by Tiana Feng
I caught up with Zachary Gray from The Zolas before their show with Hollerado last Friday. Besides news we also talked about internet stalking and the state of indie music.
So.. We’re late because you were at a sketchy car rental place?
There’s this car rental place where the guy actually seems really nice but it’s like the only people who rent there are people who are really down and out. I have no idea why they need a car. The car that I got kind of looks like someone was living in it for a while or was used for transporting drugs. This is how bad it is: I woke up this morning feeling like I had all these errands I didn’t want to do so to cheer myself up I bought this kettle corn that I really liked. I can’t even eat it in the car while driving. I think it ruined kettle corn for me forever.
Cool, what have you guys been up to lately?
We’ve been rehearsing in Toronto for the past 4 days. Our keyboard player is living in Toronto right now. The keyboard player being the one we’re touring with not Tom, who still exists. We haven’t rehearsed in a while so we’ve been in the Hollerado rehearsal space practicing like 5 hours a day.
Is there any new material coming up?
We have a new song but it doesn’t sound very good yet so I don’t think we’re going to play it.
Are you heading in a new direction with the Zolas in terms of sound because even Tic Toc Tic it is a lot different from Ancient Mars?
With Tic Toc Tic we wanted to sound like a band playing in a room like really kicking the shit out of their songs but with Ancient Mars we didn’t want that at all. We wanted it to be atmospheric. We wanted to make headphone music that doesn’t sound live at all. It sounds produced and slick at some points and really lo-fi and other points. Whenever we play these days, it’s sort of heavier. I’ve been listening to heavier music and we’ll probably have some extremes. One song might be heavier and then the other might have glockenspiel. Wait, no I actually hate glockenspiel and my keyboard player is nodding his head.
“Cold Moon” from the album has lyrics that go “I found the stomach to deny the urge to look you up online/ don’t want to creep on your profile / but sometimes I still do,” Is that about based on a true story? Are you secretly an internet stalker? Hahaha
What do you think Tiana? It’s the same story as your story. It’s the same story as anybody reading this that goes without saying. It’s kind of funny how there’s still a stigma behind something that clearly everybody does. I think I do it less than most people actually but everybody is curious about other people online and now we can look them up. For example, there’s this girl in photos of a friend of mine and I recognized her later on the street and I couldn’t say hi because what am I gonna do say, “hey I recognize you from the internet”. To be honest, that’s just what people do, of course I recognize her from the internet. There’s tons of people I recognize only from the internet and maybe we should stop being so shy about that.
Last year’s video for “Knot In My Heart” made our top music videos. What was it like being able to move a few inches every hour?
It sucks. I hated that. I hated every second of it. It was so long. Especially because we were expecting it to only take 3 nights, which is long enough. Usually music videos are 1 day or 1 night and I usually try to be in them as little as possible. This one was three nights of almost all me and by the end of three nights we weren’t even halfway done. We had to extended it to 6 nights and it was like this weird sort of zombie world we were all in. We were doing normal stuff during the day because we have lives. Afterwards, instead of going to bed or chilling out we took the sky train to New Westminster (a suburb of Vancouver) and stood in the street for 8 hours from dark until the sun came out moving an inch and a half every 4-5 seconds. It was long exposures because we only used native light. It was like standing there doing glacial tai-chi in the street. By the 6th day we were all so out of it and I’m pretty sure if somebody accidentally killed another person we would have been able to get off on grounds of insanity. Apparently if you kill someone after 3 days of no sleep, it’s legal.
What happened when you guys needed to go to the washroom? Did you have to reposition yourself?
Yeah they would take a photo of where I was and when I came back they would tell me to move my body back in certain ways. You have no idea.
Are you excited to be touring with Hollerado?
Definitely. They are often celebrated as the nicest band in Canada and it’s a pretty valid name for them. Even before this band existed, we met them in passing. We were both at one of those road side food and gas stops on 401 and we could tell we were bands. You know how you can tell when people are in bands. We talked to them for 15 minutes and then we went on their separate ways. Our separate stars rose a bit and finally we get to spend some quality time together.
What was the craziest thing to ever happen at a show?
You know what’s my favourite thing to ever happen at a show? There’s this girl who used to post Youtube videos of herself playing Tom’s piano parts. Henry our current piano player who’s with us, he said when he first learned a song from us, he learned from watching her hands in one of her videos. At the time she was this 17 year-old-girl I recognized her in the front row of a show and out of nowhere we dragged her on stage. Tom got up and we played “The Great Collapse” with her on keyboard. She was freakin. We were really impressed, she nailed it too. Her name is Jamie, she is one of our favourite fans.
What have you been listening to lately indie or otherwise?
We talk about rap about now. A lot of indie bands are really into rap these days. I remember reading an interview with Vampire Weekend about how all they want to listen to is The Chronic 2001 by Dr. Dre and they are kind of right. That’s sort of what people are listening to these days. When I talk to bands like ours they are very rarely listening to like Joel Plaskett or whatever. They’re usually listening to the new Kanye album or club anthems. Music is such a broad thing nowadays. Our genre has been a bit creatively bankrupt for a while. I think indie rock is pretty boring and I think most indie rock musicians agree with me.
I ran out of questions is there anything you’d like to add?
Yeah we have a video for Ancient Mars coming out soon that was just filmed in Los Angeles. It’s the same team that did the video for “Escape Artist” and I can say this because I have nothing to do with this video but I think it’s one of the best music videos I’ve seen all year. And this will be the same team that did the one for “Ancient Mars”.
Is that a turn signal I hear, are you driving while being interview?
Uhhh I’m going to say no but the answer is yes.
I’m going to let you go because you shouldn’t be on the phone while driving!
Nice talking to you, bye!