“Getting in the studio every day is like therapy for me,” Benjamin Pettit—aka DJ Zinc—tells Apple Music. “I just absolutely love losing myself in creating music. A lot of DJs have told me they’ve struggled this year  without being able to get out and play to people, but I think I’d find it harder if I couldn’t get in the studio.” For this Friends and Fam project, Pettit opened studio doors to a cohort of musical talent, including vocalists Andreya Triana and Maverick Sabre, bassline producer Notion, British reggae singer Sweetie Irie and MC Lady Sanity.
“I could make eight instrumental tracks by myself,” he tells Apple Music. “But the whole concept was to do something I couldn’t do alone so I had to reach out to friends and family.” Drawing on the musical styles Zinc has produced across his near 30-year career, the album moves between anthemic festival main stage drum ’n’ bass, bass house, (reminiscent of his Crack House projects) and full-throttle bassline on the Notion collaboration. Here, we get the story behind each track.
“Charlotte Haining has become one of the biggest drum ’n’ bass vocalists in the last few years. The lyrics are about how we don’t know when we’ll be able to dance in a club again and how that’s therapy for so many people. For me, being in the studio is my therapy but for many it’s getting out on Friday night, losing yourself in music, dancing and letting your hair down.”
Through It All
“The idea with this was to make a big drum ’n’ bass tune that would sound amazing if it cropped up on the radio or came on shuffle. I’d never worked with Mav [Maverick Sabre] before, but he was absolutely phenomenal. Being in the studio with him was like having a private concert by an amazing artist. I think he might have sung it four times, but he’d nailed it on the first take.”
Felt So Good (feat. Kyd)
“I’ve known Sweetie [Irie] for years and he’s featured on some tracks that I absolutely love. I love his vibe. The female vocalist here is Kyd who he knew and brought in, which adds to that Friends and Fam flavour.”
Baby It’s You (feat. Andreya Triana)
“I look at this project and think, ‘Man, I’m lucky to have worked with some of these people,’ and Andreya is definitely one of those. I love the stuff she’s done with Ben Westbeech over the years and the new project they’ve done as The Vision. Some artists need a bit of help and direction in the studio but with someone like Andreya, she’s worked out all the harmonies and nailed the track before you’ve even really thought about it.”
“I worked with Alicaì Harley on this track and it has that cheeky and sassy kind of vibe I absolutely love in music. This track has a bit of the flavor of some of the Crack House stuff I do as the bassline is made on the same synth. I could make this kind of music all day long to be honest…but maybe I’d get a bit bored if everything had the same vibe.”
“I made this with Notion who is the man on the bass house scene. I made a track with Holy Goof a couple of years ago who said, ‘If you want to know if it’s a banger, you have to send it to Notion when it’s done.’ We DJed back-to-back a few times last year, so it was nice to get in the studio with him.”
Out Of Control (feat. Kudu Blue)
“I made this beat towards the end of 2019 and was trying to work out what vocals to put on it for ages. Then I remixed Kudu Blue and loved her voice on that song and thought she’d be perfect for it. She’s down in Brighton and we had to do this one over Zoom as Covid had struck by the time we made it.”
“This track has a classic breakbeat from ‘Raw’ by Big Daddy Kane—and the vocal over the top from Lady Sanity is pretty feisty. Every female vocalist I work with is quite sassy and that sense that they can take care of themselves definitely comes across on the tracks.”