Interview with Zomo
Questions by: Lauren
After this interview, stick around to enter the contest to win Zomo’s two current releases. I should have the album reviews up in the next couple days as well (comments on those will get extra entries!)
Do you get the inspiration for your music from real life, other people’s stories, or are they simply made up?
Justin: It’s really a combination of all three. A lot of the songs on For The Muses were the direct result of what I was going through in my life at that point. At around that time (2002-2003) I fell in love with writing songs that were almost straight out of the page of a diary. I wanted to lay it all out there for people to hear. I was sort of a shy person back then and I didn’t know how to get my feeling across other than by singing these loud rock songs. Gradually, I really tried to get away from all of that and try new things. Triangle of Drunk was mostly written by Dustin and me as we walked on the boardwalk and sat and hung out in the diners of Wildwood, NJ. We just wrote whatever was in our heads. “A song about a Green Box?” Sure, why not. That sounds interesting. That was really our approach at the time.
Dustin: Our songs are inspired by the world around us. From the ambiguous lyrics of “Green Box” to the more personal, heart-felt lyrics of “All My Love”, we pull from our experiences in whatever fashion that suits the song. Lyrically Justin and I have started writing more together, picking and pulling apart ideas to come up with a cohesive thought we can write the music around. And sometimes that thought morphs quite a bit throughout the structuring of the song. We have gotten a bit more abstract in our writing lately, focusing on a concrete idea, but using more colorful imagery to convey a sense, or a feel for that idea. The inspiration for a new song comes in unexpected forms, such as a dusty field, a bee hive, a certain color, or less tangible ideas such as alienation, sex and love. Occasionally musical ideas inspire the lyrics to our songs, but usually the music is written around the lyrics, as we try to capture a sense of the story with sound; painting a picture of the words with chords and notes.
If someone was new to your music, what song do you think they should try and listen too first and why?
Justin: From For The Muses, I would have to say “All That I Want Is You”. I think it is the most epic thing we have done and one of my proudest moments as a member of Zomo. It’s a simple tune but it has interesting parts and a cool arrangement. At the time, it was really a break through for me to write that song and a break through for Zomo to arrange it. On Triangle of Drunk, I would pick “This Is My Life In An A-Frame House”. When we wrote the song, we had this drum beat that we kept beat boxing back and forth. I recorded a few small parts to the song with Dustin…vocals, distorted bass, and a weird sounding guitar, and then said “It should sound like Devo, but not as weird and more rockin'”. I didn’t play anything else on the song. Dustin took that idea, had an amazing vision, and brought it to life. He took the song to a new level and I think this song is the best representation of the collaboration that goes on in Zomo.
Dustin: I would have them listen to “I Am A Rock” from the album “For The Muses”, as it captures a few different sides to our music. I would also suggest “This Is My Life In An A-Frame House” off of the album “Triangle of Drunk” as the song captures a nice rockin’ groove and has some interesting little parts to it. It also shows a bit of the quirky direction the band is headed in, but retains the edge that our first album has.
If you had to describe your sound in three words, what would they be?
Justin: Technicolor Photosynthesis Machine.
Dustin: Groovy, Inventive, Unconventional
Since you have day job, do you simply make music as side project or would you like to see it get bigger? Do you ever play any live shows, or have you in the past?
Justin: I don’t really see my life as a series of projects, but instead I feel like it is one long mixtape. On that mixtape is Zomo, my other band Belsapadore (www.myspace.com/belsapadore), various recordings I make in my home that really don’t relate to any specific music project, my life with my family, and my work as a librarian. It all really meshes together into one big long saga which is still unfolding. If Zomo got bigger, that would be totally wonderful, but I don’t mind it staying where it is. I really just roll with the punches and take life one breath at a time. I really enjoy being in Zomo and working with Dustin just because the friendship and creativity is what does it for me. We’ve never really made money at this and that is ok. Our friendship and creative energy really brings a smile to my face. We have played live shows in the past. In fact, we use to do that a lot, but instead have now focused our energy into creating really great albums. I long to create an amazing album where you can just put on some headphones and it takes you somewhere you have never been.
Dustin: We have played many shows, the majority been performed back in Pennsylvania when the band had a bass player. We have played a few acoustic shows with just Justin and I, but they seem to lack the energy that a full band show has, so we decided to focus more on studio work for now until we find the right bass player. I would love to see the popularity of Zomo increase, but focus our attention towards increasing our online presence. Although I would love to play some shows here and there, I think I would rather the fan base come from online promotion and word of mouth than from extensive touring.
What are your current plans for releasing any new music?
Justin: Songs are always being written by Dustin and I, either as a duo or individually, so there is no short supply of material. I’d love to do a double album in the future…just some huge thing that covers so much territory, but we’ll have to see about that. Releasing a double album can be scary…I always worry about overloading the listener with music. As far as releasing any music, I really want to explore having an online store to sell digital copies of our album. I still want to also have our albums available physically, but only on vinyl. I think the CD is a dead format. There are too many of them and they really don’t offer much. With a digital release, we can pack a lot of cool music and artwork into the album and not have to worry about spending too much money getting things printed up. The vinyl release would be like a really cool collector’s edition and would probably have a small limited printing.
Dustin: Our upcoming third album is tentatively entitled “Eleven Dates ‘Til Death” and may or may not be a concept album. It just keeps evolving so much that it’s hard to put any sort of label on the thing. All I know is we are having a blast working on it, recording ideas here and there, taking walks through amusement parks for inspiration and sound recordings, writing individually and collectively, and we have developed a rather extensive bit of material to work with. The album might be released in the form of digital downloads, although we are considering a short run of CD’s, and also a limited addition vinyl pressing.
As a librarian, if you had to write the music and lyrics for the soundtrack of any book, what would it be and why?
Justin: Oddly enough, I don’t read a lot of Fiction! The teens that come to my library always get on my case about that one. They call me “Justin The Teen Librarian Who Doesn’t Read Any Books”.
I read a lot of non fiction, mostly stuff on the history of music and the different eras and such. I do remember reading “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau quite a bit over a span of like 6 years. That book is a lot to take in! I would love to do a Walden rock opera. Who doesn’t want to hear a song about bean fields?
That’s right, you have a chance at winning Zomo’s two current available albums For the Muses and Triangle of Drunk.
There will be TWO WINNERS, who will BOTH get the the TWO albums.
DEADLINE: Saturday, February 7th
How to enter?
1 entry: by commenting on this interview
2 entries: for commenting on the album reviews (they will be up in the next day or so)
1 entry: for commenting on something else on the zine and leaving a comment here telling me you did!
YOU MUST COMMENT ON THIS INTERVIEW TO AT LEAST BE ENTERED. The other two are EXTRA!
Open to: Everyone! However, only one can be Intl, so post if you are from the US/Canada or somewhere else
That means, one can be from US/CA and one can be INTL, but both CAN BE from US/CA, they just both CANNOT be INTL. Make sense?
Thanks for stopping by. This contest is for the Bloggy Giveaways.