As long time North SF Bay native event producer and DJ, Zack Darling is well known as a highly effective mover and shaker. His DJ career spans over 20 years and began as a teenage electro-punk DJ playing late night sessions on public and pirate radio stations. He’s since been dropping his multi-genre beats on some of the biggest night clubs, parties and festivals in the US and internationally. Zack’s style of Mashup-meets-Bass-music-fusion allows him to follow all of his passions, old and new, merging Breakbeats, House, Dubstep and Mid-Tempo Hip Hop, with Reggae, New Wave, Folk, Funk, Soul and especially classic Rock favorites – remixed, retooled, repurposed for the dance floor.
Zack continues to feed the flames of the music community through his event production and emcee efforts. He is the lead producer of the Mystic Beat Lounge Techno-Tribal Dance , Associate Producer of Harmony Festival, North Bay Burning Man Regional Contact (2005-2011), co-founder of the nightclub event Decadance and resident DJ at the legendary party Juke Joint. He is one of the emcees for Wakarusa Festival and other large festivals. He produces many of the graphic art, posters and websites for the Northern California concert and festival industry via his Santa Rosa based company, Zack Darling Creative Associates which also serves as a central point for his event production endeavors.
DJ Zack Darling History
The Early Years
Zack’s propensity for scratching records was revealed one morning when, as a toddler, he was discovered scooting around on the floor atop one of his mother’s favorite Jimi Hendrix records. He attended his first rock concert, Jefferson Airplane, in the womb and so his passion for the concert experience was sparked.
Growing up in a colorful counterculture household, he was exposed to the music of the times and loved it all. Rather than a television, Zack had a wall of vinyl and a turntable to play it on. He began his own vinyl collection at an early age and still has his full collection of Sesame Street albums.
Zack learned to be a percussionist on a tiny trap set, under the tutelage of a Scottish bagpiper and Rock drummer, from whom he also learned to love European bands such as Queen, Pink Floyd, Queen, U2, Yes, the Who, and Jeff Beck. His music oriented family’s vast collection of Classic Rock, Folk, 80′s New Wave, and early electronic “Space Music” provided a musically enriched upbringing.
At age fourteen, Zack got his first DJ gig on a late night local public radio show. This grew into a passion for radio and eventually pirate radio. He and his friends launched several pirate radio stations, until one day the FCC triangulated their signal and Zack was officially warned never to be found in the vicinity of a pirate station ever again. Zack’s teen years were heavily influenced by Alternative, Punk, Hip Hop and Reggae music as he frequented big concerts like Lollapalooza and festivals such as Reggae on the River.
The 90′s Rave Days
After graduating high school in 1993, Zack moved into the world of electronic dance music and for several years was an active underground producer in the San Francisco and North Bay rave culture with the Lightseed collective. Subsequently, thanks to the influence of his best friend, Damian Peters, he learned to beat-match records and began dance floor DJing himself. Starting with House and Breakbeats, he moved into Nu Skool Breaks and became interested in paralleling dance floor music with other types, including reggae and downtempo chill.
Taking it further…
In 2004, Zack and long time friends Raychill Grail and Patrick Malone (DJ Malarkey) hosted a popular weekly late night public radio show called The Chill Room. For several years every Sunday night they played three hours of Downtempo, Chill, Acid Jazz, Triphop, Electronica and Reggae.
Meanwhile, Zack’s breakbeat record collection was growing and he was regularly spinning at night clubs and parties large and small, including Decadance, Space Cowboys, Mystic Beat Lounge’s Techno-Tribal Dance, as well as some of the biggest clubs and dance events in San Francisco, like 1015 Folsom, Sea of Dreams and Kelly’s Mission Rock. He also regularly played many large festivals, including Burning Man, Burning Man Decompression Street Fair and Harmony Festival. Zack has played every year as a headliner at EarthDance Festival for a decade now, and was the first electronic dance music DJ to play the main stage at Reggae on the River, where he frequently co-hosts the legendary after-hours night beach parties.
