What are your names?
ZLND: Phil Joel, lead vocals and guitar-from Auckland, New Zealand
Ben Garrett, Guitar, Keys and background Vocals-from Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Ben Bugna, Drums-from Eclectic, Alabama
Roger Angove, Bass Guitar and Background vocals-from Auckland, New Zealand
How did you come up with ‘ZEALAND’
ZLND: Myself(Phil) and Roger who is also my cousin come form New Zealand but that’s not exactly where we got the name, we named the band Zealand because we want our music to be a part of seeing people become zealous for life, specifically life with God in the middle. That’s how we see life and that’s the perspective we write our music from.
What is your genre of music?
ZLND: We’ve spent the last 5 years as a band within the whole Christian music world here in the US where we live. Our faith and life perspective has always found it’s way into our music which is why we’ve been placed into that genre which has been cool but at moment we’re really excited about welcomed by a broader audience where different music and perspectives are accepted beyond the labels we give ourselves or each other.
Give us a little bio about you.
ZLND: We became a band about five years ago after I needed to put a band together for some summer dates I had booked as a solo artist. Something clicked that summer and we’ve been hanging out and making music ever since.
What made you go in to music?
ZLND: Spot of bad luck I guess? Gosh I wish we’d been a band in the 70’s or 80’s when people actually still paid for your music, right? That would have been great. Maybe that’s why we dig the hippie era?
Are you a signed?
ZLND: We’re signed to Curb which we think is pretty great because they dig what we do and because they’re also the biggest and baddest independent label around. Stacey, if you’re reading this we love you!
You are set to release your lead single ‘ SPIRIT SING’ tell us more about it.
ZLND: It’s a song about seeing, sensing and experiencing God within nature and the world around us. I mean everyone of us have those moments when when we just geek out on something inexplicably beautiful and awe inspiring…if that’s not worship I don’t know what is?!
What was the writing and recording process like?
ZLND: Actually, it was a lot of work to wrestle this Album to the ground. We had ideas and what we thought was a clear direction going into it but it changed and we felt like we needed to shift gears in the middle of the process. We realized we’d started to make music we thought other people would like rather than make music we ourselves liked. We caught ourselves and ended up with something we really like and are super proud of.
This is taken from your debut album, can you give us a teaser of what to expect from it?
ZLND: You can expect some different eclectic with this album. We all love a lot of different stuff in this band and somehow all our musical itches got scratched. We are primarily a guitar, bass and drums kinda band but when it’s works we’ll utilize and embrace innovative programming. Our drummer who is a freakishly great drummer, but in no ways a snob or purist is the one who pushed to add programmed elements to the rhythm Dept. I’m glad he did because we ended up with some really different sounds and grooves.
What message are you trying to get out?
ZLND: That life is meant to be gobbled up and enjoyed as we invite God into the mix. He doesn’t promise to make everything perfect but He does promise to love us through it all and that singular truth brings freedom and liberty that you need to know to understand.
Who did you work with on the album?
ZLND: We worked with some really great and very patient producers. Brent Milligan produced half of the album and we loved the work he’d done with the band ‘Colony House’ and wanted some of that mojo to rub off on us. Phil Zach who works out of his killer studio in Lincoln Nebraska did three tracks and brought his indy flare to the table. Galen Crew who is a up and coming producer but who also happens to be a pop star in China produced a track we wrote together called Deeper Water and he did a really great job showing restraint with the production and kept it pretty true to the magic of the original demo.
Will we see any music videos for
ZLND: I hope so, although I think we’ve spent all of the record company’s money making this album so if we make one it’ll probably be on our iPhones.
Which TV channel would you like one of your songs to be played on?
ZLND: Haha, TV, Radio, Internet, Am FM, Satellite…we’ll take any off it
Do you have gigs coming up or a tour in planning?
ZLND: We’re on a 112 US cities tour right now. It’s mainly theaters and concert halls and a lot of them are super cool old iconic venues that a lot of our musical heroes have played back in the day. It’s pretty inspiring.
Are there other countries you’d like to tour?
ZLND: Honestly, we love the US audiences but European concertgoers have a totally different energy and I think what we do and how Europeans respond in live music settings would be kinda magic. We’re just waiting to be invited. We don’t want to be anywhere we’re not welcome.
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any up coming artists?
ZLND: No, but if Tyler the Creator, or Anderson Paak called we’d be into it.
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
ZLND: Sure, it never hurts to try and see if the chemistry happens. You can always reach out to our management at email@example.com
What else do you have planned this year?
ZLND: More touring more writing more touring more writing…
Do you play any instruments?
ZLND: I play guitar and bass and throw a mean tambourine when given the chance.
Who are your influences?
ZLND: I think my musical influences were shaped by the music scene in New Zealand which had a lot to do with passion and feel and was virtually all indy type music as opposed to the pop that was coming out of the US or England. I still enjoyed bands like U2 and REM but they were less about radio pop and were always more about communicating something authentic.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
ZLND: I get inspiration from all types of things and I’ll write things down or record something on my phone nearly every day and then when it’s time to sit down to write I can pull from my little collection of gathered inspiration.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
ZLND: What? You mean like a hobby or something? Ha, I wish.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
ZLND: Wow, there have been so many that have kept me moving. Back in the day it might have been ‘In your Eyes’ by Peter Gabriel and then earlier today it was ‘Don’t Give In’ which is off the latest Snow Patrol Album.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
ZLND: Dial in your craft and be as good as you can be in all the areas involved in being an on stage artist such as playing, singing, writing, performing, how you look and how you hold yourself both on and off the stage. It’s not enough to just be good at one thing you’ve got to work to be well rounded if you’re serious about this business.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
ZLND: Stay true to who you are and when it comes to taking advice from anyone you gotta open your ears but guard your heart. Remember to always eat the meat but make sure you spit out the bones. Make sense?
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
ZLND: “Love God and love people.” It’s simply beautiful and beautifully simple.
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
ZLND: I’m from Auckland, New Zealand which is one of the most beautiful and weird cities in the world. It’s built on approximately 48 dormant volcanoes and the beaches on the west coast of Auckland have black sand which is weird to most people. Just being there is a cool experience, you’ll love it.
Your coming off tour;
1/ Where do you go first?
ZLND: I head out to my backyard to see my chickens and then I get in my car and drive wherever I want. After being on the road with other people driving I need to grip the steering wheel of my own car and re gain some control of where I’m going. I think I’ve got control issues.
2/ Who do you see first?
ZLND: My family of course and then my next door neighbor Walter, he’s the best and I want to be like him when I’m in my 70’s.
3/What do you eat first?
ZLND: Well, I usually make myself coffee because no one makes coffee quite the way I like it. I’m a high maintenance coffee drinker.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
1. To smile and enjoy it
2. To not sing over Ben’s cool guitar lines
3. To try to always get enough sleep and drink plenty of water
4. To not stage dive no matter how excited I might get
5. To always thank God for allowing us the opportunity to do this.