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"Interview With ZibraZibra New album 777"

Minneapolis-based quartet ZibraZibra may be fresh out of high school, but if you call them “the Twin Cities’ newest teen sensation” again, they are going to TP your front lawn and egg your house.

Like a distant uncle you only see at Christmas, it seems the local Minneapolis media starts every review of the burgeoning rock group with, “Oh, you look so much bigger than the last time I saw you. You’ll be a grown-up soon, huh sonny boy?”

The real story, arguably more compelling, is a group of extremely talented, formally trained musicians who aren’t afraid to experiment and push the envelope when it comes to writing and performing music.

With influences ranging from The Faint’s New Wave synth to Mindless Self Indulgence’s vocal spasms mixed over beatbox overload, ZibraZibra is as disjointed as it gets — a refreshing puzzle for the ear that never gets boring.

July 7 (that’s 7/7/07 if you’re keeping score at home), marks the release of the MMA-winning group’s second full-length album, aptly named 777. The release will be digital, meaning audience members are asked to bring their iPods and other mp3 players to the show, plug them into the digi-merch ports at the tables, and enjoy their own personal copy of the album — FREE.

On top of that, audience members will be able to text message their email addresses to a secret email address that will automatically respond with a download link for their computer at home. More traditional (BORING) CDs will be available, as well.

This week we sat down with Kid Z to chat about the group, the new album and dinosaur safaris…

Congrats on all your success in the last year, man. Now that you’ve graduated high school, are you sick of being lumped into the “teen group” category?
We will DECIMATE anyone who calls us a TEEN GROUP!!!!!!!!! You may have noticed that other bands our age and younger are not generally fantastic at playing music, and have a much harder time than we do fitting in with adults at bars and clubs. A-Wolf has more back hair and a better mustache than Ron Jeremy, and the other two guys can collectively bench press almost 500 pounds. So we generally aren’t mistaken for children. Three of us WON’T Be teenagers by the time the MMA’s happen this year, so I hope to fucking god we aren’t nominated in the teen category again. I’m the youngest in the band, and I am really NOT looking forward to the 8 months when everyone else in the band can drink, and I just have to wait patiently for my 21st birthday to come around (2 years from now). We were really surprised we got labeled a “Teen” band in the first place, and it has been the most haunting and universally abhorred label we’ve received.


Tell us about the new album, 777.
Well, 777 is the tale of a young man’s journey to adulthood. It’s really a coming of age story. No, it’s not. We were inspired by the wave of sex that came upon us after we released the first record and started doing well. We set out to make a record that nobody else would have the balls to make. I am currently midway through a music production degree at McNally Smith, and Jon Greenlee let us use his studio “The Planets” to record our new album.

We started with a combination of my digital programming skills (MIDI, Digital Audio, and Frequency Modulation Synthesis) and tapping into my vocal experience with classical choral arrangements, and experience with Gregorian chant, A-Wolf’s Classical Arranging and composing skills (he went to the U for classical cello performance), V-Nil’s shredtastic guitar chops, in depth knowledge of jazz theory, and socially responsive nature, and Tflex’s circuit bending and synthesis.

Using these elements, we began constructing a new sound for the record, and 20 tracks later, we had enough material to assemble a record. We decided to go against the grain again when mastering the record. Most Records (indie and local records included) are mastered in such a way that the songs are smashed into one homogeneous dynamic. We decided to go with an 80's prince sound and master it with some headroom, so that the songs can breathe, and will take the listener somewhere that they can take in the sounds rather than be bombarded with them.

Lyrically I was coming from a different place than with ‘the end of the lion’. I knew what I wanted to write about, and that made it harder. It’s more socially deconstructive, and less goofy. I wanted it to be spacey-er, sexier, and meaner. I was pissed off and at odds with myself the whole time we were writing the album, but my sense of humor and ability to repress outward signs of weakness got me through it productively.

You admitted in interviews that “The End of the Lion” was a tad disjointed. What approach did you take with the new record to help it feel more cohesive?
None. It’s just as disjointed and frantically searching for a place to fit in as the first record. That’s how we do it. That’s what ties our sound together; its not being able what to expect next, because we come at music from every angle we can find and haven’t explored yet. and we make an effort to find new ways to do that.

That said, I do think that the sound of the new record is a great example of who we currently are as musicians, and it really expresses all of us in a really cool way. It’s a snapshot of where we were at the dawn of ’07.

It’s as cohesive as we are — not very cohesive.

Where was it recorded/who produced?
It was recorded at The Planets by Jon Greenlee and myself. The programming was done all over the place on me and A-wolf’s laptops, and it was mastered at Winterland studios as part of our prize package from Drive 105's Battle of the bands that we won last summer.

Tell us the story behind “The Princess of Incest” off the new album.
It tells the story of our experiences with the Greyhound bus service in California, and a bizarre flaming gay, super wealthy, lebanese man we met who was dragging this thin, shy, submissive, business oriented Israeli man across the USA seemingly against his will. The Lebanese guy would make fun of the Israeli, who didn’t seem to like being acknowledged directly at all.

I liken this situation to my personal astonishment with the ass-backwards sexual mentality that seems to have plagued the majority of the gay community, and there you have it: The princess of incest eats her celery legs.

Tell us about this big 777 release party at First Avenue.
It’ll be big and shiny! I don’t want to give away the surprises we have, but it’ll be more than just a rock show. Think somewhere between The Flaming Lips at the state fair 2006, and “Clue” starring Tim Curry.


You guys have a tech-savvy live show anyway, but you’re asking people to bring their iPods to get the album? Tell us how that works and why it’s a relevant way to release an album.
The state of the music industry is a shambolic mess and NOBODY buys music, much less CDs anymore. To us, it’s more important that they hear the music than buy it, because they will steal it anyways. It doesn’t matter……we’re all going to die eventually.

This way, WE control what they hear and it actually makes it harder for them to steal the music, because unless you have hacking software, your iPod protects the music on it from you stealing it. If you want to put the record on your computer and burn it from your friends, someone will have to buy the record, and the more people who have the album on their iPods and are envied by their friends for it, the more cds and mp3s we hopefully will sell

From the audiences perspective, they’re getting a free album, along with a number of extra fancy digital ding-dongs that will be available with the music. Sell more by giving it away. Bad Economics? Maybe, but then they’ll have money left over for a shirt.

Other tour plans in the works?
West coast in August. NYC again this fall. Hopefully Europe and Japan in 2008 — depending on if we can get some House/Trance Remixes of our songs in the clubs Europe and get some video game action in japan — both of which seem attainable at this point.

What’s next for ZZ?
Hitting the ceiling. Following that will be broken friendships, coke habits, a doctorate or two and a dinosaur safari.

ZibraZibra play their Minneapolis release show at First Avenue July 7, 2007 with Har Mar Superstar and Seymore Saves the World. - Perfect Porridge


Still working on that hot first release.



Currently at a loss for words...