There is no lack of band experience between the two members of Moncton Middle Eastern Mantra doom duo ZAUM.
Behind the group is Kyle McDonald, a Moncton scene veteran of bands including Cop Shades and Shevil and one of the creators of the music performance web series The McDons House. Joining ZAUM on drums is Chris Lewis, arguably best known as the vocalist of Moncton heavy-metal band Iron Giant.
Whether it was their collective experience that made them choose a path less chosen or simply a desire to change up the “typical” evolution of a band, ZAUM has gone about launching their band a little differently.
Where most acts will perform and refine their live show and their songs before they even think of entering a recording studio, ZAUM spent the last few months of 2013 crafting their debut effort without having played a live show. The duo made their live debut earlier this year to audiences in Ontario and Quebec. They are now set to make their hometown live debut tomorrow night at The Caveau on Main Street in Downtown Moncton.
At the heart of the group is the friendship between Kyle and Chris. Both musicians have each spent no less than the last decade and a half entrenched in the Moncton music scene in one form or another, whether on stage or off stage.
After seeing his last couple of groups grind to a halt due to conflicting schedules among other reasons, Kyle says that he knew keeping things simple for ZAUM was going to be a top priority.
“I knew that I wanted to form a two-piece band with someone that made sense from a responsibility and reliability standpoint,” Kyle begins. “Chris being that other member just made sense on so many levels.”
Musically, ZAUM’s pursuit of a sound rooted in world music combined with elements of heavy metal and other genres helps the group to set themselves apart from other groups in the Moncton scene. Their sound is not driven solely by a desire to set themselves apart, however. There is a specific authenticity to the music they create, largely driven by Kyle’s appreciation for world music.
“I have been a fan of authentic and mostly older world music for the last five or six years now. Both Chris and I have always been big fans of slow, atmospheric music and so we brought that love of those styles of music together here. It is one of the more adventurous bands that I have been involved in from a musical standpoint but it is still hard to shy away from the conventional style of songwriting.”
It did not take ZAUM long to begin attracting attention from right around the world. The band sent out a number of promotional packages and eventually signed on with the Swedish label I Hate Records. The label is due to release the duo’s four-song debut album in mid-June. Their association with the label is helping pave the way for an extensive European tour this coming September.
Both Kyle and Chris are eager to bring their music to new audiences, here at home and overseas. Kyle says that the initial feedback that they received around their shows in Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland from the last two months has been promising although they will continue to take things one step at a time.
“The live dates that we have played so far were all fantastic. The feedback we have received has been striking and almost like nothing that either of us have experienced in previous bands. We have heard from a lot of people who have told us that they would typically not listen to music like what we are doing but that they have been instantly drawn in, mesmerized and moved. You obviously have to take compliments like those in stride but to have people embracing the band is a big plus in our books.”
What: ZAUM with Heavy Doobie and Rockville Warriors
When: Saturday Apr. 26, 10:00 p.m.
Where: The Caveau, 700 Main St., Moncton (located in the basement of Aura Nightclub)