Oct. 24, 2012 - Issue #888: Winter Guide 2012
'Honestly, it's hard enough with two people who have polar opposite opinions in the room let alone having five," says Zachary Gray of the Zolas during a pit stop at a steel guitar factory in the middle of nowhere between Toronto and Montréal.
Gray and Tom Dobrazanski formed the duo back in 2008 after the disbanding of Lotus Child, which they were both part of. Gray says being in a band wrecks the fun of being in music sometimes with conflicting opinions and drama—but that's not to say it's all smooth sailing for the Zolas.
"Tom and I never agree on anything, so the fact we can even accomplish it with two people is amazing," he adds of the duo's songwriting. "The process works like this: I write a song, or a bit of a song that I think has a lot of promise and I think I know how I want it to sound and then I bring it to Tom and he hears it and has a completely different idea and I become convinced that he's deliberately trying to ruin my idea."
Gray says that he's able to revisit the song again once a couple of days have passed and there are no emotions involved, at which point he'll admit that the end result works even if it's not exactly what either of them had wanted to start with. Gray notes that it's the songs that have the most struggle amongst the two of them that are the ones he ends up liking best, and that resonate most with fans.
The push and pull from the pair has resulted in the Zolas' latest album Ancient Mars, for which the duo had a clear intent from the get-go. Gray and Dobrazanski wanted to make an album that broke the mould of Canadian music with an otherworldly, beat-oriented album. In pursuit of the ethereal sound permeating from the album, a lyrical concept for the album took shape.
Ancient Mars, Gray explains, references the heyday of the planet that is being discovered piece-by-piece: evidence of water sources, vegetation and maybe even life. It's a world away from our own, but Gray connects the faraway time period with relationships.
"Two million years later, looking at it now, there's no evidence of that whatsoever, and in some way that's like the relationships in our twenties, or the little heydays we have with groups of our friends where at one point it's the most exciting and optimistic and teaming part of our lives and we can't imagine our lives without it, but two years later you run into that ex-boyfriend or ex-best friend at a supermarket and it's barren," he explains. "To me, ancient Mars is that beautiful place you can't go back to once you've left."
Thu, Nov 1 (9 pm)
With Belle Game
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