Interview: Jack Poulson (The Zanes)

The Zanes are a band of Melbourne men about to release their debut EP and celebrate with a November 17 launch gig at The Toff where they will be supported by Brightly and Ali Barter.
In the lead up to the release I had Jack answer some questions to help us get to know the band a little better.

How did you meet and form the band?

Paul and I went to school together and have played in bands before. We started off attempting to write comedy songs when we were about 13. They weren’t that funny. Stefan played in a band we gigged with a little in our old group. Small Paul is an old family friend who has always played in really impressive bands, so it was great to get him involved.

Where did the name come from?

Zane is actually my Grandma’s name. We were struggling to name the band, even when we were recording our EP, and one of the others thought Zane sounded really cool when they met her. Grandma’s pretty chuffed. I think she thinks this means she’s part of the band. We’ll see.

Is there a process you have for song writing?

Not particularly. You just write when you’re feeling creative. Songs seem to come in twos for me, so I know if I write one tonight, chances are I’ll write a stronger one tomorrow. The first one often gets forgotten pretty quickly.

Can you tell us a little about your debut EP ‘The Night We Fell’?

Sure. We recorded it at Sing Sing South with Ben McCarthy. He was fantastic in producing this release with us. It was great to work with such a pro. And you should see him play the tambourine…it’s mesmerising. Some songs had been around longer than others (‘Sister’ was pretty fresh going into the studio whereas ‘Not a Lot to Like’ is two years old) but they were all along the same lines. The name itself comes from a lyric of the fourth track, No Stranger. We think the bridge in that song is probably the highlight of the whole EP, and I guess this lyric is a neat way of summing up the record’s meaning – falling into an emotion, falling out of it and falling with other people.

The launch is at The Toff in Town on November 17, who chose the venue and what made it the best choice?

We’ve always wanted to play at the Toff. Some of us have in previous bands. It’s such a great venue. We’ve all seen really great gigs there in the past (Fearless Vampire Killers, Yeo, Glenn Richards, Vaudeville Smash…). The sound there is fantastic and the vibe of the room is always awesome. We were completely chuffed when their booker said they’d have us along. And on a Saturday night, too. And there’s a drag show on stage after our set?!?! It’s like they’ve been waiting for us forever. Very excited!

the zanes

Who has had the most influence on your music to date?

While we mightn’t sound terribly like these artists, I’d probably have to say The Whitlams, Elliott Smith and Counting Crows have influenced my songwriting the most. Tim Freedman from The Whitlams has certainly influenced my delivery and sound more than any other artist. Also the wit, charm and irreverence so obvious in his songs are traits I love. In their peak, the Counting Crows simply wrote pop/rock songs better than anyone else, and Elliott Smith’s emotion is what made him the greatest singer-songwriter of his generation. I’d hope a little of all these elements are present in our songs, although we don’t think we copy their sounds or production values all that much.

What is your favourite album of the moment?

I’ve been listening to Ben Folds Five’s new album on repeat recently. Was never a fan until a few weeks ago.Some really sweet songs on there and some really stupid ones, too. Good stuff.

Are there plans to tour further from home after the launch?

Definitely. We’re really looking forward to driving around the state with some other bands to promote the EP and test some new songs. We’re looking to get up to Sydney as soon as we can, as well.

What do you like to do to relax in your downtime?

We all like different things. Big Paul likes reading novels and writing about the timber industry. Small Paul has about a million friends he’s always off on the train to go and see, and Stefan embarks on many wild and dangerous adventures. He likes road-tripping, or at least talking about road-tripping. Recently he hurt his bum real bad. When I have a day at home, I generally end up watching ABC 24 for more hours than any human ever should, then I might record a shocking dance track, then I’ll probably read about football for more hours than any human ever should. But, really, we’re all happiest when we’re out with friends. That’s what I was meant to say, right?

What’s next for The Zanes?

We’ll be pushing this EP pretty hard for the next little while. A summer of gigs, beer and sun is what we’re really looking forward to. This winter has sucked. Hopefully some gigs interstate follow. Then we’re pretty pumped to get back in the studio – we’ve written some killer new songs and really want to give them the attention these other tracks received. That’s exciting. Our launch at the Toff is November 17 and we’re supported by Brightly and Alie Barter. Definitely worth coming down!

Thanks for chatting with us Jack and good luck with the launch on the 17th.


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