#Raccune: A journey through beats

by Mike Roe

If you have been a part of the Bellingham music scene over the past decade, chances are you have heard music from Tony Zapien aka Big Ballin’ Tony Z aka #Raccune. As the founder of Zapnow Records, Zapien is a multi-talented musical madman who has been a part of groups such as Battle For Athens, Thineu, and Smoove Movez.

Over the past few years, Tony Z has undergone a transformation, and he now has taken shape as the spirit animal #Raccune. His latest album Verandah is a Dubstep/EDM record that takes the listener on a journey through the highs and lows of electronic music. In a mix of heavy underground influenced Dubstep, mixed with some Trap Music, Heavy Metal and Chillstep.

Over a year in the works, Verandah will be released Feb. 12 at The Shakedown. #Raccune will be rocking the turntables as well as pushing the pads on his Novation Launchpad and performing songs from his new album with some special guest appearances, as well as some of his older work. There may even be a few surprises.

I recently caught up with Tony aka #Raccune, as he was gearing up for a show, to find out more about Verandah and what makes him want to keep producing innovative electronic music.

“The album started at a ‘Pad Pushers’ show when Raw Jawz came up and said he wanted to rap over one of my dubstep tracks,” said Zapien, who loves the feeling and versatility of the genre. “I am drawn to the half time beat and the tempo, nothing else really has that feeling. I got into Dubstep in 2008, I loved artists like Rusko and Caspa, and the underground stuff.”

While the Dubstep influence is definitely featured prominently on the album, there is a heavy influence of Hip-Hop on Verandah. The song “High Power” which features rapper Raw Jawz flowing over some brutal synth bass, is one of the two first songs released off the record, and it showcases how well hip-hop and dubstep can meld together.

“I love how versatile [dubstep] is, that’s why it’s still so huge now,” explained Zapien. “The only thing that really defines it is the tempo, drum beat, and the bass.”

As the album came together Tony realized he had to arrange the songs in a particular order, to get the feeling he was after.

“It doesn’t explicitly say it but the album is really a two part album. The first half starts off hard and goes through some ‘trap’ and builds and then half way through it just drops off and goes super chill,” explained Tony. “So when you listen to the album listen to it all the way through in order at least once.”

The other track that has been released and available online is “Black Out Mode” with Mango Dunks, which you can find on #Raccune’s Facebook page.

#Raccune may not be going through your garbage but he will go through your ears, into your brain and make you wobble wobble ‘til the break of dawn!

LIVE SHOW: Catch Tony and guests live at The Shakedown on Feb.12 for their new release of Verandah. For more information about #Raccune check out raccune.com. 

Published in the February 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine