Zammuto: a Q & A Preview
by Christopher Stoppiello (English), published April 3rd 2012
In the eternal wisdom of Del Paxton, “Ain’t no way to keep a band together. Bands come and go. You got to keep on playin’, no matter with who….” Yes, I just quoted That Thing You Do. Nick Zammuto’s sound-collage collaboration, The Books, broke up last year. He considered quitting music all together but friends and family convinced him to get back in to it right away. We’re all glad he did and his new band, Zammuto, released its debut, self-titled album today. Zammuto (the man) was kind enough to sit down with us before the band’s third show ever, at Brighton Music Hall, back in February. The full interview will be available in the next issue of Tastemakers but here is just a little erh… taste of what he had to say.
Tastemakers Magazine (TMM): Last summer you began this project by releasing song demos on Tumblr for 24 hours at a time. Why did you choose that method?
Nick Zammuto (NZ): It was a way to stay connected to people. I really like transparency in the artistic process. I don’t want people to view it as this magical thing, because really it’s just a lot of work. I kind of wanted people to see the pacing of how a record is made or, at least, get a sense for how I work and test the waters for people’s interest for this slightly new approach – or in some cases [this] radical new approach. It was a way to test the waters and a way to kind of get people thinking in new directions in terms of their expectations around what my output was going to be like. It’s worked really well. And as you would expect, the more direct your relationship is the more people will listen.
TMM: And why did you take them down after a day?
NZ: I wanted to leak them into the world and then step away from it and no longer be the source of it. Everybody was clear that when I released [the songs] these are for sharing. Like ‘Please, send them to your friends,’ but I didn’t want to be the guy giving them out all the time saying, ‘Hey listen to my music.’ I want other people, if they like it enough, [to] share it. So instead of me having to force it into the world, it would go by itself if I [only] released it for 24 hours. Rather than being thought of as the source of it I would just kind of light the match and see if anything caught on fire. And I can’t thank people enough for spreading the word. It’s been extremely effective.
TMM: So it’s sort of like you created a new disease?
NZ: Well, I don’t know. You can think of music as some kind of disease I suppose, like an earworm.
TMM: What previous misconceptions would you warn Books fans not to carry over for Zammuto?
NZ: [laughs] I don’t know expectations lead to disappointment as they say. We were worried about it. We were like, ‘oh man we’re going to play in front of a Books crowd essentially at first and they might all walk out.’ They could easily say this stuff isn’t for me, but so far it’s been the opposite. Every body comes up to me after the show and says this is a step forward. I’ve been waiting for this in a way. It feels really good. But you know, given the fact that there are live drums and I’m playing electric guitar, I wouldn’t say it sounds like rock and roll because it’s usually not in 4/4 and it doesn’t have rock attitude, but it’s definitely the same type of instrument. It’s a show that you can stand up [for]. We want to play in front of standing audiences because right off the bat that changes the expectations of the show. We’re not exactly aiming for the lower chakras but it’s nice to be able to go there once in a while.
TMM: So the new album is out April 3rd on Temporary Residence.
NZ: Yes, in all formats: CD, Vinyl, downloads and for free. I don’t particularly care if people share things but sort of where I draw the line is if you listen to it more than a dozen times, you should probably buy the record.
The new album is available today at zammutosound.com. It looks like there are still limited edition vinyls available that will come in hand screen-printed sleeves done in his home screen-printing studio. Yes, Nick Zammuto has a screen-printing studio in the home that he built himself; he is more interesting than you are.
Catch Zammuto on their upcoming tour with Explosions in the Sky, beginning Thursday April 5, 2012. And if you want to learn more about Nick Zammuto’s new band check out the full interview in the upcoming Tastemakers Issue 28.