Ahead of their UK headline tour this winter, pop-punk heroes Zebrahead are set to release their twelfth full-length studio album, Walk The Plank, through Rude Records on October 16th. Tomatrax caught up with Ben Ozz, the band’s bassist, to ask a few questions.
You’ve been putting out music for close to two decades, what’s the secret to the band’s longevity?
I honestly think it all comes down to fun. If you makes things fun people tend to want to do them. We try our best to not take ourselves to seriously and have fun in everything we do. It involves a lot of beer also.
You’re about to release album number twelve, is it hard to keep coming up with new material?
This time was actually a little easier than normal. We set out to make the heavy songs heavier than ever and mellow songs the mellowest we have ever done. We figured lets do the extremes and see what happens. To be honest I am pretty happy…..just hope everyone else is? Ha. Walk the Plank is us putting ourselves out there more than we ever have.
What was the inspiration behind the animated video with words for ‘Save your breath’?
We wanted to stick to the “Walk The Plank” theme. And it was actually one of the ideas that didn’t get used for the album cover. It was an early idea. It seems to tell more of a story when you look at it. I was impressed with the way it turned out.
You’re about to tour round the world, what can fans expect from your shows?
Simply….FUN…come out wanting to have a good time, laugh, smile, whatever….we like a little of everything to be going down so who knows what will happen. But it is a good place to just forget about all the things life is throwing at you and just have a good time.
Is there any city you’re looking forward to playing at the most?
I really enjoy Japan a lot. Tokyo would be one of my favorites in the world. But I am missing Australia. Last time we were there was for Soundwave and your so busy you don’t get to do much. So I want to make the next tour of Australia end with a little vacation extra stay. Us Americans are always suckers for an Australian vacation.
Is there anywhere you’ve wanted to play at but are yet to do so?
High on my list was Budapest and we are going this November! Super happy about that one. Also, I have always wanted to play in South America and we just haven’t made it there yet. Who knows….maybe soon??
You recently put out the split EP Out Of Control with Man With A Mission, how did that collaboration come about?
We have some mutual friends and just ended up hanging out a couple times. They came over to do some recording and had a few days off so we invited them over to our warehouse/recording studio. To be honest it was all an accident. They ended up liking the place and came back another day to work on a song idea….and without effort ….really it happened in the one day.
Earlier this year you put out your album the Early years – revisited, what made you decide to put out an album of re-recordings of your earlier material?
We had always avoided doing it. But over the years lots of people have wanted to hear Matty sing all the older songs. So when our label in Japan wanted to put out a Greatest Hits album, we told them it was cool, as long as we can make it a little special and re record the older songs. Otherwise it would just be recycled older songs……I have to admit getting the tones and weird noises like the past was the hardest thing we have ever done. Seriously 10 times harder than recording a normal album. Even if you don’t like something…you have to try and match it exact….which is difficult.
Where did the name Zebrahead come from?
We had a show happening the next day where we were going to play just one song, kinda as a joke. There was no band name. ali had watched the movie “Zebrahead” the night earlier….hence we just named ourselves that. So not the best well thought out decision….but then we thought we would only play the one show and that would be it. Who knew I would have the luck to still be doing this all these years later?
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Once the album is done your kinda done listening to the songs. By the time you put the finishing touches on a song you have heard it so much it is insane. We once toured with a band that worked out to their own music. I found this to be highly entertaining and amusing at the same time.
What music do you listen to?
I tend to stick to punk bands. Lagwagon would be one of my personal favorites. I like the energy and can’t really get into anything that doesn’t have some guitars.
What do you plan on doing after your tour?
Not really sure. I am one of those guys who kinda takes it day by day. Maybe I should try to plan my life out a little better? Always looking for an excuse for a Hawaii or Australia vacation? Who is in??? I will get the first round of Mai Tais.
Zebrahead’s tour dates are below. Check out Zebrahead’s website to find out more!
· 22 Oct 2015 – Essigfabrik – Cologne, Germany
· 23 Oct 2015 – Markthalle – Hamburg, Germany
· 24 Oct 2015 – Beatpol – Dresden, Germany
· 25 Oct 2015 – C-Club – Berlin, Germany
· 27 Oct 2015 – Musikzentrum – Hannover, Germany
· 28 Oct 2015 – Lagerhaus – Bremen, Germany
· 29 Oct 2015 – Matrix – Bochum, Germany
· 30 Oct 2015 – Cafe Cenntral – Weinheim, Germany
· 31 Oct 2015 – Dynamo – Eindhoven, Netherlands
· 02 Nov 2015 – Spectrum – Augsburg, Germany
· 03 Nov 2015 – Universum – Stuttgart, Germany
· 04 Nov 2015 – Backstage – Munich, Germany
· 05 Nov 2015 – Kesselhaus – Wiesbaden, Germany
· 06 Nov 2015 – Rosenhof – Osnabruck, Germany
· 08 Nov 2015 – Helling – Utrecht, Holland
· 09 Nov 2015 – Kofmehl – Solothurn, Switzerland
· 10 Nov 2015 – Rockhouse – Salzburg, Austria
· 11 Nov 2015 – Durer Kert – Budapest, Hungary
· 12 Nov 2015 – Arena – Vienna, Austria
· 20 Nov 2015 – Fleche D’Or – Paris, France