Zeb Early is on a mission to make you feel good — and, given his new record label, fresh album, bi-weekly Smoked Out Soul party, and parade of soon-to-be-released singles, it appears likely that he will succeed.
The tools are almost irrelevant. Whether it’s as an infectious producer, a hard-hitting DJ, or a blazing guitarist — or, preferably, all of the above — Zeb (a.k.a. ZEBUEL) knows how to ignite a crowd and keep a party moving using any (and every) means necessary.
Born in Memphis, TN and raised on the banks of the Mississippi, Zeb was given a guitar for his 18th birthday and hasn’t put it down since. He spent his summers working the blues clubs in Memphis, soaking up as much music as he could before his naturally adventurous spirit landed him along the San Francisco Bay, where he fell for the local bass music scene and began producing his own tracks.
It’s the mixture of these two loves - one thumping and electric and modern, the other sun-baked and greasy and vintage - that defines Zeb’s music. At home he is as quick to throw on a Muddy Waters record as he is a classic Pete Rock track, as inclined to bop his head to southern hip-hop as is he is west coast jazz.
Zeb’s new record, River City Sunset (released in 2016 on Zeb’s own Smoked Out Soul Records, in conjunction with Mixto Music and Love Haight Records) stylistically reflects his homegrown hybrid of funk, soul, reggae, and bass-heavy beats. The sound is Memphis meets California, a sort of space age blues, like if B.B. King and Three Six Mafia flew to Jamaica to record a movie soundtrack in 1975. Or if the Mothership came to Muscle Shoals and started a party.
Never one to sit still, in early 2016 Zeb founded the thriving San Francisco party Smoked Out Soul — a signature fusion of live/DJ music that has become highly sought-after on the West Coast. As a beloved collaborator, Zeb’s guitar tracks have made their way into the songs of Bay Area groove stalwarts B. Bravo, Alligator Spacewalk, Stylust Beats, Afrolicious, Love & Light, The King Tide and more. As a producer his songs have been released on Simplify Records, King Dubbist, Avocaudio, Cold Busted, Happy Rabbit and Smoked Out Soul Records.
In recent news ZEBUEL’s song “Rewind” charted on Beatport’s top 100 Dub/Reggae downloads and his song “Hangover Blues” with Belgium based artist Poldoore has been making waves with internet tastemakers. For three years straight Zeb has also been honored to have his music featured as the soundtrack for Jones Snowboard Company’s promotional videos.
Zeb has performed at Redrocks Amphitheater, High Sierra Music Festival, the X-Games, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, MTV Tellus Festival Canada, Emissions Festival, StillDream, Lightning In a Bottle and The Bounce Festival, with upcoming appearances at Symbiosis and Joshua Tree Music Festival.
Zeb is a touring DJ and a member of the bands Mama's Cookin’ (which he founded and fronts), Peter Joseph Burtt & The King Tide, Afrolicious, Will Magid's Alligator SpaceWalk, Smoked Out Soul, and the Funky Miracle Meter's Tribute.