Tell us the story of how you came up with the name ‘Zed Peace’ ?
My real name is Zaed Hani, so ‘Zed’ is taken from the first letter of my real name while the word ‘Peace’ was a way of expressing what Brunei Darussalam is; the Abode of Peace. I drew inspiration from artists like Lupe Fiasco whose real name is Wasalu Muhammad Jaco; Lupe is the last part taken out of his first name.
I’ve been in the music industry for almost seven years now, mainly doing English and Malay hip hop music. I’ve done quite a few projects over the years including mixtapes and albums. I was formerly part of a hip hop group called Micbandits which is no longer actively making music, so now I am making music independently.
How would you categorise the music that you have written?
When it comes to songwriting, it is about expressing the ideas that I have in my mind or its about exploration of new topics and content. I guess that has always been the formula from the start. If I wanted to talk about love or friendships or whatever comes to mind, I would put it into a song.
To me, writing the verses is the most interesting aspect of rap music. The practice of summarising thoughts in an eight bar or ten bar or twelve bar verse and then making it fit with technical rhyme schemes. I think that these elements of songwriting are most interesting for me and what I do.
Songwriting is quite universal in the sense that regardless of the genre, what separates a good songwriter from the regular ones is their ability to create thought provoking lyrics which can really draw listeners into the song.
Do you tend to follow a particular process when creating a new song?
My approach starts out with what the song is intend for. If it’s a radio release, then I would approach it a certain way. If it is just for my website then I’ll do something differently. When it comes to the lyrics writing process, I try to come up with the most unique ways of saying a sentence and then making it rhyme.
Hopefully, it will get the audience to hear various ways to say things with rhyme. So that has always been the thought process.
How do you find inspiration for your songs?
I listen to a lot of music from different genres. I try to combine local elements, such as incorporating the Malay language and putting in cultural nuances so that locals can connect with the song even if they are written in English.
I suppose the defining style for myself is that I tend to add Bruneian words and slang into my songs. I think that it is quite important to establish who you are in the songs so that people know what you’re representing.
When I am working on a song, I am always trying to bring out those Bruneian values and reflect them in the lyrics. But lyrics are a mixed bag of emotions and they can be light, inspiring and comical, so it depends what I am trying to achieve with the song.
When do you decide that a song is finished?
ZED PEACE: It is usually a matter of instinct that kicks in. When I get the feeling that the song is what it needs to be then I know that it is complete.
What does ‘Progressive’ means to you?
To me, Progressive is a growth process. It is about developing yourself to reach towards a goal or an objective, and making sure that you reach it.