s hip-hop culture has left a significant impact on Indian hip-hop listeners and beyond. As time goes on, new stars emerge, shining brightly with their amazing talents. They work tirelessly to build on the artistic legacy of those who came before them, adding new flavors to the world of creativity. In the midst of this cultural revolution, we had the chance to talk with a rising star, ZZEV. He’s a talented 19-year-old rapper from Dehradun, whose music takes listeners on a journey of self-discovery and expression. Through his songs, ZZEV connects dreams with reality, weaving emotions and stories into a beautiful tapestry of melodies. Like a guiding star, his music leads those who seek inspiration and meaning.

With unwavering pride, ZZEV stands as the flagbearer for his crew ‘YungWrds,’ showcasing an unparalleled work ethic and intelligence beyond his tender age. He embodies the spirit of a hungry artist, always eager to learn and improve. In 2022, ZZEV made his mark in the music world with the release of his debut EP — ‘RUKO.DEKHO.CHALO.’ And just recently, he took the underground scene by storm with the drop of his mixtape titled ‘Aagman,’ marking his official entrance into the scene.

During a candid conversation with Raptrill, the enigmatic rapper bares his soul, sharing the intriguing beginnings of his journey, the myriad of inspirations that fuel his artistry, and the burgeoning hip-hop culture in Uttarakhand. With genuine passion, he unravels his creative process, offering insights into the inner workings of his musical genius. As anticipation builds, he also lifts the veil on his upcoming projects, leaving us eager to witness the next chapter of his artistic odyssey.

This conversation was edited and condensed for clarity.

ZZEV Interview

1. Who is ZZEV? Can you please introduce yourself? Also tell us about YungWrds? 

“Hey there! I’m ZZEV, and for me, ZZEV is like a medium to express things I don’t usually share with others. It allows me to speak the thoughts hidden in my mind.

ZZEV Interview

YungWrds is like a home to me, where me and my friends M40, Yung, Shin, Ab, and Ali come together. We create a space to grow together, and it’s not limited to just rapping or music. We explore various art forms like graffiti, drag races, digital art, rapping, and music production. While many know YungWrds as a YouTube label, we plan to reveal more genres related to healthy competitions in the future.”

2. Who were your musical heroes growing up, and how was your life before choosing music as a career?

“To be honest, while growing up, I’ve always listened to a variety of versatile artists, including Akon, Lil Wayne, Eminem, Adele, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam, Skrillex, Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, and the list goes on. It seems like my love for music knows no bounds, and it would never end if I don’t stop.

Now, I have chosen music as my career, but I am still just a normal being like anyone else in this world. The only difference is that now people can relate to me through my music. Even before pursuing music professionally, I had a strong connection with it. I used to practice classical music from the ages of 12 to 14, and I believe that has helped me tremendously in understanding music theories.”

3. Dehradun has a flourishing hip-hop scene. Can you tell us more about that and how it helps you as a young artist?

“Yesssir, Dehradun has indeed captured the scene for sure. Everyone here is always ready to participate in freestyle cyphers, my brother. And when I say ‘freestyle,’ believe me, it’s authentic word manipulation on the spot, nothing prewritten, as that is considered lame in Doon culture. This is what motivates me to push even further every time. The scene here is crazy, and I believe Dehradun will soon be recognized everywhere when it comes to Indian Hip-Hop.”

4. When and how did you get into music?

“Bro, I first heard rap when I was 9, but I started regularly listening to rap when I turned 13, I guess. Then, after a few years, around 2-3 years later, I began writing slowly, and the rest is history, my friend.

From the beginning, I have always been an introverted kid, so I used to write down my thoughts many times, but I never rhymed them. However, when I discovered rap, I found a medium to express what I truly wanted to say.”

5. Tell us about your recent project, ‘Aagman.’ What’s it about, and how was the experience?

“Well, ‘Aagman’ is an experimental mixtape, and as the term suggests, you probably already guessed how we created it. It was essentially a survey designed to observe the preferences of listeners, allowing me to work on my music and achieve growth.”

6. Is there an album, artist, or experience that changed your perspective on music?

“Yes, XXXTENTACION’s album ’17’ had a profound impact on me. Rest in peace, X. He was the realest artist I ever heard.”

7. Where do you see yourself in two years?

“I won’t talk big, but my aim is to see myself and my crew in a fully equipped private studio, doing the things we’re known for. After all, music is the remedy for all of us. That’s why we are committed to creating music for each and every person who thinks in a similar way but may be forced to let go of their passion due to crises or other reasons.”

8. Can you walk us through your creative process, and what do you enjoy the most while making music?

“I genuinely love the entire process of creating music. It starts with setting up a beat’s rhythm, creating melodies over it, and then writing down my feelings while hearing the instrumental. It’s a journey that brings me joy.”

9. Who or what influences you as an artist and as a person?

“One of my first influences is my cousin, whom we call Abhinav bhaiya. I have learned more from him than anyone else, like how to express my thoughts and never give up, no matter what. He is like a whole book to me. The second person who influenced me is Jahseh, also known as XXXTENTACION, introduced to me by Abhinav bhaiya. As an artist, X really helped me during a certain low point in my life, and now, I aim to make people feel the same way and assist them in growing and understanding the fundamentals of life through my music.”

10. Any upcoming projects or collaborations you’d like to share? What type of music can people expect from you in the future?

“Yesssir! An EP consisting of 6-7 tracks is currently in the works by M40, one of my mates, and I’ll be featuring in it for sure. The unique aspect to expect is the absence of a single vibe. It offers a variety of tracks ranging from commercial, melodic, and rage to the craziest, lyrical underground content. The ‘WTB’ (We The Best) EP will be dropping soon.

I’m also working on my solo project and planning to release another mixtape later this year. For now, I’ll be dropping singles and collaborating with others.”

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