ZeroShift is a band out of Northern Virginia comprised of four members; J.T Gray on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Chris Baella on lead guitar, Zach Bonner on bass and backing vocals, and Jared Hornaday on drums. Fusing elements of hard rock, alternative, metal, and Gothenburg style melodies, ZeroShift has created a sound that is familiar yet uniquely their own. While gaining popularity and a regular following, ZeroShift has played at local venues around the D.C Area such as Auld Shebeen, O'Shaughnessy's, Jammin' Java, and the nationally known Jaxx Nightclub. Along they way they've had spots both headlining and opening for touring acts such as Days of the New, Smile Empty Soul, The Exies, and TRAPT.
The stage presence that ZeroShift presents consistently at every show is one of the many assets of the band. As a vocalist, J.T Gray has a way of reaching out to the audience at every show and making each person in attendance feel as though it personalized just for them. Their lyrics are full of hidden meanings and subtle references that allow the audience to apply them directly to their own lives, engaging them in a way that only a truly talented band can.
The band entered the studio with Scott Spelbring in November of 2011 to record their debut full length album.
Zach Bonner - Bass, Back Up Vocals
Chris Baella - Lead Guitar
JT Gray - Lead vocals and rhythm guitar
Jared Hornaday - Drums
ZeroShift EP - 2010
Calm Before the Storm - 2012
CHECK OUT ZEROSHIFT THIS SUMMER - THEY ARE ROCKING ALL OVER VIRGINIA/DC/BALTIMORE UNIVERSITIES
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Monday June 28th at around 9 pm, I pulled up to a small building in Falls Church Virginia where popu...Monday June 28th at around 9 pm, I pulled up to a small building in Falls Church Virginia where popular local band ZeroShift practices every week. Walking down the somewhat “dingy” looking hallway you definitely got the vibe of “up and coming” band. It definitely had that dimly lit back alley feel to it, where you just know as soon as widespread fame hits ZeroShift, they will be taking E! behind the music there to show them where it all started. Actually, thinking back on it, I believe it was the multi colored Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling that solidified that...”vibe”. Although the practice space is located in Falls Church, the band is located out of Springfield, Virginia, home to its four members: Chris Baella on lead guitar, J.T. Gray lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Jared Hornaday on Drums, and Zach Bonner, bass and backing vocals. Once the band settled in and set up for their “heads” and “amps” and lots of other equipment, half of which I didn’t totally have a clue what it was, I was able to sit own with the guys and cover a number of topics. Our interview ranged from who their personal musical influences are to what their ultimate goals are as a band.
To break the ice and get the interview rolling, I first asked them about the band’s name ZeroShift, its origin an whether or not it had any significant meaning. The story behind the band’s name was not exactly epic in nature, but it definitely made me laugh. Apparently the name was “discovered” while Chris and Zach were randomly throwing words around. When they stumbled across the combination of “Zero Shift”, they both thought it sounded cool and presented the name to the rest of the band who all agreed that the “cool obscurity” of the name would represent the band perfectly. Once the basis of the name was discussed we were able to move on to how ZeroShift got off the ground. J.T., Chris, and Zach had all been members of another local band known as Sonic Defiance, which due to band members leaving the area and such, decided to disband. Not wanting to leave the music scene the three decided to search for a drummer and form a new group. Enter, Jared, a co-worker of J.T.’s at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (yes, for now, they still need day jobs). After only one try-out the four musicians officially became ZeroShift on July 17th, 2009.
My next question of how they would classify their style of music, resulted in a resounding “ehhh” from all group members, so I knew the answer to this question was going to be interesting. However, their hesitation turned out to not be from a lack of direction of what they wanted as a band. In fact, their hesitation may very well be one of their greatest assets. As all members agreed, if you don’t tie yourself down to one specific style you appeal to a larger audience. Explaining further, J.T. stated that “This will benefit the band in the long run because we are not narrowing or excluding our audience”. Chris agreed stating, “that it is nearly impossible for someone to leave the show saying they dislike the band, because there is literally something for everyone”. They do make it clear, however, that they stay in the “hard-rock” genre, but “in the broadest sense of the word”.
I found it somewhat unique that ZeroShift’s writing process is something that involves every member. It starts with one person bringing in a riff (which is defined as “a short rhythmic phrase, especially one that is repeated in improvisation”, for those reading this who had to use this definition to understand, don’t worry, I had to ask too), and presenting it to the others. From there each guitarist and bassist works on shaping his own instrument’s part until collectively they agree on how the song sounds. Jared lays down the drums last. Once the music has been tweaked to the satisfaction of all, J.T. writes the lyrics. The band also wanted me to point out that obviously with writing music the process isn’t one hundred percent set in stone. If one band member comes in with a complete song and everyone agrees on it, they will go ahead and use his song. Learning about ZeroShift’s writing process led me to question their decision making process. I asked the group bout how they handle disagreements about their music choices and their answer was quick and in unison...”Everybody or Nobody”. Each band member may bring in individual ideas, but ultimately if all don’t agree, and no compromise is reached, then the idea is thrown out. For ZeroShift, respecting each other is by far the most important method for ensuring the longevity of the band.
Speaking of the longevity of the band, we discussed what steps they are taking to promote the band and expand their following. Despite the demands of each of their individual day jobs, ZeroShift is diligent about getting the band’s name out there. Recently they set up a band store to promote and sell ZeroShift merchandise; they are booking more shows in their local area while actively seeking venues in a wider geographical area in which to perform; and they have recently completed a press kit and demo for distribution. By doing so, ZeroShift is hoping to make more local connections while broadening their name and popularity. ZeroShift also utilizes all social networking sites, such as Facebook, myspace, and twitter, and all members agree that sites such as these give up and coming bands a leg up in getting their name and sound “out there”.
Once we finished discussing ZeroShift as a whole, I wanted to take some time to learn more about who the four members of the band were as individuals. Asking each member the same two questions, why do you play the instrument you do, and who influenced your music the most, I got quite an assortment of answers. Needless to say this part of the interview was definitely my favorite as it really highlighted their individual personalities. Starting with Chris whose answer to why he wanted to be a lead guitarist was simple and honest, “I wanted to be a rockstar”...and I mean come on, rockstars are pretty damn cool...Chris has been playing for nineteen years, and, due to a defying moment when he refused to play “Hot Cross Buns” in guitar lessons when he wanted to learn “Metallica”, he is impressively self taught! Chris’s love for music, in general, became more than a little evident when he started talking about various musical influences, but he was able to narrow his top seven to, Metallica, AC/DC, KISS, Dimebag Darrell, Zakk Wylde, Immortal, and In Flames. I’m sorry I couldn’t list them all Chris, but I believe it doubled the length of this article!
Next up was Zach. Like Chris, Zach’s musical interest began at an early age although he seemed to approach it with a bit more of a pragmatic edge. While Zach had given guitar a valiant effort early on, he found that bass ended up being more his style. Also, and this is where his pragmatic side comes in, Zach believed that on a marketability level a bass guitarist would be more sought after in a band when he was first looking around for a group to play with. But this is no stand still bass player, as he’ll tell you himself the main perk of playing bass is that he gets to run around the stage and jump off stuff. It was right about then that I took a step back...just in case...Like Chris, Zach listed Metallica as a big musical influence.
J.T., jumped in after Zach and told me that he started his musical career where most musician’s start...playing the air guitar! Between the ages of ten and fourteen, J.T. was playing air guitar to Lynyrd Skynyrd (and it was right about THERE that I suppressed my desire to yell out Free Bird), and Journey in his bedroom until he finally picked up a real guitar and started writing his own music and lyrics. J.T. must have air sung (I probably just made that phrase up) in his bedroom as well, because as I mentioned earlier he’s the band’s lead singer, and a really talented one at that! When asked about his singing, J.T. states that he “wanted to be original and display no inhibitions”. Along with Skynyrd and Journey, J.T. was heavily influenced by Alice in Chains. He sites vocalist Layne Staley (lead singer) and Jerry Cantrell (lead guitarist) as two of his biggest influences.
Lastly it was time to talk to Jared. Jared’s story as to why he decided on drums, was short, yet hilarious. Jared was a highly rambunctious child and decided when he was twelve that “Nothing sounded better then hitting a lot of drums with two sticks really loudly”! Having been to many of ZeroShift’s shows, I can vouch that not only does he have the “loud” part down pact, but also the extremely talented part. Jared took lessons as Music and Arts in Springfield, Virginia, and has loved the drums ever since. Jared listed, ?uestlove (pronounced Questlove), and In Flames as two of his personal musical influences. Jared then went back to lightly tapping drum beats...
As I wrapped up my interview I had one more question for the group: What do they hope to accomplish as a band? Of course they all thought going on even one tour and hearing themselves on the radio would solidify them as having “made it”. After a brief silence Chris added that the ideal scenario would be to turn their music from a “hobby” into a job, with the ultimate goal, “to be known”.
Thinking back to the interview, I can’t help but be inspired by the commitment ZeroShift as made to their music. The bond they have with each other, along with their drive and determination sets them apart. I never had a sense that this was just one more local band trying to make it big. Instead, I had a sense that I was being given the opportunity to interview a group who was not going to give-up until they reached their goal. After talking to ZeroShift, listening to their music, and watching their shows, I have no doubt in my mind that this local band is going to be one of the ones that wakes up and finds themselves right in the middle of their dream of “making-it”. One day i’ll be cruising in my (hopefully nice expensive) car and when I turn on my radio and hear one of their songs, i’ll get to be one of the ones to say “I knew them when”! Keep going strong ZeroShift, you’re well on your way!
****For up to date information on ZeroShift, as well as when to catch their next shows, follow them on Facebook at, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Zero-Shift/136958997013?ref=ts
****You can also visit ZeroShift's website, at www.zeroshift.net
Altered State of Mind
Calm Before the Storm
Tear Me Down
Place To Hide
Cold to Me
There are no upcoming dates at this time.