I recently attended Zoogma's sold out show at Cervante's Other Side on March 29th and had a chance to send the band some questions via email after show. Typically EDM or "jamtronica" or whatever isn't exactly my bag... but as has been the case with each time I've seen Zoogma, I had a ball and thought the show was great, with some truly invigorating music being blasted out at the packed dance floor. To put it scientifically, people were losing their shit.
During the show I started thinking about how polarizing dance music in general has become, and how strange it is that while seemingly every "indie" band is dropping a dance album these days, there is still a huge disconnect between scenes. The whole "hippie" vs "hipster" thing is a tired and old argument, especially considering both are supposedly "all about the music", so it would seem there would be more crossover. EDM is bigger now in the states than it ever has been, so it would seem these should be good times for a band as talented as Zoogma.
Perhaps surprisingly, The Disco Biscuits annual Camp Bisco festival (which Zoogma will be playing) seems to be trying to bridge the gap, having bands like Passion Pit, Dan Deacon, Toro y Moi and even Animal Collective on this year's bill. In my not really all that humble opinion, if it makes you want to get down, who cares if the person next to you is a brah wearing a flatbrim or a fixed gear bike owning hipster?
Zoogma's Justin Hasting took some time from the road to talk about this, how the band's first west coast jaunt has gone and the epicness that is Cracker Barrel. Check out the interview below:
DF: I personally have always felt a pretty big disconnect with most EDM for the age old excuse that it lacks soul, but I always have a blast at Zoogma shows. How do you feel about the position that a lot of EDM is "soulless" and talk about how you guys try and take the best elements of that type of music and merge it with all the positives of a live band show if you could
JH: I can understand why many would see the EDM as “soulless,” but it really is just the nature of the beast I think. Just like any genre, it is not for everyone, ya know? I think this is changing to a degree though, and that is where I think we fit in with our style. There are more bands than ever incorporating live instruments into their sets to give the music more feeling, soul, and a feel of liveliness. We play live guitars, synths, drums, and bass so there is already a sense of liveliness in our live show that sets us apart
from a lot of other electronic acts. We also love playing all types of music, especially music with a big sense of energy, and EDM encompasses that energy in a big way. We like to take electronic styles and mix them with other genres like rock, jazz, hip-hop, and textural/psychedelic stuff while still maintaining the energy of both a producer and a live band. It really is all about the energy and feel, no matter how we get there musically…
DF: How has being out west for the first time been? How different are the audiences out west? I was amazed to learn this was the band's first west coast swing, talk about the response you've received so far...
JH: Being out west has been awesome so far. It has been a really cool experience to take a step back and play for a whole room of people that have never heard you at all. On the other hand, it has also been crazy to see how many fans we already had out here and haven’t been able to catch a show yet. It is really cool and special to have someone 1800 miles away from home digging what you are doing.
Audiences haven’t been too different really. Everyone parties, dances, and enjoys themselves accordingly, couldn’t ask for anything else!!
When you tour as a band it is tough to travel all the way to Cali from Atlanta. It will take you a week of shows to get to CO, a week of shows in CO, then another week to get to Cali, and another week and a half to get home!!! So this has been a long time coming for us but we knew we needed to do it and the timing was right for it.
So far everyone has received us really well. A lot of our songs use west coast hip-hop musical styles and samples so its cool to see a lot of people getting down to songs about their home state…its like playing M10, our Three 6 Mafia mash-up, in Memphis. The west has been exceptional to us to say the least, and Mochipet has been a killer friend and musician to do it all with.
DF: I'm interested what you'd say the band as a whole's influences are from DJs to live bands to whatever...
JH: I never know what to say when we get asked this question because it kind of changes daily for me…For instance, I would say STS9 and Phish are the bands that made me want to do a project like this in the first place. Then you look to other cats later on like, “damn we want to have a little more electronic vibe happening” so you look to someone you like in that area and take as much influence as possible, and for me that was Telefon Tel-Aviv and Jimmy Edgar. This constantly happens when you try new
things musically, especially when you are always listening to new things. As a whole, we can really agree on Pink Floyd, Radiohead, NIN, Bootsy, 2Pac, and Michael McDonald…there’s really no genre of music that
doesn’t influence us in someway if it is expressive or important in a special way.
DF: This remix competition you are doing is very cool, what was the impetus for that and how is it going?
JH: Camp Bisco came to us with the idea and we were all over it. We love when we get to interact with fans in this sort of context because it allows them to show their creative side and come up with artistic interpretations of our music. We chose the song “Blocks” because it is very musical and
thought there could be some very interesting submissions. We cant wait to see what everyone sends in!! We really appreciate the opportunity from Camp Bisco to do this and I really feel these remix contests don’t happen enough!
DF: How has joining up with the Madison House booking agency benefited the band?
JH: Being with Madison House has been incredible!! We have been with Owen Gray (our Booking Agent) for our entire career and when we both got to make the move to Madison House we were all beyond thrilled to be with such an amazing cast of agents, musicians, and straight up awesome
people. It has allowed us so many opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible and we thank them for these chances to help our artistic visions grow in the right way.
DF: What are the plans for the next record?
JH: We are in the process of writing, recording, and finalizing the ideas for the record right now. I cant give much more info than that at this time, but it will be released during the summer with a very special release party in a city and venue that is very special to us. We cannot wait to get this out to everyone because it has been a long time overdue. We have a bunch of different material for this one so there should be something for everyone on this record; we are extremely excited about it!!!
DF: You guys are constantly posting and commenting about food on the road, and you seem to be in Cracker Barrel about once a day. On a dankness scale of 1-10, rate Cracker Barrel:
JH: Definitely a 10, but only if the waitress is above a “rising star” status. The waitresses that work there are on the “P.A.R.” program, which stands for “personal achievement responsibility” and basically the more stars they have the more badass they are, aka extra biscuits for free on the reg... In reality it is a pretty good restaurant we stop at ALL the time. The reason is tha they accommodate bands so well there…They have trailer parking, tables for 5+ people, a wide variety of food that’s healthy if you want, they are pretty fast, and the food is quite affordable. The games are also the shit as well; I am the reigning champ of the triangle tee game, so check yoself before you wreck yoself if you think you have game…
DF: Hahaha that sounds about right. Thanks and good luck out there.
For tour dates and all things Zoogma, be sure and check out their site, here.
Photo Credit: The Do Lab