MZG Talks About Their Hulaween Journey, Moving to Denver, and Twin Telepathy [Interview]
Chicago born and Florida raised identical twin brothers Zach and Charles Weinert make up the DJ duo MZG. The longtime Jacksonville residents MZG are no strangers to the Spirit of Suwannee as they have been playing Hulaween every year since the MZG project originated in 2014. Their future bass vibe with hip hop influences was nothing short of the perfect start to an incredible day of music at the Ampitheather stage. We sat down with MZG to talk about their journey throughout their years at Hulaween.
Welcome back to Hulaween!
Now MZG has played here 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and this year. Talk to me about this journey.
C: We’ve definitely been playing music at Hulaween almost since the first year. We both used to perform as other projects. I used to go by Sir Charles and Zach played in a band called Greenhouse Lounge before MZG was a thing.
Z: We’ve doubled down on Hulaween before. My band was playing, Charles was playing, and MZG was playing the silent disco. Hulaween is a very supportive place for us.
Was this your first year playing the Amphitheater stage?
Z: Believe it or not, the first MZG set at Hulaween was at the Amphitheater stage in 2014, only the second year of Hulaween. So, it’s kind of a full circle thing playing there again this year.
How does this year’s set compare to the other times you’ve played at Hulaween?
C: Each time has been very honorable just to be up there and be given the opportunity to play. I think it’s nice to see that progress in ourselves and in the community as well. Each year was very nice, but this one definitely set the bar for us again.
Z: Just like any experience, everything in life is unique. There’s no comparison with each set; you can’t really put it up against the past or the future.
Since you have been here so often, do you have a favorite part about Hulaween?
Z: We really just enjoy seeing everybody. We enjoy seeing all of our friends and we enjoy seeing music together because the lineup changes every year.
C: The best part is it feels like home. It’s always nice to come right back. Since we moved to Denver, coming back here is always a nice feeling.
You guys came up in the Jacksonville music scene, talk to me about your start in Florida and the scene here.
Z: Florida has been so great to us, even in our trying years. Everyone was so supportive. We felt nothing but sunshine from the sunshine state. Everyone’s so nice and so ready to see us win.
C: Florida has been a great canvas to paint on: very supportive of us in our younger years and to have a sense of community that early on helped us learn what this is really all about.
You recently moved the MZG project to Denver. Who have you had the chance to work with?
Z: We had the pleasure of working with Chris Karns. We actually have a track coming out with him. We just started working with these guys Kyral x Banko. We have another track coming out with them, and then Eliot Lipp and a collaboration with him as well. These are all collaborative efforts that we’re getting into.
C: We became very friendly with Griz and had the pleasure of sharing the stage with him at the beginning of this year.
Z: Also, Space Jesus, who has been a longtime friend of ours since 2013. We’re playing two shows with him in Denver and Boulder after Hulaween, so the party goes on. The move was so moving, as moving as a move could be.
C: There’s definitely a stress that occurs whenever you pick up your stuff and move. You have a big adjustment. We wanted to get out of Florida and make sure we didn’t get too comfortable at a place that we’ve been for over 15 years. As everyone knows, once you get out of your comfort zone that’s when great things start to happen, something outside what you could’ve ever expected. That’s what is happening to us in Denver. We live and hang out in a community that is brand new and so full of creativity that there is a constant propulsion to make more music. That’s the best part about Denver. Everyone’s just like let’s get in the studio, let’s do it.
How did you get the name MZG?
C: Senior year of high school I was coming up with a DJ project and wanted to make a twin related name, so I looked up the scientific term for twins which is monozygotic. This is the name we originally used. Years later we realized that name was a bit of a mouthful, so we made an anacronym for it to shorten it up and kind of encrypt it in a way.
Z: To call out the friend who suggested that we shorten our name, his name’s Cisco Adler. We were playing a show for him and he had a tough time pronouncing monozygotic. He would say “monzygotoavocado.” I’ll never forget that. He met up with us in the green room after and said, “Guys I really like what you do but I need you to shorten your name so I can just scream it.” We loved his energy and he was just so inviting and genuine about his concern. He 100% helped us dub the name. Honestly it was divine in a way. The name was bestowed upon us.
