“Spirit Swords” is the pseudonym for the multimedia art project created by Zebulun Lego. Spirit Swords is a story about a dystopian future about the effect that artificial intelligence and the mystical divine have on the human psyche, which is told through a variety of different mediums. Zebulun is a music & art producer from Gallitzin, Pennsylvania. He works with musicians, graphic artists, videographers, and authors to create content revolving around the story that Spirit Swords tells. Having produced music for over a decade, Zebulun is confident that this project will be his true calling.
- How and when did the Spirit Swords project become a reality for Zebulun Lego?
Spirit Swords: The project came to light in August of this year, all starting from a concept around a dystopian futuristic society. It is a multimedia project that releases & promotes music, artwork, film, and literature.
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Spirit Swords: My main influence, especially for the Spirit Swords project, is blink-182 founder Tom DeLonge. I grew up on pop-punk music, and I always loved the vision that he had when he left the band. When Tom created Modlife and started Angels & Airwaves, releasing artwork and books that revolved around a theme and a concept, I fell in love. Sound-wise, my main influences are Virtual Self, Basshunter, and MUST DIE!
- Who do you consider the most influential producer/artist in your genre today and why?
Spirit Swords: I definitely feel that Virtual Self is doing a lot for the industry because he is bringing back a lot of appreciation for the early-2000s and late-90s clubsystem sound. He’s also helping to bring back the art style, which is sort of anime/manga turn-of-the-century digital graphics.
- Do you remember the first piece of equipment that you actually purchased?
Spirit Swords: The first piece of equipment that I actually purchased was a Hercules DJ Control Instinct midi-controller for live shows. I played three or four shows with it before I upgraded to a Pioneer DDJ system.
- Tell us something about your current set-up? What is your favorite piece of software or hardware you use to perform, record and/or produce your music?
Spirit Swords: Like I mentioned previously, I’ve upgraded to a Pioneer DDJ-SR2. I also employ a Novation Launchpad in my setups, as well as playing with my keyboard. The tricky part is getting everything to consistently sound clean. I was using Virtual DJ, and now I’m using Serato. At the same time, I have my midi opened in my DAW, and that’s connected to my Launchpad and my keyboard simultaneously. Since my DAW is Mixcraft, which is super obscure, I’m sure I’m probably a veteran with the software.
- Which ingredient do you think is most essential in making your music sound the way it does?
Spirit Swords: Vocoders. Lots of vocoders.
- You just released the song “Promise Me You’ll Win”. Every song usually has a backstory or anecdote behind it. What’s this one about?
Spirit Swords: Awesome question. “Promise Me” is about the idea of dealing with loss. The lyrics are a story about someone who is clearly dying, and they’re telling the person there with them to promise to fight with all their heart, and promise to win.
- How did you go about finding and choosing Pipa Moran, the vocalist on “Promise Me You’ll Win”?
Spirit Swords: I found Pipa through my very good friend, Julian Gray of Julian Gray Media. Julian recently joined deadmau5’s label, “mau5trap”. He did a record with her and I thought she had a fantastic voice. I reached out to her one day and asked her if she would like to collaborate, and she instantly agreed, and I told her I would send her a song. Weeks went by, and I hadn’t sent her anything. One day, I posted a video of a track I was making on Instagram, and she messaged me to tell me that she thought it was the one, which went on to become “Promise Me”. She’s one of the sweetest young ladies I’ve ever met, too. She deserves so much credit for making the song what it is.
- How did you go about recording the aforementioned track? Where you and the singer based in different countries, or did you come together in the same studio?
Spirit Swords: You noticed! I’m currently based in Pennsylvania, in the United States. Pipa, however, is located in Oxfordshire, UK. I sent her the instrumental for “Promise Me” and after about two weeks, she had a finished track for me!
- Did you compose the both the music and lyrics for “Promise Me You’ll Win”?
Spirit Swords: I only composed the music and the concept of the lyrics. I gave her the instrumental and told her what the song should be about, and she wrote all the lyrics surrounding it. The interesting part is, the lyrics are very specific, because the song is part of a concept that is much bigger. This will become clearer in the future!
- Did you encounter any specific difficulties while completing this track? And did the final production come out exactly as you intended when writing it?
