ZAK DOWNTOWN's Zak Perris
Where we found him: Elizabeth and Grand
On being an NYC born-and-raised, NYU student at CMJ: Yeah, I know that it's meant for college music journalism, but it doesn't necessarily feel that way. I still don't know if I understand what exactly CMJ is. The shows are all spread out, I'm not sure what's official and what's not, but it doesn't matter so much to me. It's awesome to have free shows and music all over the city.
On his collaborator Hoodie Allen and the college-rap stigma: You know I don't try to be this white guy making college rap but I don't try to separate myself from [Hoodie or Asher] either. I grew up in the city; I'm going to NYU but never lived in the dorms. I'm much more of a city kid -- I grew up in the Village and will probably always live here. I get the whole frat-rap thing, I don't necessarily think that's what I am but I can understand why their fans would like my music. I'm trying to be this hybrid of New York's real hip-hop and electronic music, which is something that college kids would be into right now anyways.
On performing at bottle-service bars: I've recorded a video at GoldBar and am playing Lilium for CMJ but I'm definitely not a bougie kid. It's great when anyone wants me to play at their spot, and I wouldn't say no; I appreciate whenever anyone likes my music and wants me to do a show. I also kind of have this mentality that you should always shoot for the best. I mean, my friends and I go to these bars and then can have a great time and fuck the place up during a show, and if we can do it there then we can do it in Brooklyn or anywhere else, you know?
On getting into rap: The first show I ever went to was an Outkast show, which I thought was so tight. But by 10th grade I was listening to pretty much everything but I really wanted to start making my own music when I was listening to Kanye West and Dipset in high school. Cam'ron on Purple Haze, I listened to that every day.
Favorite local hangs: There's this bomb Mexican place called Lupe's on 6th Ave. I eat there like at least once a week. Their super chicken burrito is the jump-off. To drink -- it's not really a dive bar, but I always like to go to my homie Adam Kirsch's bar Blind Barber on 10th and Avenue A.
What he's listening to now: I've been listening to Dom Kennedy, he's this L.A. dude who just put out this album called Yellow Album that is dope. I always fuck with Theophilus London because he crosses genres really well and stuff. Action Bronson, too.