Vocalist/Guitarist- Zach Tipton
Victory Records has long since been a label known for housing heavy bands either of the hardcore persuasion, or-more recently- music that falls into the metalcore/screamo bracket. They’re also a label famous for their grassroots marketing and ambitious publicity campaigns.
Joining the ranks of the Victory family are a bunch of Atlanta boys, barely of the age to drink, who are making some of the most rousing experimental indie rock to come along this past year. Moros Eros are going to blow up in 2007, mark my words. I spoke with lead singer/guitarist/lyricist, Zach Tipton, while he enjoyed what could very well be his last couple weeks of anonymity at home in Georgia.
Hey Zach, how ya doin’? I’m talking to you from Florida. Are you in Georgia right now?
Yeah, I’m in Georgia right now. I’m actually lying in bed. I refuse to get out of bed for another two weeks.
Two weeks?! Why’s that, because of your tour?
Yeah, because I know that these are the last two weeks of my entire life and I have to enjoy it. (laughs)
Are you excited to go on the road?
Yeah, it’s gonna be fun. The bands that we’re gonna play with are pretty interesting, and we have- hopefully- lots of other things that are gonna happen after that, so it’ll be cool.
Your debut was one of the most exciting examples of new music that I heard last year. What were your inspirations for creating such a layered sound that comes across as really fresh?
Probably, my hatred for 90% of music going on right now. I was so tired- actually, I can’t even say that cause I wasn’t “tired” of it because I never listened to it- I couldn’t listen to it! I felt bad for people who listen to music, who were waiting for something new to come out. I wanted to do something that was just a little bit different than what was going on. It’s like, we’re getting a lot of comparisons to Fugazi and At the Drive In and Modest Mouse, but I think I’ve honestly listened to Fugazi maybe once in my entire life! It’s great ’cause I know that they’re a huge influential band, and I know Thirteen was a really big album, but I just try to take it all in stride.
Were there any albums that came out last year that really blew you away?
Well, I really love Pretty Girls Make Graves and The Blood Brothers. Coincidentally we have the same booking agent (laughs), but that’s total irony. I don’t know, I haven’t listened to a lot… No, I know- Tom Waits! That’s my favorite album of last year, the triple disc thing… He’s my own personal god. (laughs)
How did you hook up with Victory Records, if you’re not into the newer music that tends to be on that label?
Right after Alternative Press put us as the “Unsigned Band of the Month”- which was sometime last year- I used that as ammo for emailing every label after I had shoplifted a copy of the Musician’s Atlas from Barnes & Noble. I emailed, I think, 200 separate emails to every label. Victory was one of the ones that contacted us, that seemed most excited about us. When I looked at who they had I was like, “whoa…” It was a total trip. It was cool though ’cause I knew of them, and I knew that they promoted the shit out of everything they did! My only concern, before I got on Victory, was that I wanted enough money to put out an album. I was selling dvds to buy envelopes to send out my demo kits, that’s pretty much my “empty wallet” story. I just wanted someone to pay attention to us. I talked to Victory, even a few months before they offered us to sign, and everyone seemed really excited about us- even from the old demos… I felt really comfortable with the fact that everyone was excited to help us. We went ahead and did it. It was me being extremely tenacious with Victory, and bothering them every day until finally they said “Ok, you have a lawyer?” And we signed. (laughs)
Running through the album there’s the loose theme about the Devil, and a balance of good & evil. Where do these literary allusions come from? In other words, what made you focus on the Devil as a character?
Originally it started out as a joke, with the title. I wanted to come up with the most offensive title possible because our keyboardist, Chris, is a big Christian guy and I’m not. I was like, “I wanna mess with your whole family!” (laughs) Ya know, I was just like, I never want to talk about relationships because if I always sing about what my relationships are like then noone would ever date me again. I didn’t want to ruin it. So this is like philosophy and religion, and little literary themes- because I read a lot- it just seemed so much more interesting than splitting ribs and blacking eyes.
What kind of books do you read?
All kinds. Right now I’m really into George Saunders, it’s like political satire but weird, weird stories. Kind of like dark comedic stuff. I read tons of books at once. I’m finally reading Catch 22, which is a really interesting book. I read lots of science books because before I got into music- all the way up until I was about 16- I was on my way to going to CalTech for doing Cosmology… doing theoretical stuff with that, and univeral theories and all of that junk. I still have a big interest in that kind of thing, so that’s always part of my repertoire of books… I can’t believe I just admitted, because I’ve never ever admitted. It’s kind of the exact opposite of music.
If the band continues on the trajectory its headed, and you’re able to live off of your music, do you think you’ll ever regret not studying at CalTech?
Ya know what, here’s the thing, I went to school for film for a year or two. My experience with that was that art school basically killed my interest in film. And so I refused to go to school for music because it would kill me. I never learned how to play, I don’t know anything about theory, and so I wanted to just learn by myself so I’d have that whole “discoverist” attitude toward music. I didn’t want to already know everything. It’s the same thing with science, with physics and all that junk, I’d rather have it be something that I don’t have to do. I just want to learn about… I don’t want to have to have a job in something like that. In Cosmology, and in all of those other areas of study, you have a one in a million shot of being noticed. I know that if I continue down that way I’ll be one of those under-respected researchers who were never given an opportunity.
Do you prefer to play with bands that are of a similar genre, or do you prefer to play with bands that are totally opposite and maybe have a different crowd than you’re used to playing for?
Well, we played a show with The Blood Brothers, and we played a show with Sparta- which is amazing to me, it’s crazy! It’s always really cool to play with people like that, but it’s nice to surprise people. We played a show with Red Jumpsuit (Apparatus) which is just not (laughs)… Ya know, they’re playing for a thousand people and these kids have never heard anything outside of Mtv2. Normally I don’t think that our crowd is full of 14-year olds. It was really weird to see all of these girls, and guys, looking at us and weirded out. But then you have the select few who came and talked to us after and were like, “Oh my god, you were the best band tonight, by far!” I was like, “Finally!” Some people were expanding their minds, at least a little bit.
Being based in Georgia, which seems to be similar to Florida in that there’s an interesting dichotomy between conservatism and forward-thinking artists and musicians living side by side. What was your experience trying to succeed as a band within that environment?
To be honest, it was horrible. There’s, like, one venue that you can play in all of Atlanta that’s not a 21-and-up venue- and no one likes that venue. So it’s impossible! The biggest things out right now are like hardcore, screamy metalcore stuff, or rap, or Cartel. (laughs) That’s all you have in Atlanta. For someone like us, where two people just turned 21 in September, we don’t have friends who can go to the 21-and-up shows- we don’t know anybody. So when we play those, noone’s there. When we play the venue that noone likes, our friends are like, “No.. I’d rather just drive somewhere and see you somewhere else.” (laughs) It’s so hard because there is a big music scene, but all of those people are in their late 20’s. We’re just coming up and people say that we’re not playing music that’s in our age bracket, but it seems impossible for people to pay attention to us. It’s funny, I believe we draw more (of a crowd) in NJ, NY and L.A. than we do in Atlanta- I think we actually sell more, too. It’s kind of wild. We don’t really have a home base, but I kind of like that. I never had a home base, personally, so it’s kind of fitting. Everywhere is your home.
Did you move around a lot?
Yeah, I moved around a lot. I lived in San Dimas, CA, then I moved to Laguna Beach… Then I moved to Texas with my Dad. Now I live in Georgia with my grandparents. I want to move to Portland, or Chicago, or Montreal- those are the places I’ve like so far. But anywhere is fine, as long as I’m not staying in one place for too long.
Well, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about staying in one place for too much longer.