Spirit Swords: There were almost no difficulties writing this one – Everything came out very naturally. The final production came out much greater than I had intended, and perfectly captured the late-90s and early-2000s vibe that I was looking for.
- Do you perform live music events/gigs? And if so, which do you prefer more – live gigs or studio work?
Spirit Swords: I do perform live gigs from time-to-time, which is appropriate considering this is my debut piece of content. I’ve had three gigs this year, including the Colorado Super Bud Bowl, which took place on a 40-acre private farm in Salida, Colorado. That was an incredible time, as you can probably imagine! However, I do prefer my studio time, because I’m a producer and a creator at heart. I’ve never been too involved with the live music/club scene.
- Has “Promise Me You’ll Win” been performed in front of an audience yet? If so, what was the crowd response like?
Spirit Swords: We haven’t played “Promise Me” live, because we aren’t touring yet.
- What are you ultimately hoping to achieve with the release of this single?
Spirit Swords: My goal for this song is to get to 100,000 streams by the end of the year. I think if we can achieve those kinds of numbers in a few months, people will start to take the project a lot more seriously.
- As an independent artist, which is the one factor you desire most (increased music distribution, more media exposure, a bigger budget etc.…) at this time?
Spirit Swords: I wish that I could somehow put my music in front of everyone. Everyone who has seen our videos and heard our content has liked it, we haven’t heard any negative reviews since launch. Nobody has even gone so far as to say it wasn’t their style either. Our target audience is young people from 18-35, people who appreciate electronic music and grew up with the clubsystem sound. However, I’ve received an overwhelming support from my older audiences, and that blows my mind, considering the genre is very niche.
- What do you think mainly separates you from the massive crowd of electronic artists emerging right now on platforms all over the web?
Spirit Swords: I’ve always held the belief that most electronic music artists today are lacking a certain melodic aspect to their music. I’ve always been a fan of beautiful and uplifting melodies and chord progressions, I love riffs and I love solos. So I’m really trying to bring back the influence of melodics rather than basslines and gritty-sounding noises, but they have their place in music. I’m also trying to bring back the sounds from the late-90s and early-2000s, paired with a complete multimedia project that releases not only songs, but packages. With every release, we have videos, pictures, artwork, fan-art, background stories, and best of all, merchandise. Not many artists are doing something so robust, which was inspired by DeLonge’s multimedia endeavors.
- In general, do you consider the Internet and all of the social media platforms as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?
Spirit Swords: The internet is indeed the biggest fundamental building block in creating any kind of career today. But, just in terms of music, you’ve seen folks go from nobody to shining stars in a matter of a week. Nobody saw Lil Nas coming. But you have to engineer it the right way, and you have to have a great personal relationship with your fans using that technology. We’ve also seen folks getting slammed and ridiculed via the internet, so you have to manage everything wisely, and you have to be professional.
- How do you handle criticism and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
Spirit Swords: I ask them something like, “I was just on the news for my music, bro. You may not like it, but most people do.” I know that they’re in the minority, and it’s very easy for me to ignore, because I personally think the project is badass, and everything we’re doing is really cool, not many people are doing anything quite like it at all.
- What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?
Spirit Swords: I’ve had a number of people tell me that they find peace with my music. Like I said before, I try to make music that has a great balance of beautiful harmonics and melodies, and that really touches people’s hearts. Not many people get goosebumps from dubstep basslines. So, my music really stands out to them. I recently had someone praise me on our social media page because they were having a sort of anxiety attack, and our music was able to keep them calm long enough to avoid having to make a crisis intervention. That’s the kind of stuff that is really cool to me. We released the song this September, which happens to be suicide awareness month, and the song is about dealing with loss, so I’m hoping people find further comfort in that.
- So what’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing / producing / recording / playing etc.?
Spirit Swords: I like to spend time with my kitten. Her name is “The Kitten”, and at night time she goes crazy. I have a video of her doing a backflip off of my wall, similar to something you’d see in a “Prince of Persia” Playstation 2 game. Because she’s much cuter than I am, followers of our social media get to see her all the time!
OFFICIAL LINKS FOR SPIRIT SWORDS:
Link to streams of the debut single, “Promise Me You’ll Win”
Official Site: https://www.spiritswords.com/