After a short hiatus during which he transitioned from vinyl and CDs into digital files and mastering Serato, the industry standard laptop based record collection & DJ software application, Zack has recently emerged from his music studio with a dedicated passion for DJing Mashups, Remixes and Bootlegs which he has been fervently collecting since the early 90′s. He finds this a musical genre through which he can express all of his influences and tastes, and that appeals to several generations and dance floor crowds. He feels he is breathing life into music that was not written for the dance floor and has not been widely heard for many years.
Zack’s new DJ releases are expressions of the alignment between the Mashup and bass-heavy dance floor beats. Zack is moving forward into a style where he can follow all of his passions, old and new, merging Breakbeats, House, Dubstep and Mid-Tempo Hip Hop, with Reggae, New Wave, Folk, Funk, Soul and especially classic Rock favorites – remixed, retooled, repurposed for the dance floor. The emerging name for this unique musical flavor of bass-heavy dance floor bootlegs? Mashstep.
Zack Darling Professional Bio
Event Producer, Production Manager
Zack Darling began his career as an independent event producer in the North Bay and San Francisco, where he cut his teeth in the dynamic underground and later professional rave scenes. In 1999, Zack co-founded the Mystic Beat Lounge, a new kind of production company that merged live concerts, DJ sets and performance theater (alá Cirque du Soleil), with 21st century visual effects, to create large-scale maximum multi sensory concert experiences.
In this time, Zack also produced many successful music events in clubs and other smaller venues through his nightclub, Decadance. Today, under Zack’s leadership, the Mystic Beat Lounge is best known for the Techno-Tribal Dance, a cutting edge production that has become an integral part of the Harmony Festival, the largest music festival in the North SF Bay Area. Over eleven years, Techno-Tribal has developed into an annual, 7,000 plus, over-the-top production characterized by cutting edge sound and visual technology with live, DJ and traditional music, fire theater, acrobatic and aerial performances, inflatables, and an interactive live-art zones.
Zack is also the night time production manager and board member of the Harmony Festival, and oversees all of the festival’s after dark productions. Zack works with other producers as an event designer and consultant such as Earthdance Festival, Sea of Dreams, Burning Man, Reggae Rising Music Festival and many others. He has worked for Burning Man festival for 9 years and for the past 5 years, he has served as the North Bay Burning Man Regional Contact. He is also partnered in Inflatable Arts, which specializes in large, illuminated three dimensional props that transform venues.
From his the 500 person night clubs to the 40K+ Burning Man Festival, Zack’s production experience has provided him with a broad understanding 21st century festival and concert production.
CEO, Creative Director
Zack has been a professional graphic artist since 1995. Prior to discovering his calling in digital art he was the editor of his college newspaper, a manager of a pre-press department, writer, journalist and community networker. With his lifelong friend, Damian Peters, Zack started Greenfield Graphics & Printing in 1997. The company’s artwork in print and electronic media developed a loyal following. After 5 years of running his own company, Zack decided to return to the workforce to gain more expertise in large project management, high-end database driven websites, visionary arts, branding, marketing, publicity, e-commerce and other industry skills. For two years, Zack worked as the Creative Director at Ursa Minor Arts & Media where he managed a full-service multimedia team at a state-of-the-art facility. Afterward he built a design & e-commerce department for marketing whiz, Mark Luzaich. There he worked with Kate Schneider for two years to build and manage many successful online stores.
Once the projects were complete, Zack and Kate joined forces and formed their own marketing, design & web development company, Zack Darling Creative Associates which is has its offices in Santa Rosa, California. ZDCA offers its clients a wide variety of new media, art and technology products and services to individuals and businesses and continues to build strong partnerships with companies, organizations and individuals that carry a common vision to bring consciousness to the world.
His passion for the creative side of graphic art is evident in his music industry designs, yet he also exceeds in creating high-impact corporate marketing materials. His mastery of the industry-standard design programs has allowed him to not only produce effective commercial designs, but also bring his graphics deep into the realm of fine digital art. It is this creative look that has built Zack a reputation as a dynamic visual artists in the music and event industry.
CEO, Creative Director, Zack Darling Creative Associates
• Night Time Production Manager / Creative Director, Harmony Festival
• Lead Producer / Co-Founder, Mystic Beat Lounge
• North Bay Regional Contact, Burning Man Festival
• Resident Graphic Artist, Earthdance Festival
• Executive Producer, Inflatable Arts
• Producer / Co-Founder, Decadance