What is it like spending such a significant amount of your time together, working and touring, even living together?
Z: As cliché as it sounds, if you enjoy your work, you never really work a day in your life. If you love what you do it’s not really work. There are ups and downs, but it’s more of a life experience. It’s just ingrained in what we do.
C: Being brothers there’s always quarrels, but we look past the short comings in the moment and just realize the bigger picture and move on. Sometimes you lock horns, but it’s not anything to quit a project over. You know how families bicker sometimes, but at the end of the day our presents are under the same Christmas tree.
There are so many similarities in your movements and mannerisms, it almost looks as if you guys are reading each other’s minds, some kind of twin telepathy. Do you plan this as part of your performance, or does it all happen naturally?
Z: It can be very synchronized without trying. We’ve spent a lot of time with each other. Wombmates and roommates, so we get each other. There are no short comings with communication. We just understand exactly what we want to do. We honestly catch ourselves being very in sync, even when dancing. It’s actually quite amazing.
What is something that completely sets you apart?
C: Zach is prettier and I’m smarter… just kidding! Hahahaha.
You talked about how you were both previously involved in music projects. What would you say you each bring to the MZG project?
C: Zach was familiar with the band aspect. I was a DJ, so my application was more knowing how to mix, formulate a playlist, and access that part of performance.
Z: I knew how to write licks, so when we started making music I had a very keen ear for something I could sink my teeth into. That helped us write little bangers that people catch on to. Then, Charles always knew exactly how to format it and what song to play after. It’s almost aesthetic in blueprints. Charles is an architect and I helped with more of the design aspect of it. Two extremely important jobs of making a structure. Then again, sometimes the roles can be reversed and Charles will have all the licks while I’ll have the engineering ear for it. I’ll know exactly what to cut out if it’s too much. It’s good to have two sets of ears in one project.
C: Our strengths can be flip flopped because we learn and grow with each other. I pick up from him, he picks up from me, and we grow together. You have to split up the workflow to progress. There’s a nice dexterity between us.
Now that you’re constantly touring, how do you keep things fresh? Do you have a stash of favorite songs that you always want to play or do you try and mix it up?
C: We are always trying to make sure new content is coming out from us, but also with djing there’s a lot of digging that is involved. You just get on the internet and start searching through different music. Dedicate some time to doing your own research and building your library. You have to dig through some dirt to find some diamonds, but once you find them you got a bunch of gems including our own. When your djing people ask if you are playing all original music. For me, I feel that goes against the whole DJ aspect because you not only want to be a purveyor of your own resonance but also be a frequency tower bringing in other people’s work as well. Giving shout outs to other people that you’re into and bringing it together in a community sense and realizing it’s bigger than just us solely.
Z: When we find a song that we love sometimes it inspires us to get into the studio. We pick up on other people’s work and it helps ideas flow and you can build off of it from there. When you find that diamond your just like wow, this is so special like …
*In sync* I bet if we found a lump of coal and put some pressure, we would make a diamond too hahahaha.
With 2019 already coming to a close, tell me some of your best moments or accomplishments of the year.
C: Hulaween that just happened right now and it’s a fresh memory.
Z: Another one was being in Denver. We were at this festival Global Dance and it got rained out unfortunately. Through adversity one of our friends Space Jesus ended up making a party happen at Bar Standard in Denver. We were both in the middle of eating a meal and Josha called and asked us to come play and go b2b with him. We made it happen that night. We ended up having a great set and meeting one of our new close friends, Natural Nate, a photographer and also we met DMVU and all played music together. It was all on a whim and it was the best. That’s the energy that you can’t match.
What do you hope to be able to do more of in 2020?
C: Cover more ground. More visuals. Keep raising the bar as best we can, to the best of our ability. Try to tour around in more cities that were not familiar with yet and keep grinding and spreading the joy.
Keep up with all the twins activities and tour dates: