FORMATION Stories: Zedd
By now, it’s likely you’ve been finished by someone rocking the latest Spectrum skinline—like getting fragged in the middle of an electro house DJ set. We thought it only fair for you to know that the man behind Spectrum may also be the one racking up the kills at your expense.
That’s Anton Zaslavski, or Zedd. The Immortal-ranked, DJ-producer is a force behind the keys and has just taken his love and skill with music and VALORANT to co-create Spectrum, with the help of the Premium Content team.
Preeti Khanolkar, senior producer on that team, has gone so far as to dub Zedd a game developer. Fair, given the amount of sound design and creation Zedd injected into Spectrum.
“Compared to making music for myself there’s a lot more to consider when working on a game,” Zedd said. “You always wanna push the envelope and make something new and fresh...It’s been amazing to learn about how animations work and the audio engine that’s used for the game.”
Zedd said it was a dream to have his own skinline in an FPS game. He's previously stated how Counter Strike Source, and later Overwatch, scratched his itch for high-stakes tactical shooters, now occupied by VALORANT.
The grind for Zedd started in Alpha, and has turned into popping off at Immortal rank. While you might recognize Zedd from his features with artists like Ariana Grande, Kehlani, and others, he prefers the headliner role in VALORANT.
“I definitely go for MVP. I like to entry and open possibilities for my team. So you can say I like to do both,” he said.
Although he can’t rely on his usual pre-show ritual of a mixed drink before a VALORANT match, Zedd does rely on resetting his mind and treating “each round as if it was 0-0.”
And for those wondering how someone juggles creating and performing award-winning music, high rank in VALORANT, and collaborating on a skinline-- Zedd said it’s all about building the right schedule.
“My first third of the day is all about working out and health. The second third is about making music and the last third about gaming. I try to stick to it so I can live a happy and balanced life.”
Still, Zedd is a reminder that a recharge is needed even from our greatest pursuits. Last year, he took a hiatus from all music to dive into podcasts. The break made him “excited to listen to music again.”
Thankfully, that recharge has given VALORANT the Spectrum skinline and perhaps one day, a remix.
“I’m quite surprised how much you can do in the end. Dream big. You can always go smaller,” he said. “We ended up creating so much more than we thought we could do. The devs created tech that wasn’t in the game before. Long story short: anything is possible!”
What’s harder: fostering puppies or getting Immortal?
Rumor has it you play VALORANT inverted. If true, why?
It is true. I know it’s hard to believe but I’ve just always played inverted. I think it started when I was playing on console as a kid. I just developed too much muscle memory to go back to regular. But I’m also kinda stoked to be one of the highest ranked inverted players out there.
You’ve played shows in countless venues. Which venue do you think would make the wildest place to host a VALORANT esports event?
I think doing an esports event at Red Rocks Amphitheatre would be insane.
Favorite weapon and skin combo (that isn’t Spectrum)?
Origin vandal and magepunk ghost.
What was the last song you listened to?
Firth of Fifth by Genesis
What do you want to see from VALORANT in 2022?
I’d love to see a few more maps and minor balance changes to keep the game fair when new Agents and maps are being released.