Local Zero is a name you’ll have to remember. In his first ever interview, the Soundcloud dream punk hunk spills his insights and details from his music and personal life.

First things first: How old are you and where are you from?

I’m 25 years old and I’m from San Jose in the Bay Area.

How did you get into music?

Honestly, as soon as I could even analyze the world around me, music stood out. All of my memories are marked by specific songs throughout my life. My older sister played bass in a punk band, so I’d hear her playing bass all over the house. I would walk in and she would play bands like The Smashing Pumpkins and Black Flag, and she basically put me onto punk/alternative music. She also got me into Beastie Boys, and they were the first rap music I’d ever heard.

When did you actually start making music, like producing and vocal wise?

It’s been off and on for a while. My parents made me take piano classes when I was 11 or something for a year, but I quit because I thought it was wack. I had a lot of friends in bands in high-school, and for like a month I was in a hardcore band doing vocals. It was then I met Getter [a popular EDM artist] in high-school. We had mutual friends and we would talk about music all the time, especially dubstep. He and another friend named Daniel showed me the program Reason. I started off making dubstep for the first year or so. Getter was getting big and he reposted one of these tracks I made. He blasted me on Facebook and everything.

Oh so you started off doing dubstep, that’s interesting. So when did you progress to the punk style you have going on right now?

Yeah, that’s the thing: when he put me on blast with the repost, I put so much pressure on myself to make a better song than that. Everytime I tried to make something, I couldn’t handle the pressure so I just stopped after a while. Some of my songs are still on YouTube with Getter’s comments on it. But I started progressing into the witch house genre like Clams Casino and Balam Acab. A$AP Rocky had a song with him so it put me onto newer rap. Then I started making beats for locals, like ambient type beats.

So when did you actually start making songs under Local Zero?

About 2 years ago or so, but even then I was just trying it out to see what happens. I’ve only put out like 10 or 12 songs. The punk style thing just came about naturally. I actually tried doing a metal-influenced rap for a while and I was pretty good at it, but it just felt more natural to do the punk singing type stuff. I just think I’m a punk; I’m naturally so contrarian to what anybody has to say. I can’t deal with authority. I just have to do my own thing, and that’s what punk is if you ask me.

How would you describe your style then? Yea it’s punk, but what else?

I feel pigeon-holed sometimes because I make a ton of songs that aren’t Local Zero style. I don’t want to be just one genre, and I hate feeling like I need to do that. I’m kind of struggling with that. My style right now is changing a bit, but I would describe it as shoegaze, indie, punk, with 808’s all together with folk influences. The other day the phrase “dream punk” popped into my head. It’s kinda cheesy but I think I like it.

That’s a hella nice way to put it. What is your music recording process like?

I can’t try to do something, I just have to play with it. It comes naturally. Keyboards, guitars, vinyls, and of course my voice. If I lock myself in my room and make a couple pots of coffee throughout the day, I’ll have a really fleshed out single. I’ll play until something resonates with my head and heart and just sounds right. I follow that and just slowly unravel it into a melody or chord. It just sort of unrolls, like a plant growing.

That sounds great. How many instruments do you play?

I don’t really play any instruments fluently. I just picked them up. I’ve used piano, acoustic and electric guitar, harmonica, and obviously my voice.

I saw that you made a song with Lil Hawk Boy, how was that like? How did that come about?

Hawk boy is my boy, I fucking love that kid. He just hit me up on Soundcloud and was like, “Let’s make a song.” I had just happened to make that song we did, and I couldn’t think of a verse for it. I sent it to him the same day and two days later he sent me something back. It was just a super natural hit. We’ve been talking about making more music and we really need to.

That brings me to my next question, what are your plans for the future?

As far as music, I’m trying to release a single every 2 weeks. I’m trying to move to LA sometime in the next month or two. I got a lot of friends down there, so I want to be able to work with everyone I can down there. And honestly just get better at my craft.

What’s something that keeps you sane outside of music?

Gardening. It’s so much fun. It’s fucking beautiful. Plants can’t talk to you or bug you. You just care for them and they reward you by growing strong and flowering. People need so much from me all the time with all the different positions I’m in with work and everything else. It’s a lot of responsibility, but if I can just fuck around in the dirt, watch plants grow, eat a strawberry I grew — it’s just sick. Oh, and working out too.

Top artists right now?

Zotiyac, Alkaline Trio, orion lake, Holy Mountain, Dxd, Darcy Baylis, OLIVIA, and everybody from this group chat I’m in called “Goopy Boopies.” They know who they are.

Who are your top 5 influences for your music?

Early Alkaline Trio, Smashing Pumpkins, Neil Young, Turnover, and Lil Peep of course.

Who would you like to collab with in the future?

So many people. I would love to work with Savage Ga$p, he’s a super cool dude. I would love to work with Fantasy Camp, Lil Zubin, everybody in Dxd, Holy Mountain for sure, and orion lake. Guccihighwaters, Familypet. I know some of those guys are down, it’s just a matter of making something. 4evr just moved into my town and we started hanging out, so I’m sure we’ll make something.

Some advice for anybody wanting to do music?

Literally anybody can do anything. I mean it. There are so many self-defeating people out there who won’t even give themselves a chance to run with it. They absorb what everyone else thinks they should do. I realized my own potential way later than I should have. You’ll go far if you just keep working and if you’re not a fucking goofy. I work in construction management, and even I’m finding time to do it even though my social life declined like a mother fucker. I’m trying to make music a full-time thing.

Alright, any shout outs?

There’s so many people. Definitely Lil Hawk Boy. He put me on big time, thanks for making that song with me. Shout out Lil Narnia, also such a good guy. Baby flex films too, I’m so proud of him, he’s killing it. Softheart, guccihighwater, Convolk. Everybody that I’ve met in the scene has been so accepting and helpful, it’s awesome. Also, Jake Markow, Jack Angell and smrtdeath. Jake gave me so much advice on music and was so open with it, especially with writing. Jack is a great guy and one of my closest friends now, honestly. smrtdeath is the reason I made a Twitter and he would just kick game to me even though he had no reason to. He told me I wasn’t taking music seriously if I didn’t even have a twitter. He was right.

Local Zero has a new single coming out soon, for now check out his self produced song “Peach Dreams”.