A Day In The Life of A Music Writer And Producer

Also know as Adrian 'Zag' Zagoritis was born in Kenya and now lives in the Cotswolds. As a Pop, Electro, Progressive House songwriter and producer who plays drums, keyboards and sings (a bit!)

He has had hundreds of tracks released worldwide on EMIUniversalSony BMGMinistry of Sound, Mercury (now Virgin EMI), KontorZoolandAvex and others. He has also had chart success with Pop Idol and X Factor winners in Germany, Japan, Holland, Belgium, and France, achieving a No.1 record in 2013 with Baptiste Giabiconi’s ‘One Night In Paradise’.

Lord Of The Dance
On the dance scene he often works with award-winning German electronica act York, signed to Armada Records. York has had several chart successes in the UK and a new album is planned for January 2016. Songwriting is Zag's passion. Working with talented co-writers is a wonderful perk of his job. He’s been lucky enough to have worked with, and had chart successes, with Rob Davis (Kylie's 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head'), Geoffrey Williams (Michael Jackson), Troy Verges (Taylor Swift), Rob Harris (Jamiroquai) and Greg Fitzgerald (Madonna) among many others, and his songs are published by Universal UK and EMI.  He spends at least half the year travelling for his work.

Currently he is concentrating on film work, visiting Los Angeles frequently. His songs have appeared in the 2009 film ‘Fire’ starring Gary Dourdan, ‘South Park’, ‘How To Look Good Naked’ 2010 movie  ‘Burning Palms’ starring Rosamunde Pike. The song

'Sleepwalking' appears in the 2014 US-released movie 'The Right Kind of Wrong’ and ‘Unbreakable’ will appear in the 2016 movie ‘Showing Roots’, starring Elizabeth McGovern of Downton Abbey.

In 2015 'Million Miles' co-written by Adrian and Funkstar De Luxe was released in January by Lifted House reached No. 8 in the British Dance Chart in April, spending 13 consecutive weeks in the Top 20. The song features vocals by Geoffrey Williams who wrote Michael Jackson’s 'Whatever Happens'. Funkstar De Luxe is renowned for his hit single’ Sun Is Shining’ (Bob Marley vs Funkstar De Luxe) which reached No. 3 in the UK and No.1 in the U.S Billboard chart. An album is scheduled for release in 2016 featuring other songs from Funkstar and Adrian. Having lived in the Cotswolds since 2011 being a keen nature-lover and walker, some of the music mentioned above was composed whilst walking between Stanton and Stanway! ‘Million Miles’, for example, was written exactly like this.

A Day In The Life
A typical day involves more marketing and promotion than music creation, something I would dearly like to change - but the modern realities of the music industry means that if you don’t sell your music, it is just a hobby. And selling has never been harder in today’s cash-strapped industry.

"When music needs creating, a typical day involves waking at 8am, breakfasting and sorting through mail until 10am. Then, depending on what kind of music needs composing, I’ll spend 10am until lunchtime composing on the piano - and if the song has taken shape, with the chords and melody finished, using Logic Pro X programming and sequencing the track begins. 

Hopefully by 3pm the skeleton and a bit more of the song will be up on screen, and I’ll start writing the lyrics to the melodies I have. Often the chorus melody has a phonetic sound that means the title comes first. Then I work backwards from the title. For example, with ‘Million Miles’, it was the first lyric that formed for the chorus melody. So I had to come up with a story that fitted with the title. 

Walking on the Cotswold Way in the afternoon I thought it would be good if the song was about mankind and how we’re a long way from where we ought to be - or are we? So, the first line ‘Feels like a million miles…but it’s only through the eyes of a child…”  - therefore leaving the possibility of something positive. You’ll have to listen to the song to decide whether it’s positive or not! 

Anyhow because I wanted Geoffrey Williams (who lives in Melbourne) to sing it, and Funkstar De Luxe (who lives in Brussels) to produce it, Skype now comes into the equation. So I call Funkstar and play him what I’ve come up with, he makes comments on what he’s heard, then I wait until Australia wakes up. Then I play Geoffrey, through Skype, what I’ve written and sung. He gives me his tuppence-worth, and we will work though the lyrics for a couple of hours until we are both really happy with it.

Once that’s signed off, I’ll wait for Geoffrey to sing the song at his end. That may take a few days as he is also a teacher in Oz. Once the vocals come through, as ‘stems’ which means single mono files without fx or eq - I’ll import them into my Logic X project and line them up on screen. I’ll then start editing the best takes, and produce the track and vocals to a good standard. 

When that’s done, I’ll send the project off to Funkstar, who will take over from there. He's had a US No.1 and UK No.3 with ‘Sun Is Shining’ feat. Bob Marley which sold millions of records worldwide so it’s fair to say he’s a better producer than me!  Anyway once the track is finished, we’ll try and sell it to record labels - in this case we got a deal with CO2 / Lifted House - and the track will get released.

We were happy to see ‘Million Miles’ chart in four territories, including the 13 weeks it spent in the UK Dance Top 20.  Funkstar and I have just finished a new track, ‘Super Disco’, which we are in the process of trying to get a deal for. Listen out for it...”

Music at Home
When Adrian is chillaxing in his Cotswold crib after a hard day in the studio, he listens to music on his two-channel stereo system in his study. It's an old school set up featuring: Pioneer PL 335 turntable, Kenwood KD 3020 amplifier, Pioneer PD 202 CD Player and Aiwa Tape Deck, played through JPW Gold Bookshelf Monitor Speakers. Tape, there's a thing! Will it make a comeback as with vinyl? Only time will tell!

Here are links to some of Adrian's music:

Savannah Blue - Overview

Million Miles