Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of The Strypes, this is The Zen Arcade
First of all, how are you all?
Ello Elly! We’re very good thanks. At least that’s what the reviews say.
Can you each give me an introductory sentence and a fun fact about yourself?
Ross: Hi I’m Ross, I sing and until I was 3, my parents thought I was mute even though I could talk.
Pete: Hi, I’m Pete I play the guitar and it doesn’t hurt if you pull my hair.
Evan: Hi I’m Evan, I’m a drummer and Glen Matlock ate my chips.
Sam: Hi I’m Sam, I play the bass and was voted most likely to go to prison in secondary school.
Bex: Hi my name is Becky, I’m called Becky and a fun fact about myself is that my name is Becky.
(Thanks Becky, truly insightful…)
This band in a way grew like a phoenix from the ashes of The Strypes, what are the similarities and differences between the two projects? (Except for the fact there are 3 members of The Strypes in The Zen Arcade).
The biggest similarities (other than the aforementioned member crossover) is our work ethic. Our approach to recording, rehearsals and gigging are very much the same as they were in The Strypes. There’s also a similar drive and passion. We didn’t do things by half in The Strypes and we certainly don’t do them by half now.
I would say the major difference is a renewed sense of independence and freedom. We’re not signed to any label (other than our own, Dental Records) and so are free to pursue any idea we like without having to run it by anyone and have it means-tested for cost-effectiveness. Basically, we’re free to waste our time AND our money. Every musician’s dream.
Also, we’re now a 5 piece which is a very new dynamic for people like us who’ve been used to a 4 piece setup for over ten years. The extra set of limbs does wonders for the sonic landscape of the band (although the extra ‘thoughts and opinions could be done without).
How did The Zen Arcade form?
We formed the band after The Strypes broke up. After taking a break for a few months myself Ross and Ev very quickly realised that our marketable assets lie solely in the writing and performance of music. (For Halloween the three of us always dress up as a one-trick pony). Becky and Sam came on board around the time of our first single release and have been extra strings to our bow and pains in our side ever since.
On your Facebook bio, it says you play “prawn cocktail flavoured songs” could you give an explanation as to what this is?
Well, our music is original, which is also a flavour of Pringles. And our specific brand of garage rock and power pop makes your tongue feel fuzzy and horrible afterwards, much like prawn cocktail Pringles do.
You have a podcast High Fidelity and a fanzine Cro Mag Non, what made you decide you wanted to explore other creative routes alongside your music?
It all came from the fact that this new venture was going to be a ‘follow up band’ to a previously successful one. That comes with many positive associations and some negative connotations. With that in mind, we wanted to distinguish and establish this band as its own entity with its own multi-faceted points of entry for whoever might come across it.
It also came from the delirious excitement of a fresh start. We could do anything we wanted to do and so decided to do EVERYTHING we wanted to do.
Furthermore, it’s proved to be a way of maintaining an open channel of communication with the people who take the time to tune in, listen, stream, read and watch our music, podcast, zine and video series (to whom we’re very grateful). During the last year of The Strypes, we started a tour diary series called ‘The Surprisingly Dull Adventures Of The Strypes’ and we were completely overwhelmed by the reception it received. It was shot badly, edited poorly and full of oily people in sweaty clothes but people seemed to enjoy the cheap, low budget nature of it. We wanted that incompetency to carry over into this new band but didn’t want to just target the simple vlog format. We wanted to expand into print and broadcast media and degrade them all beyond recognition. Hence, ‘Higher Fidelity’ and ‘Cro Mag Non’.
Do you have any plans to tour in 2021? (If corona allows).
Yes, we do! We have some EU festivals booked in October and after that, we’ll be doing a headline tour of Ireland in December. There are UK plans but we can’t say anything about it yet!
Anything else you’d like to add or plug?
Yes, we’d like to plug our recent Livestream show ‘The Many Faces Of We’, along with our podcast Higher Fidelity (and its accompanying single, ‘High Fidelity’).
We’d also like to plug in our laptop as it’s about to die.
Higher Fidelity (podcast) : https://open.spotify.com/episode/0dQHgdpCu7BdIVu39EXVta?si=09e8f6e3ebf24e30
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