SXSW Music Interview: The Zolas (Canada) on new music and more!

We caught up with The Zolas at SXSW and we chatted about their new record, which they sum up as a weird pop album with something say, and the band even talked politics, specifically, ‘that Abbott guy’ and Rupert Murdoch’s ‘prune-y’ hands.

Check out the full interview below.

Welcome back to the SXSW, it’s been an exciting couple of weeks for you guys, new record — I was watching the live stream from Vancouver, that was a great show looked like you were having a lot of fun, was that on album release date?

Yeah, it was the night before the release in Eastern Canada; by the time we had finished the set the day had rolled over, it was midnight, so the album was technically out that second, that was what conceded the whole thing.

How did you find playing all those songs live? I feel like some of those songs are the first time you’d play them live or at least in that sort of arrangement.

We’d had a little bit of time, we’d been touring some of these songs for months for it wasn’t too bad. We’d had some time with them. Some of them were brand new, there’s actually one song on the album that we hadn’t gotten around to figuring out how to play yet.

I’m sure you will eventually, or it’ll just never make a set.

I think we have to play it, people are actually demanding it. It’s hard.

There’s only so much time and obviously for bands the recording process is so different from the performing process. Congratulations on the record, I did get to listen to it a few weeks ago and it’s a lot fun, it’s a really fun record to listen to. Tell me a little bit about the production of it, did you do it back at home?

This is the first record that we’ve self produced and I have a studio in Vancouver so we did [it] in our own spot, ourselves, kind of on our own timeline, over a year, a few songs at a time and it worked out. It was probably the most fun we’ve had making a record.

There’s a lot less pressure, it’s not like, ‘We’ve got 12 days to finish a song in the studio before we run out of money.’

Yeah, exactly. Sometimes we’d book time for three songs, but we would have only written two songs for that session, so we’d be like, ‘Well we’ve got the day booked, so let’s sit down and write another song’. I can’t remember which tunes they were, but some of them were good. One of them turned out really great and one of them turned out bad.

How do you feel now that’s out, you’ve been working on it for a year, the blood sweat and tears and now it’s out to the world.

It’s funny that it’s officially out because it’s like, we’ve been playing shows and touring for a while and we’ve been playing these songs for a while and now it’s like, ‘Oh it’s officially out’. It doesn’t feel any different, but then you notice little different things like people start asking you about your new album, I guess. It feels good, totally, it feels great that it’s out; I don’t want to say it’s a relief, but it’s a good feeling. It’s like, ‘Nice, we’ve got our thing out there, it’s floating around.’

It’s especially good because since we’d had all the time that we needed and we were self producing, the last day of recording, we were really finished, we didn’t leave saying, ‘Oh I really wish we would have had another half day on this song’, or ‘I have regrets about this’. We were really just done and I still feel that way. If we had another day of recording to change some things, I don’t have anything to change. So it means you can live with anything, if someone loves it, it’s like, ‘Yes I understand why you feel that way,’ and if people don’t like it, you still feel that way, so it’s fine.

So what happens from here, I imagine you’ve got quite a bit of touring ahead of you?

After this, we’ve got a couple more shows at SXSW and then we are starting a Canadian tour, so we are on the road till early April, then cluster touring after that. We’re supporting Powderfinger on a massive Australian tour, no I’m kidding…no Midnight Oil actually… “Beds are Burning” is probably one of my favourite songs ever. Do you still have that Abbot guy as Prime Minister?

Ah no he got kicked out by his own party, now we have this guy called Malcolm Turnbull, and he’s kind of like the Dick Cheney of Australian politics. You know, rich and an asshole. Abbott was just an idiot, and this guy is like just as evil but better at communicating his evilness, so he gets more through which is problem.

When is Rupert Murdoch going to run? 

Well didn’t he just marry Jerry Hall?

Have you ever seen pictures of Rupert Murdoch’s hands? There’s a whole series of blogs just dedicated to his hands, and the idea of them touching any female flesh is one of the most repulsive things of all time. Very prune-y. Just look it up, I can’t do them justice.

What do you hope people will take away from the record? Do you just hope people enjoy it, is it that simple?

That’s the first thing, we set out to make a weird pop album that has something say basically, and I think people will get the weird pop album part really easily. The songs are really accessible, they’re about stuff that we all understand.

It’s a pretty broad album, it’s probably one of our deepest albums too, there’s a lot there if you want. You don’t have to, like you can listen to “Molotov Girls” and think it’s just a pre drinking song before you go out to a party, and that’s totally fine with us. Or, you can actually read it, both are totally good. Everyone is going to have a good time listening to the album, that’s above it all.