Zach Bellas - 10 Questions Interview
Zach Bellas is a three-piece rock band currently based in Baltimore, Maryland, and named after its frontman - American musician, producer, and founder of the independent recording label SMB Records. Zach Bellas features Tom McAteer on drums, Kyle Hadley on bass and backing vocals & Zach Bellas on guitar and vocals. Since beginning his professional music career in 2008, Bellas has performed over 1,000 shows all across the USA and internationally, including touring in support of great bands such as Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, and Flogging Molly. He has also produced and released seven full-length albums, an EP, and several singles through his label, including some key collaborations with Hall of Famer Junior Marvin from Bob Marley and The Wailers, Jean-Paul Gaster from Clutch, and legendary producer Don Zientara.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I started recording myself at a very young age. I remember seeing the Bon Jovi 'Living on A Prayer' video when I was kid and they are flying all over the place and there are fireworks going off. I was like 'I want to do that!' Ultimately, I think it was the Nirvana unplugged album that really made me get into the guitar and thinking I could write songs.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Probably when I got to play on the Flogging Molly Cruise. It was pure madness the whole time. 2,500 socially awkward heavy drinkers, but just the sweetest and most genuine people on the planet. Controlled chaos. It was incredible.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Getting to work with great producers and musicians like Junior Marvin from Bob Marley and the Wailers, J. Robbins from Jawbox, Jean-Paul Gaster from Clutch, the legendary Don Zientara. That was really always my goal in music. Just to work with really cool people I deeply respect.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
The best songs just sort of happen. They flow through you and present themselves the second you pick up the guitar. Sometimes we just hit record and jam and listen back to pick out the good parts that could become a song. It's a lot of trial and error and fine tuning. Playing the songs over and over and listening back to what we like and what could be better.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The biggest challenge is that a lot of people are releasing music now a days. Something like 50,000 tracks every day on Spotify alone. So there is a lot of noise to cut through. On the other hand, things have never been better for independent artist. You can get your song out all over the world in an instant now. That's pretty cool.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Probably the Foo Fighters. They just seem like a fun band to hang with and Dave Grohl grew up in the same area I did.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Typically three to four hours with a couple breaks. We usually try to get to every song once and do some jamming or work on a new song if we have one. We try to act like we are actually on the stage during rehearsals.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
'10,000 Years Ago' on our new album No Questions No Answers. It just has a lot of lyrics and is a very introspective song, so I had to dig deep to cover all of that real estate and make it interesting.
What's coming up in the future?
Touring. Getting back out on the road. We have already started a little bit now that restrictions are easing up, but we have some great shows lined up for the summer and are planning a full nationwide tour for the fall.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Best place is www.zachbellasmusic.com