Interview: ZFG

Teen Art Out: Let’s start by asking you how you guys ended up together to form a band?

Trev: We all had our own separate projects going at the time we decided get together in the studio. Josh and I met through a mutual friend a few years back and hit it off immediately. We ended up becoming roommates. I knew of Josh and that he is a beast of a drummer. He knew of me and dug what I did. We always wanted to jam together. I knew that we met for a reason other than just being roommates. Our projects at the time weren’t showcasing what we do as musicians. So we planned a day in the studio to let loose which lead to Sam on bass. Sam and I have known each other our whole lives. Our dad’s were in a band together. It’s crazy it took 27 years to actually play together. First time was when I was MDing for Diamante on a short tour run a year back. I played guitar on Dia’s record so they asked me to bring some of my guys out. The universe spoke and told me to call Sam for the gig. Immediately, Sam and I had a music chemistry as well as being family. His groove is so deep. Sam and Josh together are one frightening rhythm section. So he was our go to for bass. Jules and I kept running into each other in the Hollywood Jam circuit. He was doing his solo thing. Very soul, R&B Pop. When we were looking for a singer to get in with us, he happened to post a video of him performing on stage. He’s one hell of a performer. He went to his high register which then morphed him into Steven Tyler, Myles Kennedy, and Axl Rose cocktail. I text him to see if he would be into the idea of doing a rock project for fun. He was all about it. We walked in the studio not knowing what would come of it. Just to make music with no rules or overthinking. Just to have fun. The phrase we said was “No commitment unless we have to commit.” So we called the session ZFG (Zero Fucks Given) We recorded Holehearted that day. The band chemistry was undeniable. The vibe and love in the room was undeniable. We knew at that point, this was bigger than us. We had too much fun creating that song and that was it. We dropped our projects and became ZFG. It stuck as the band name.   

T.A.O.: When coming up with your sound, how did you describe it to each other?

Trev: My pop called us heavy Earth, Wind and Fire. We laughed but it’s kind of right on. It’s a mix of funk, rock with a touch of sexy. You want to sing chorus’ and at the same time move to them, mosh to them. We bring a bunch of our separate influences into one. It’s exciting.   

Jules: This was something so new to me. Although I always listened to everything, I never thought I’d be in a rock band. When I heard the first few bars of the track that Trev sent me to write to, I immediately was impressed by the sound of it all and found it very easy to write to. I just brought my own thing to the table, which comes from the realms of RnB and Soul. We described to each other as ZERO FUCKS GIVEN. Obviously we’re rocking out, but the ingredients to the recipe are coming from different corners of the world. We’re unique.   

Sam: I wouldn’t say that we ever sat down and had a discussion about what sound we wanted for the band. Everyone just bring in our own style and influence to the music. Even though the end product is very rock sounding there is a lot of other influences that are a huge part of the sound. That’s part of what makes this band so fun, everyone can bring in and try whatever they’re feeling and it leads us to some pretty awesome outcomes creatively.

T.A.O.: What were your wishes for your first studio material and how has the result been similar or different than your expectations?

Josh: We just really wanted to bring the shell of the songs we had written to life and create something unique and something we all were proud of, I can safely say it definitely surpassed all our expectations. We all had a similar visions as to how we wanted every song to come to life and I feel it went above and beyond that mark. Its funny, you go into the sessions with certain favourite songs you create, and you come out afterwards with new favourites. Its a beautiful process.Trev: I feel at this point, going to the studio will always be greater than our expectations. We now sit with each other while we write with all acoustic instruments. Guitar, Bass and Josh has this crazy cajon on crack and we figure out harmonies, grooves and arrangements. When we get in the room and hear with our gear turned up and for real, it’s only mind blowing.
Sam: I’d say that we just wanted to come out of the studio with something we could be proud to show the world. We came out with exactly what we were after but I think the process of being in the studio turned out to be above our expectations. The process of writing and fleshing our the songs in the room together really just went to another level. I think there’s something to be said for not having an exact layout of the song and just seeing where you can go creatively in the moment.  

T.A.O.: You all bring different experience, with other bands and tours. How is it going from that to starting a new band?

