Zoogma's Ryan Nall Explains What the F*ck His Band is About
This weekend, the band returns to one of its favorite places to perform. Prior to tonight's performance at Culture Room, Zoogma's Ryan Nall (bass/synthesizer) took some time with County Grind mid-run to discuss what the fuck Zoogma actually is, and the future of live electronica.
County Grind: Zoogma offered your music for free in the past, and plan to do the same in the future. How important has that approach been in explaining your success from a touring perspective?
Ryan Nall: We like the idea of giving our music away for free, and we believe that has helped expose our music to a lot of people. We believe in our live show, in the distinctive experience that is a Zoogma performance, so much so that we feel like if we give away our record people will be driven to see the music executed live. We take the material in a lot of different directions live, freeing it up and improvising, so you get a similar experience to the album, plus a lot more.
Anyone that went to a Florida music festival in the last year is familiar with your slogan, "What the fuck is Zoogma?" How did that phrase come about and is it safe to ask about the enigma?
We started the campaign at Bear Creek 2010 as a way to raise awareness about our band and festival slot. The viral success of it has been amazing and more successful than we could have imagined. Now we feel as though you only ask if you already know, a kind of battle cry of our fans and mantra of the band. Plus it's always fun to say it at a festival and see what response you get.
Do you see direct correlations between grassroots marketing and word of mouth tactics in regard to the traction Zoogma has gained since the first studio release?
The fact that last year we started asking people at Bear Creek "What the fuck is Zoogma?" and now people all over the country use that slogan as a battle cry at shows make me think that we're onto something.
You are hopping around the state on a four night run, including a date at the Culture Room. What have your experiences been like playing to the Florida crowds?
Florida has been very good to us, the fans we have here are some of our most diehard. Also, as a state in general, the crowds are very grateful and appreciative and always ready to give us the energy we need to create the best versions of our music. The festivals we play here, Bear Creek, Aura, Blackwater, Purple Hatters Ball, and Big & Hearty are usually some of our rowdier festival sets. The connection between the crowd and our band is profound. We're very grateful and proud to be a part of the music tradition here.
Where do you see the future of the live electronica moving in a world dominated by producers, and more importantly, where does Zoogma fit in?
It's tough to say, I believe a lot of the music community have been surprised by the success and influx of DJs and producers across the scene. We see it as a good thing that so much electronic music is being produced and that the genre itself is gaining popularity. We also look toward the future and see that our live instrumentation and abilities as producers is what sets us a part and makes our show a more dynamic electronica experience. Because we can replicate the sound and aesthetic of a DJ as a group of live musicians we feel we offer fans of electronic music a very unique and powerful thing, something they don't get with most DJ and producers.
Have you ever considered attempting to devolve the mash-up technique back to the instruments and execute that approach to electronic music with a full band?
Interesting, kind of a live band Girl Talk concept? It would certainly be interesting to tackle a project like that as a group. We like reinterpreting other artists, and kind of adding our own Zoogma edge to their music. We currently have been playing around with a similar concept. A DJ or producer takes recorded music and remixes it and we've been taking DJ's and producer's music and rearranging it for a live band. We've experimented [with] a Sub-Focus track most recently and have had a lot of fun realizing there music as a live band. In most cases this has never been done before because their music was composed by one person using a digital audio workstation.
Zoogma. With Sounduo and Beat Thief Inc. 9 p.m. Friday, October 28 at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $10. Click here.