Having been in the Canadian music scene for the better part of four years, Vancouver’s The Zolas continue to excite the crowds with experimental sounds and relatable lyrics. After the high-energy and melodic show they performed at the Keloha Music & Arts Festival in Kelowna, BC, Zach, Tom, Cody and Parker were kind enough to open up about their writing process and musical inspirations.
Vancouver Weekly: In one of your previous interviews, it was said that you wanted to create music that was more experimental and pop-oriented. Do you think the lyrics in the Ancient Mars album are part of that experience, or does pop solely depend on the beat?
Zach: Lyrics can turn you off of an album, and I guess they can turn you on, but I don’t think they are going to make you move.
Vancouver Weekly: But do you think lyrics can be poppy?
Zach: Oh yeah, definitely, and it’s really hard to walk that line between something that feels good, not only for me, but also [in a way] that means something. When you’re writing lyrics, the exercise is saying something that everyone knows but in a way they have never heard before.
Vancouver Weekly: Continuing on the topic of lyrics, do you think it is more important to create a fictional world throughout the lyrics or to write about reality?
Zach: I like both. I like to sort of Frankenstein bits of fiction. And actually, this last album was all real, but just [written] out of context. So, little bits of non-fiction were sewn together in a way that felt more illustrative.
Vancouver Weekly: When listening to your music, a variety of different musical influences appear. Where do you get your inspiration from, and which artists contribute to that inspiration?
Tom: I don’t think there’s anything we wear on our sleeves. We all have our separate influences, so our sound is really a result of a compromise of those things.
Vancouver Weekly: Is there anything that negatively or positively affects you while on stage?
Parker: For me, on stage, it’s almost like a selfish internalized vibe. So, if the band is playing well, then I’m having a good time, but if something is off, then I’m focused on that. A crowd will get me excited, but at the end of the day, when I’m actually playing my parts, it’s strictly about the band.
Cody: Not to bite what Parker was saying, but being in the rhythm section is very much about that. It’s good not being noticed.
Zach: I’m an audience guy. I don’t think you ever know as a performer if you played a good or bad show. There is no correlation between how you felt about a show and how the audience perceives it.