Dan and Chris from upcoming band ZOLA recently sat down with us to chat 'behind the scenes' on their recent EP launch. 

ZOLA Album cover.jpg

Who is in the band? Dan Chan- Keys, Chris Burke - Guitar and Vocals, Pat Burke - Drums, Julian Dilizia - Bass, Tamon Nishikawa - Guitar and Danielle O'Sullivan - Vox

Where does the name, Zola come from?

Chris: We kind of just thought the word was cool and then looked it up and it’s an African word that means tranquility/peace/from the Earth.

Dan: It’s also the name of a baby on Grey’s Anatomy?...But that's not why we chose it

Tell us about how ZOLA got together?

Chris: Julian, Jeremy and I and another guy named Richard were in another band named Bishi Bashi, we played together for about a year, and that was a lot of fun. We were obviously all very passionate about music, but we felt like we wanted to be helping people through what we were doing. We had done some events for kids in high schools and youth events and saw that the positive impact we could have on people was more significant than playing to drunk people. So we made a choice to just scrap Bishi Bashi and started writing about our experiences with God and what that meant to us. The goal was to keep our love for the music and our creative edge.

We probably spent about 6 months writing.

Dan: We took some good time just to gel, as any musos do, working out how we write and relate together. It was a really rewarding process.

Who are you influences?

Dan: Listening to a lot of the1975, they definitely influenced us, just kind of that vibe.

Chris: When writing, we are trying to lean towards the synth feel like M83, Naked and Famous and Chvrches. For guitars, I listen to Kings of Leon.

When did you decide that music was something you wanted to pursue?:

Dan: As soon as I came out of the womb? For me, it was since I was 4. It didn’t start out that I wanted to play music, ok, let’s be honest I was forced (laughs) but it’s something I enjoyed and that I felt I was good at. With anything it takes hard work and practice, so if it wasn’t for all of the lessons and the money my parents spent, I wouldn’t have gone on. From there opportunities opened up. 

Chris: For me, my parents weren’t musical, but my brother and I were and we did a little piano, but our parents didn’t force us so we kind of gave it up. But we had the same music teacher and he would do a band each year. I remember going to a big concert and felt it impressed upon me that it was something I was going to do. Then after leaving highschool I wanted to study music more, so I went to WAPA for a year and then after that it was just trying to figure it out, progressing through a couple of bands.

What are you listening to right now?:

Dan: Haim, Chvrches

Chris: The new Jungle Giants album, Earl Sweatshirt and Danny Brown

Tell us some tips for someone interested in recording and performing:

- Spend time talking to your producer and listening to their previous projects before deciding to work with them. Establish the relationship and define the roles of all involved in the recording otherwise it gets a bit messy.

- A lot of bands feel pressure to just get something out there and produce a really average recording, but we believe that your first release is reflective of who you will be, so we took the time to do that.

- Practice and hard work opens up opportunities. Stick with it!