Have you ever had a conversation with someone you just met, but it was so nice it felt like you've known that person forever? That's exactly how my recent conversation with the fun and hilarious guys of Zoo Trippin' could be described. The band is comprised of Tony Casa (vocals), Lynn Roose III (lead guitar), Stephen Hatmaker (drums), Austin Smith (bass) and newer member Zachary Pontzer (guitar). Their high energy sound is a catchy mix of funk, rock, and blues, though it seems to always be evolving. I sat down with the guys to discuss their new album and the release party at Park Street Saloon on June 24th to accompany it.
Lyrically, the concept for Purple is the simple premise of opposing sides, red and blue, coming together in unity to form something beautiful. Tony explains how he was starting to pay attention to important issues during the writing of the album, like the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline for example, and recognizing his own "cis-gendered, white male privilege," as he describes it. "I wanted to find a blend of who I was and who I wanted to be."
Musically, the album is based off the idea of chromeo-synesthesia, which is the ability to hear a sound and visualize a color. In researching this phenomenon, Lynn tried to find something of a universal color wheel to play off of, but with no success. He did however find out about the controversial and over the top Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, who had an organ he invented that when played would display colors on a screen. Mr. Scriabin is also the creator of what's known as the Prometheus Chord. Played in augmented fourth intervals, the chord sounds completely horrendous (like some would describe the movie). This just happens to be the first thing you will hear on the new album. It's the start of the transition to something wonderful. It also represents purple of Lynn's personal color wheel.
Purple's stellar production is credited to Joey Gurwin, owner and lead engineer for Oranjudio Recording in Columbus, Ohio. He also happened to lay down a little percussion on the album. "His fingerprints are all over the album" exclaims Lynn. Steve describes Joey as "a great mind that helped make some of the songs more epic" with his insight and passion for music. "It was a collective effort working with him" according to Steve and they consider him an active member of the band.
The rest of my chat with the guys was a bit more casual. We discussed what we consider to be "the sound of Columbus," which include local greats like Cadaver Dogs and Damn the Witch Siren. They told me their dream venue to play is either Red Rock or somewhere in outer space. "Some kind of weird oxygen less place where we are what people hear right before they pass out."
Be sure to bring your dancing shoes, drink lots of water for when you’re sweating it out, and expect the unexpected at the album release party, which is at Park Street Saloon on June 24th. SPOILER ALERT: They will be covering a Gogo Bordello tune!