Mainly we were taking an honest look around at who and where we are in this day and age and how that effects our fans, friends and family through the music. Reality is key and if you jump on a trend you are either in the middle or the end but never the beginning.
Marie: How did King Zebra start out - how and when did it begin?
Eric: It all started 2012 in Zurich. But we see 2017 as kind of a rebirth. It was the year Eric joined the band and redefined our music from the scratch. The lead singer always is the figurehead which gives a band its uniqueness.
Marie: What was the recording process like on your latest EP, who produced/engineered it? Do they have any other successes?
Eric: The only track on the Ep that was recorded ensemble was “Bad Idea” and it was recorded at Powerplay Studios Switzerland. The other songs were done like this – The Guitar players Jerry & Roman would send simple short demos of songs set to a rough groove to Eric - the singer. Eric would then write lyrics and experiment with vocals while the band worked out their parts and recorded the drums and basics in the band room.
Once all the tracks were recorded, they were sent to V.O. Pulver to mix at the little creek studio.
Marie: What are the songs inspired by? What is the story behind it?
Eric: We actually released 3 singles before releasing the EP. The most notable was “Firewalker” which is fast approaching 1,000,000 plays on Spotify by now. The story or fantasy of the song is based on a kind of Jessica Jones meets Cat Women/Biker Girl character who enjoys kicking bad guys asses just for fun. So, they’d better run.
Marie: How does your writing process work? Is it stream of consciousness type writing or more planned and thought out? Is there an underlining theme in your music?
Eric: The theme is open save to say that we direct our focus on songs that work live and fit to the band. That’s why I’d say the inspiration to complete a new song begins with a riff that won’t go away. And then when a title appears the dreaming begins and as you said the Stream Of Consciousness takes over. With lyrics, flow is important as well as unity and coherence but only to the point that in ten years you still know what you were singing about.
Marie: Where was the new release written? How does place and time influence you and your writing process?
Eric: The band does most of the writing in Zurich and that involves a lot of late nights with guitars and wine sitting together working on ideas and recording them while the busy city sleeps. Eric lives out in the green and prefers to work on lyrics in the morning and not even try to sing the ideas until the afternoon which he then records and sends to the band. With the song arrangement semi-established we then meet all together with instruments and microphones in our hands and try everything out in the band room nice and loud. Every place has a purpose and every time we get together the outcome is more music. But it seems to happen quite naturally.
Marie: Were you listening or watching anything in particular quite a bit during the recording and writing process?
Eric: Mainly we were taking an honest look around at who and where we are in this day and age and how that effects our fans, friends and family through the music. Reality is key and if you jump on a trend you are either in the middle or the end but never the beginning. There have been a few pod casts and live concerts we’ve attended together where we’ve discussed direction and influence although we enjoy the sound we make that comes from us and we like it when others do as well.
Marie: Do you think there is a perfect time and place to listen to the EP, does it lend itself to a particular listening experience?
Eric: Get your local Rock DJ to blast it in the club…..that’s my (Eric) favorite. If not, the car is good as well. Just make sure you fasten your seatbelt. It’s quite a ride!
Marie: If you could hope that your music inspires someone to do something, what would that be?
Eric: Enjoy life and enjoy rock. Be together and enjoy each other. Share your differences and be who you are! And don’t forget to keep your freak alive!
Marie: Tell me more about your musical influences? Are you hoping to achieve a certain sound or theme on your new release?
Eric: Yes, we were pushing for a wider modern sound that harkens back to bands like Aerosmith and Boston and their groundbreaking records. Beefing up the production with fat backing vocals and 2 guitars with a great tone. Holding back on the effects also gave it some punch.
Marie: Tell me more about you and your successes as an artist?
Eric: Artists and success rarely meet unless you define success as something sustainable that keeps the band moving forward. The “all or nothing approach” is a prison of two ideas. We prefer to let our music spread like the roots of a tree finding water where it can and we count every new branch as a success. For example last year we played small “hole in the wall” clubs and giant open-air stages and for us each one was a success because it brought us together to share the music.
The journey so far for king zebra has been filled with hard work and highlights to keep us going. We have been lucky enough to have had all the single thus far debut on national radio during their rock specials and our videos have made onto the TV as well.
Spotify has helped us find thousands of listeners around the globe and hopeful that trend will continue.
Marie: What are your hobbies/interests outside of music? Anything else I should know about you?
Eric: Well, we all have lots of interests besides music and that's what keeps the music interesting and we never feel being fed up with it. We do sports, have families, jobs. And that's also where new song ideas come up.
All photos in article by Sebastian Claus
King Zebra performing BAD REPUTATION for DiscovrTV Zurich Rooftop Session
King Zebra has supported major acts such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Uriah Heep, Dead Daisies and The New Roses throughout 2019. They were guests at the Rock The Ring Festival in Switzerland and the Rock Of Ages Festival in Germany. With releasing their EP - King Zebra – they managed to play to sell out audiences in hot clubs across Europe. The first album with singer Eric St. Michaels (ex-China) can be expected in autumn 2020. Music Magazines and Blogs have described their music as: "Straightforward, no-nonsense rock with power, feeling and excellent song material".
Eric St. Michaels – Vocals)
Roman Lauer – Lead Guitar
Jerry Napitupulu – Rhythm Guitar
Benjamin Grimm – Drums
Michael Mutter – Bass
Host: Giulia Milesi
Camera: Moritz Schmid | http://moele.ch/
Still Photography: Sebastian Clauss
Producer: Christoph Soltmannowski | Soltmannowski Kommunikation GmbH | http://www.solt.ch
SPONSORS AND PARTNERS OF DISCOVRTV ZURICH
MFO Denk & Werkstatt Zürich | https://www.mfo-denkwerkstatt.ch/
Création Mikula Zürich | http://www.creationmikula.ch
Songcircle | http://songcircle.net
Exclusive Production Partner:
Schweizerische Text Akademie | http://www.textakademie.ch