Three years after his unfortunate comments, the French producer and DJ has returned on Loca Recordings for his first label single. He talked with us about his new sound, what he's been doing, and the future of the Merzo project.
Let's start off by covering where you left things off. Can you talk more about what was going through your mind after the comments starting rolling in back in 2016?
First of all, I really want to apologize again for any people I hurt with my statement - I still think about it all the time. My first thing in music is unity, I always loved that people from every country, religion, or spirit are celebrating music together - this is what I make music, against war, discrimination or any hate. I felt really bad about what I did.
When I posted my comments, I was very mad and made a very brash comment in the heat of the moment - spoken like a true idiot supporter whose football team just lost to another country. I truly love Portugal and have talked with many amazing people from there like Kura who I met with in 2014 and Joao from KEVU in 2016. Both Joao and I were at a bad place at the time and were going to meet up a month before Euro 2016, but unfortunately I had some issues with my ID card and wasn't able to make it. At the time when this all went down, I spoke a lot about my statement and do not have much more to say about it other than I'm sorry. I have experienced racism first hand as an Arabic man living in France and I feel awful that I made others feel the way I felt during my time here.
Let's take a step back for a moment and go back to when you first started producing. What do you see when you look back on the start of your career?
Oh that's a strong question... I always saw my first tracks to be not all that great. My mate Gzann would be much better suited for talking about these things. I've never been a good original producer, I really liked to remix track with beautiful or strong melodies. My first Armada release, "Quartz" was a trash track for me. I started producing this track in the first half of 2013 and left it like a banana peel on my computer. Sort of funny story: at the time, I just left it up as a preview on my Soundcloud. It was only like eight or nine months after when Danny Avila sent me a message to get the full version that I finished it and got it signed.
Can you tell us about about what you've been up to during the period after Armada and up till now?
With regards to music, I had tried starting a few new aliases. The first one, "Kazai," was an idea of Armada Music to finish the contract in my name without dealing with some messy paperwork. But after some months of waiting for the releases, I decided on eventually leaving Armada for good.
Second one was KAME, it lasted 2 weeks...
The fact is that it's very difficult to make a new alias when a lot of people around you know you as Merzo. This identity is now mine and it will be forever. Also, the community that you leave when you decide to change is like changing all the fun and cool memories you had with your fans/friends. I talk about fans but it was a family for me - they helped me so much everyday. I don't think they could ever know what impact they've had on my life.
How will this return be different from the others you've attempted over the years? Is Merzo truly here to stay?
It's a return. I will never stop producing because this is something I can't control. And for the first time, there is a label who believes in me again and gives me the motivation I needed. This is just the beginning and I'm certainly not sitting on enough tracks yet to remain consistent, but I think I will be back at 100% very soon.
Is there anything else you'd like to say before closing out this interview?
Thanks a lot for reading this interview and thank you to the QR Network for giving me a chance to tell my side of the story. To everyone reading, I'm doing my best to give you the best version of Merzo with huge collaborations and releases. Stay tuned for 2020.
Thanks so much to Merzo for taking the time to answer our questions. Be sure to keep up with him using the links below.
Chris W. Lao
Writer, Label Manager, DJ, and Student.
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