Zeds Dead & GRiZ Bring Ecstasy To The Soul

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From Intro To Song: Zeds Dead and GRiZ took the stage together on Dec. 29 at Hijinx in Philadelphia. Photo by Hutchandstuff

Zeds Dead and GRiZ never intended for their collaborative single, “Ecstasy Of Soul,” to see an official release. Only the first snippet of the song existed in 2021 as an introduction for their back-to-back set at Goldrush Music Festival. The three of them donned cowboy hats and sampled Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy Of Gold,” intending the track to be an iconic entrance onstage for what had been the most highly-anticipated set of the weekend.

“This song developed as a really epic way for us to come out at that show, that first back-to-back,” Zeds Dead’s Zachary Rapp-Rovan tells Pollstar. “There was a lot of anticipation to that [set].”

None of them ever expected the response they received. Fans uploaded videos of the intro to social media platforms almost as soon as they transitioned into the next track. 

Their work-in-progress soon became a fan favorite, with those attending either Zeds Dead or GRiZ’s live shows over the past couple years desperate to hear snippets of it during their sets. Videos uploaded to social media feature crowds screaming in awe once the introduction starts playing, a mass of phones popping out to record the moment.

Throughout their years of performing, several songs have become fan favorites during the artists’ sets. Once fans first caught wind of “Ecstasy Of Soul,” the track quickly became another moment fans looked forward to.

“It was meant to be an introductory moment, but then it’s turned into an iconic moment for our sets and that’s awesome,” GRiZ tells Pollstar.

Since then, they’ve teamed up for several more back-to-backs, and as “Ecstasy Of Soul” released last month, they took the stage together once again at Philadelphia’s Hijinx festival ahead of New Year’s Eve on Dec. 29. When they took the stage together, they returned with their cowboy hats, paying homage to the song’s first moments. 

In addition to their numerous festival appearances including Hard Summer, Ecotek, Audien, Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra Music Festival and more, Zeds Dead has steadily been touring over the past year. The Canadian bass duo sold out The Brooklyn Mirage on July 22, grossing $360,957, according to reports submitted to Pollstar’s Boxoffice.

 Their annual two-night takeover at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, on July 2 and 3 instantaneously sells out every year and has expanded to include an annual Fourth of July event in Downtown Denver. Last year saw them grossing over $1 million for their Red Rocks shows and $609,867 for their event in Denver’s Civic Center Park. 

GRiZ, meanwhile, wrapped up his 12 Days of GRiZmas event which raises money for Detroit youth music education. GRiZ also headlined numerous festivals last year including Electric Forest, HARD Summer Music Festival and more. He also rang in 2022 going back-to-back with Zeds Dead. 

“The spontaneous aspect is really fun,” Rapp-Rovan says of their back-to-backs with GRiZ. 

GRiZ adds, “There’s that sense of danger like we’re jumping into this. It’s also a chance for performance on a different level because you’re giving the reins over to somebody else. Then you’re adding an ingredient and they’re adding an ingredient versus when you typically would cook with a certain set of instructions. When you add a new chef, it’s dope.”

During Zeds Dead’s annual Deadrocks event in Denver back in 2022, GRiZ surprised fans by joining the two on stage during one of the after-parties. While they have officially done several back-to-backs, more often than not they’ll spontaneously join one another on stage if they happen to be in the same town or playing the same festival.

“I try to practice not having expectations for this stuff and focus on enjoying the moment,” GRiZ says. “We prepare so much for these things, you know? Make all this music and all this stuff and it’s like, ‘Man, I hope all this is just bangers, bangers, bangers. 

GRiZ continues, “I want to have human moments. Unexpected magic can occur. … We’re about to get up there and just go off the cuff and make something happen. We’ll probably practice a little bit in the green room, but we’re just gonna pop off for an hour and completely freestyle. And that’s where we get these human moments that are magic.” 

Zeds Dead joins Liquid Stranger, Kendrick Lamar, ODESZA and Foo Fighters as Bonnaroo’s 2023 headliners, the duo taking the stage on night one of the festival. GRiZ will also be performing at Bonnaroo.