Space is the place
Just as our ancestors looked to space for the answers to their terrestrial dilemmas, some of the great musicians of our times have looked to space for inspiration. From David Bowie to Sun Ra to Kool Keith, it seems a musician’s obsession with space accompanies a desire for innovation.
Sometimes the space-thing can be disingenuous and kitschy, but when it’s done with honesty, it works. Because, let’s face it, nothing kicks more ass than Bowie’s “Space Oddity” or the Corvette that descends from space at the beginning of Heavy Metal.
So, when the members of Bazooka Zoo—Zac Haley, J.D. Christison, Evan Tune and Scott Turek—say, over slabs of greasy pizza, that they play “space rock,” one doesn’t question their intentions, because, though their music comes from outer space, these dudes are definitely down to Earth.
Like many musicians who came of age post-millennium, you can hear a wide variety of influences in their music. At once, there are hints of hard rock, psychedelic rock and funk, but deep down you can hear a desire to create something distinctly singular.
“It’s all about making something you’ve never heard before, that’s the whole object,” says Haley.
And, like most rock bands who try to break free of the conventional guitar, bass and drums prison, their use of electronics allows them to keep their sound fluid and malleable.
“We respect the capability in this day in age of what you can do with electronics,” says Turek. “There are endless possibilities of where we can go with our sound.”
And, that’s precisely what allows Bazooka Zoo to keep their sound fresh and new. Their sound is definitely hard-hitting, but at times it can plunge into the trippy, ambient realms of the best variety of stoner rock.
For instance, their instrumental song “Color Theory” incorporates many elements of electronic music of the past 20 years, and sounds like what dubstep would sound like if it weren’t so aurally encroaching and obnoxious.
Songs like “Enjoy the Scene,” on the other hand, fall into the territory of trip-hop, easy listening, fusion, jazz and flamenco, but somehow it all comes together and works in the end.
But, though theirs is a progressive rock sound, and they occasionally mention spaceships and extra-terrestrials, their lyrics keep Bazooka Zoo’s message grounded in the here and now and reality.
“A lot of the lyrics are anthropologically based,” says Turek.
“But some of our stuff is almost political,” says Christison. “‘Wicked Ways’ is not in league with our other stuff taking about nature, but it’s a direct representation of what’s going on in the world.”
“We try not to take a personal approach with our lyrics,” says Tune. “We try to include the world.”
However, when you break it all down, what you hear in their music is frustration. Not that cheap frustration that people get just for the sake of being frustrated, but a frustration with the contemporary state of music. Rather than complain about it, they have gone out and made a unique blend of music to counter it.
There’s also a sense that they’re waiting for something cataclysmic to occur. They talk about the end of times and spaceships coming out of the skies. It seems, like many young people, they are also frustrated with the state of the world.
They are tired of seeing what a horrible state past generations have left the world. They are tired of the noise and obfuscation. And, so if nothing more their music is vessel into space, not only for them but for their listeners. To get off this crowded rock for a minute. And, like all good music they offer a personal journey into space, so you are guaranteed to go where no man has gone before.