Finatik N Zac, sometimes credited as FNZ, worked with A$AP Rocky on both Testing and At.Long.Last.ASAP. They produced for Big KRIT, G-Eazy, and Jaden Smith, and contributed the bulk of production to both TA13OO and Zuu for Denzel Curry. They’re also from Perth, but nobody in Australia seems to be talking about them. Here’s your chance to get familiar with two of Australia's greatest exports.
How long were you in Australia for before you made the move to the US?
Finatik: We moved to the US in 2011. We'd been making music together for years before that, then we moved to Miami and signed a publishing deal with a producer named Jim Jonsin over there.
I can see that your Twitter account goes back to 2009, so you're presumably making music together prior to that as well? Can you tell me where this started before Jim Jonsin and the move to the US?
Zac: I was always into music. I took piano lessons when I was a kid and stuff like that. And then when I got to high school, I started getting introduced to different styles of music. My friend Martin put me onto what a producer actually was. He put me onto the Neptunes, Dr. Dre. We started making beats on FL and Reason, we were the only people in school making beats, and I never really stopped after that.
Finatik: I grew up on a lot of Gangstarr, Mobb Deep, A Tribe Called Quest all that kind of ‘90s hip hop. I had a fascination for crate digging and then got into DJ'ing at a really young age. I bought my first set of turntables when I was 12 and then started battling when I was 14. A couple of years later I placed second in the Australian DMC Finals. Then I was like, “Man, I’m kind of sick of this shit,” I felt like I had hit the ceiling at that point and wanted to focus strictly on making music.
I bought an MPC 2000 after I saw that other producers I looked up to used one. I started crate digging and sampling, and then it eventually lead to meeting Zac and us working together on the weekends when we weren't working our day jobs.
Were you guys making beats for local acts at all?
Zac: Not really. Nothing that came out anyway. We kind of just had our sights set on working with American artists at that point. There weren’t that many artists in Perth to work with. It might have been a different story on the east coast.
Finatik: Dazastah from Downsyde helped mentor me a little bit for a good one or two years. He had me scratching on Drapht’s album and doing cuts here and there. He [Dazastah] was showing me how to use FL Studio at the time; showing me how to manipulate samples and program drums. I was doing that with those guys but I was soaking in everything I was learning from Dazastah in terms of making beats. His drums were crazy. And I was like ‘ah my drums sound like shit compared to his!’ [laughs].
I've known quite a few Australian producers who have gone on to produce for acts in the United States. Whether it's someone like M-Phazes or Styalz or whoever else, they all start out working with local acts. It's amazing to me that you were able to bypass that and just go, "Nah, fuck that. We're going global."
Finatik: Yeah, it was kind of set in stone to do that. It was our goal. And we definitely got laughed at a lot. A lot of people didn't believe in us, especially back home early on.