SharedViews Mixtape Session - Vol 1 - Produced by Zakk Riffle
Sometimes things have a way of really coming together on their own. Like the way Zakk Riffle found our SharedViews profile on Instagram the same week we’d decided to begin highlighting up & coming artists and musicians through our Soundcloud channel. Looking back now, I can’t remember who even reached out to whom, but we linked up and Zakk began producing Vol. 1 of our SharedViews Mixtape Sessions. Collaboration as we’d come to find, is Zakk’s passion as well.
The young and multi-talented producer seems to to be well-grounded in the sense of fully understanding not only the game and hustle of the music industry he’s trying to break into, but the ever-complicated world around him. It’s clear when speaking with Zakk that nothing was handed to him, except maybe the initial guitar lessons purchased from his father after begging his dad for the Guitar Hero video game and getting denied. He credits a lot of his inspiration to his father, in fact, who single-handedly at times was the sole support behind Zakk’s upbringing. Zakk gained inspiration from his dad then and now and clearly has respect for his father and those around him who continue to support and believe in him. Kevin Wishard of 20/20 Audio in Lancaster, Penn. for example, who Zakk made sure to mention by name and has lent a major hand in producing/engineering the sounds he creates.
We sat down with Zakk and asked a few questions about past, present, and future. Check out some of our conversation here while you catch a vibe on Zakk’s SV Mixtape Vol.1.
The conversation has been paraphrased in most places for ease of reading.
SV (in continuation to talking about Zakk’s musician father):
This seems like a good time ask where you’re looking to take this talent in the music world?
Aside from releasing as many tracks as possible right now, the end goal would be owning my own production studio/label. I want to control, along with other people, all the video/visual, audio and most other aspects, where I can independently release music to my fan base in a successful way. Successful to the point where I’m doing it not only for myself but I can bring other people along with me.
With more of a “label” viewed as the long-term goal, what are your thoughts on how the music industry has changed in regard to labels and how music is being released these days? How do you see your vision differing from what’s becoming of well-known record labels and the path musicians take to getting their music heard?
With the industry nowadays, I feel it’s pretty easy [on a side note] just to give up entirely and say “the game is rigged” or “the labels control everything.” It’s weird to see people's mentality about it. They don’t believe in the independence thing a little bit. I actually have a little bit of a different view. I believe you need to go 100% independent, controlling everything in-house. The Audio the visual, etc. and then partner with bigger companies like Apple and Spotify. In my opinion, the part an independent artist has to do, they have to be business savvy. It’s not just enough to do everything yourself, the audio/video etc. A lot of times as an independent artist you still need to bridge that gap, like Russ did like Chance did, in working with mainly bigger companies to get the independent music out, and you still control your masters the music is good enough where you can leverage that.
It’s interesting how artists have had to deal with things like the spin companies create by forcing downloads of songs or albums onto devices, and in-turn force artists to find their own new ways of getting their content noticed in this new age of 2018 and beyond.
Oh yea! And we are definitely in the streaming age don’t ever deny that. If you’re not on Apple, Spotify, Title… if you’re not basically submitting through a publisher or distributor… like I personally use DistroKid, and why would I want to hide that information?
We agree and we think most artists must agree with that and that’s why the industry is changing. It’s about making the content more accessible not less and the smart artists seem to all be in agreement.
Exactly and a lot of artists miss that, thinking they can simply put their content on one platform. You have to be EVERYWHERE. My own friends won’t even listen to the things I send them if it’s not on their preferred platform.
Tell us about the mix you’ve just made for us. What inspirations did you have when creating our first ever mixtape?
For this mix, I wanted to capture all the new elements of the genres I'm going through, all the new sampling techniques, and I thought I’d do you guys justice and I threw on 2 un-released tracks! Genius, the first song on the mix, is something I just made a few weeks ago. I recorded at my own house just a couple weeks ago.
What other projects are you working on?
I just moved out to Denver a few months ago so mainly I’m just trying to get everything on track with my life here so I can work on my future goals successfully. I feel like it’s easy to just work on music, but when I work on music I want to have a vision for it or an angle. I feel like that vision is what it takes to really get off the ground so I’m working on that. In my opinion, it can sometimes be easier for an artist to make good music than it is for them to market it. I’m excited to get involved in this city and the future projects coming with it!
Being new to the Denver Scene, how do you feel about it so far? Do you feel you’ll be able to plug yourself in, find some projects you care about, etc?
For sure. I also feel it’s worth mentioning I play guitar. To be honest, I want to attack the scene in the way of doing live music, like having a live essence, me creating my songs from scratch on the stage, not just going up and performing things. Mainly I feel like the scene is so talented, I’d really love a collaborative effort between everyone in shows with a healthy mix of different kinds of music. I feel like there’s so much potential happening every single night here. There’s plenty of Denver artists I’ve already found I’d like to work with. Building with them would be important to me, but also building their production and their image. I view myself less of a musician. I want to be more of a collaborative artist. I want to help produce tracks, sing on the track, play guitar on the track, help mix and master the track, help build the show.
Look for more from this (only) 23 year old, multi-talented producer and he’s given the green light to reach out for collaborative purposes! You can find him on all major platforms.
Spotify - Zakk Riffle
Soundcloud - Zakk Riffle
Instagram - @zakk_riffle