Zorch are currently on tour see ALL dates / details HERE
It’s hard being in any band – but it’s especially tough for a two-piece.
When a duo doesn’t work, they can sound like an incomplete group. When it does work, however, there’s a certain chemistry that other bands can’t replicate. The Austin-based twosome Zorch — which played a Red Bull Sound Select show last month in Dallas — has this chemistry in spades, along with a knack for creating the sonic illusion that there are more members. Almost every song has a layered depth that’s very tricky to pull off live; while the music might seem like it’s about to go off the rails, it’s intricately planned and coordinated.
Sam Chown (a.k.a. Shmu) and Zac Traeger first met as dorm-mates at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. They built up both a friendship and a musical relationship, improvising two to six hours a day, though it wasn’t until the two moved away from Boston that they began writing their own music. Their decision to stay a duo was inspired by fellow two-piecers Lightning Bolt and Death From Above 1979, along with the breakthroughs in synth and computer technology for live performance.
Zorch’s songwriting and recording process is also affected by the lineup. “The creative limitations I think are really interesting,” Traeger explains, “especially since we don’t have anything where we press play or play along to any sequencers. For this particular project, I think it just generates a different approach or thought process towards sampling or live performance.” While some bands have trouble replicating a track live, Traeger says they rarely have that problem: “Anything you hear on record, we already were able to play live.”
Zorch’s psychedelic tunes have earned high praise from Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips, who last year invited them to perform at The Womb, Coyne’s Oklahoma City art gallery. The duo also make an appearance on ‘With A Little Help From My Fwends,’ The Flaming Lips’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ tribute album, performing ‘Good Morning, Good Morning.’
According to Traeger, the band is currently kicking into high gear, with no plans to stop anytime soon. They recently recorded two collaborations (one with Marijuana Deathsquads, the other with Swans’ Thor Harris) that they hope to see released as albums. “We’ll probably write some more once we get done with this tour and record another Zorch album,” he adds.
So what are their songs like? Consider ‘Zut Alore,’ from their debut full-length, ‘ZZOORRCCHH.’ Over Chown’s furious drumming, synth after synth fill up the space, while clearly building up to something big. Only in the last minute of the song do the vocals come in: “Giant surprise, we are lizards disguised and we’re controlling your lives with trilateral spies.”
The song refers to the belief that many world leaders, heads of state, and celebrities are actually shape-shifting reptilian aliens who want to control the Earth. It sounds strangely plausible. But does Zorch really believe this?
“I don’t know if we’re endorsers of the reptilian agenda,” Traeger says about the song. “But we see the humor in it, for sure.”