On May 24th, Victoria-based band Zerbin will be heading to Red Deer to play Bo’s Bar & Grill.
The guys (Jason Zerbin and Peter Mol) released their highly-anticipated CD Darling on April 14th and they’re following it up with a cross-Canada tour. Their new record was produced by the band and mixed by Dave Pensado (Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Elton John) and Tom Dobrzanski. Duran Ritz was also part of the band through the process, but chose to leave post-release.
From the start, the disc shines with all kinds of terrific sounds – from the instantly-engaging disc opener Real Time which flows seamlessly right into the rhythmic, punchier sensibilities of tunes like C’est La Vie and Shoulder. Other highlights include Worlds on Fire, the comparatively plaintive and very stripped-down feel of the title track and the bubbly tones of Kids in the Forest.
“To me, it’s our true debut,” explains Zerbin, adding that he and Mol have been collaborating for about four years. “It started as a solo project of mine and Peter joined as a drummer. As things started to progress, we also started to write together, too. So it started then to form into what Zerbin is today with us collaborating and Peter moving to guitar and us co-writing all of the stuff.”
The guys had also released an EP called Touch back in 2013.
Touch secured them a number of EMAs and the single New Earth garnered a spot on alt-rock charts, moving on to be chosen for a variety of international film and TV spots – they have spent the past two years sharing stages with the likes of Bruno Mars and Arcade Fire.
Looking back, Zerbin recalls his interest in music in general as one that was sparked early on. He grew up in a musical family, and he took guitar lessons through his younger years as well. And although much of his exposure to music was a bit limited in those years – it was mainly church and worship music – that interest in further exploration didn’t waver.
But it did at times take a back seat to sports. Zerbin said he didn’t really get rolling with the music side of things till later in high school and in his early college years.
“I always feel a bit like a late bloomer into the whole thing, but I love it now. It’s what I was made to do,” he said. “It wasn’t until later that I started to develop my own taste and tap into some broader influences.” Getting used to playing in front of people wasn’t much of an obstacle, thanks to his days of playing in church services.
“It gets you comfortable with playing in front of crowds – and many times these are larger crowds than many bands ever play for,” he explained. “For us as a band, and me personally, the larger the audience the more comfortable we are. But performing came out of songwriting, and a desire to share the music that we were creating and the joy that comes from people experiencing that.”
Meanwhile, the guys’ dedication has certainly paid off. Zerbin received two 2012 Edmonton Music Awards: Music Video of the Year and Single of the Year, for New Earth. In July of 2014, New Earth was also voted #51 out of the Top 102 Canadian Songs by listeners of Edmonton’s modern rock radio station SONiC 102.9.
And to top it off, Zerbin was selected as Band of the Month for July of last year by the Victoria modern rock radio station The Zone @ 91-3 as well as by Edmonton’s SONIC 102.9 this past March.
“We’ve learned over the years to work well together,” he said of merging the differing creative visions as the recording process unfolds. “Sometimes we hate each other’s ideas – there can be tension and conflict in the midst of the writing process, but you grow up and learn to respect and you learn that what others bring to the table can make your ideas better,” he said.
“I tend to bring a bulk of stuff to the music, and Peter tends to bring more flavour – these tweaks and licks and colour.
“Our style of lyrics diverges quite dramatically. Because I sing it, it’s got to be something that makes sense to me and works, so there tends to be tweaking until it works.
“For me, the majority of the time, the lyrics come second to the melodies,” he said. “It’s almost like a paleontologist chipping away until you find the actual fossil – it’s how it kind of feels with songwriting. You chip away – for me, I throw a lot down and then chip away to find the actual song in all of it.”
Meanwhile, even though Darling is essentially brand new, the guys are already looking ahead.
“We’ve done this record, and already we’re talking about the next EP – dropping it as soon as we can.” The plan, in fact, is to head into the studio this summer and work on a fresh new slate of tunes. “We don’t want it to be another couple of years between things – maybe more like a space of six months.”