The Zolas Feel No Pressure

Music tends to be all about perception. A song that makes one person sad might make another feel empowered. It truly is the beautiful thing about music; it is open to interpretation and no matter what your interpretation of a song or album is, you are in the right.

Perceptions aren’t strictly limited to music fans, either. The musicians behind the songs have perceptions of their own about their music.

Formed in 2009 by Zachary Gray and Tom Dobrzanski, the Vancouver-based Zolas rose from the ashes of another band, Lotus Child. The Zolas’ excellent debut record Tic Toc Tic (released in December 2009), the group scored widespread critical acclaim and earned themselves a whole slew of fans with poppy singles such as You’re Too Cool and The Great Collapse.

The band performs next Thursday at the Tide & Boar on Main Street in Moncton with Hey Ocean.

The Zolas’ new record Ancient Mars (released this coming Tuesday via Light Organ Records) is every bit as strong as Tic Toc Tic. The group’s pop melodies are still definitely lurking in the background of Ancient Mars however they are a little more obscure than they were on Tic Toc Tic.

“When I look back on the first record, it sounds very peppy,” Gray says. “We were a younger band. I think that this album is a lot more reflective of the music we are listening to these days while also reflecting the bands that we have gotten into over the past two years.”

“To be honest, I don’t quite get how any songs from Tic Toc Tic became popular,” he laughs. “I don’t hear any singles on that record at all where with Ancient Mars, it might come across as less upbeat, but I feel it is absolutely packed with singles.”

Gray shares that the songs on Ancient Mars were written over the course of the past two years in between traveling, acting and working on other projects while his partner Dobrzanski produced acclaimed records by Said The Whale and We Are The City.

The outside interests pursued by Gray and Dobrzanski ultimately helped to fuel The Zolas’ fire. Stating that the group felt no pressure when it came to writing the often maligned sophomore record, the duo would often retreat to a cottage on the British Columbia coast to write and demo the songs that would form Ancient Mars.

And though it may be a little too much of a zen approach to making music for some people’s liking, Gray’s content nature supports the fact that neither he nor Dobrzanski are expecting to strike gold with Ancient Mars.

“The Zolas are what happens when Tom and I get together,” he says. “I think accepting the fact that The Zolas are never going to be everything that we want to do is a big part of what makes the band. Tom loves working with other bands in the same way that I love collaborating with others.

“When it comes to The Zolas, we don’t feel pressured to put an album out every year and to put forth a united front and ‘safe’ public image. We make music together because we like doing it. We initially got together and wrote songs never expecting to really do anything with them. The whole band is a product of friendship and if the day arrives that we don’t want to make music together anymore, we won’t. It’s as simple as that, really.”

Article published in the September 28, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript
What: The Zolas with Hey Ocean
When: Thursday, Oct. 4, 9 p.m.
Where: Tide & Boar Gastropub, 700 Main St., Moncton

Tickets: $10 in advance. Advance tickets available at the Tide & Boar or by calling (506) 857-9118.