Josh: For me I had always been the ‘hired gun’, as a session player. So it was so nice to be able to really give a part of me to these songs and create something with my brothers that is authentic and real. These songs and this sound is who we are, theres no smoke and mirrors or pretty production coverups. Its raw, what you see and hear is what you get.  

Jules: I was doing the solo artist thing for a few years in LA. It was awesome because it taught me how to take care of my business, how to deal with musicians and producers and such. The great thing about being in a band when it works is that you’re not the only captain of your ship, and you’re happy about it. It’s inspiring because you know you won’t be alone facing challenges and successes along the way. Happiness is meant to be shared at the end of the day. This is our happy place.   
Sam: I look at it like a new adventure. Every project is different and some allow you to express different things. Any time you can create something new with people you connect with is always an incredible experience.

T.A.O.: A recent study I encountered read that “becoming a successful artist is more about who you know than how creative or original your art is”. Would you agree with that?

Josh: It can be sometimes a case of who you know, but thats not the ‘end all, be all’. If you’re a carbon copy of the artist to your left and right, your music will be here today, gone tomorrow. I know between us, we all know a lot of people in this industry from all levels, yet its not about trying to win them over just because we ‘know’ them, its creating something that is unique and special to us, and connecting with the REAL people in charge of this industry.. The FANS! The rest falls into place.

Trev: From experience, its not ALL about who you know. You really have to make a name for yourself and be humble. People only want to work with people they love hanging with. There will always be someone “technically” better than you but it’s not about that. Be yourself, be respectful and bring your own vibe to the music. People will catch on.   

Jules: To make it simple. If you suck at what you do, everyone you know will know, and you won’t get anywhere with it. It’s best to be great at your craft, and surround yourself with great people.   

T.A.O.: You are preparing for quite the extensive tour. What can we expect from ZFG on stage?

Trev: A lot of fun energy! We want to provide an escape for the person watching us. Make them forget about the stress at work or at home. Get lost in the moment with us like we do with them.  

Jules: Backing Trev on this one! ENERGY and CONNECTION!!!   

T.A.O.: When starting a new band, the hope is that it will last for many years. However, if someone were to take a normal job, the prospect of signing up for something for 5-7-10 years or even more could be quite daunting. How do you see that part of it?

Jules: There is nothing normal about this “job” haha. It’s a relationship, it’s a pact, it’s a vision. It’s not daunting, it calls for epic years ahead of us.   

Sam: I don’t really see it as something daunting. Everything is just so natural and free flowing with this band. We always have a great time no matter if we’re writing, rehearsing or hanging out. It never feels like work or a commitment with these guys.  

T.A.O.: A musician friend of mine just said that “the myth of the rock star is almost like that of the Greek Gods”. How do you feel about this myth, and what is actually happening?

Josh: What goes on tour, stays on tour.Trev: myth of the rockstar? Haha The truth is it’s not 1985 anymore. For the most part everyone has toned down the crazy. We are all human beings with our own unique talent to bring to this life and this world. We are all rockstars. I want to eliminate the pedestal. 
Jules: I guess we will see how it plays out. It’s not dead, superstars are still walking our earth, and the concept of it is evolving with our society.   

Sam: I guess I can see the comparison. Every once in awhile you get someone who explodes onto the scene and then kind of burns out from the pressure. In a way it’s kind of like Icarus. The myth of the rock star is something so built up in peoples mind. Then there’s also the side of it where someone starts to think of themselves in that way when they find some success.   

T.A.O.: Do you feel that you have a social or political responsibility through your art, messages, and examples set in the public eye? Or can you exist outside of that?

Josh: Yeah, its a strange time we live in, especially with social media, everybody has a voice, yet very few people are tolerant of other peoples opinions. If it goes against the current popular flow of thought then its deemed negative. I prefer to stay away from saying or leaning to any one side, ESPECIALLY politics, religion etc. That just causes separation and divide, which is sad and serious steps in the wrong direction. I just want to create music for people to escape from all the every day bullshit, no matter where they stand in life.

Jules: No politics or religion in our music. It’s all about sex 😉   

T.A.O.: Last but not least, dream big! What are the highest hopes, the dreams, the big things you would set on a vision board?

Josh: I see us playing at Wembley Stadium, I can genuinely see it clear as day right now… I can’t wait.

Trev: We gotta play the Forum here in LA. It’s a dream I know we can accomplish.  

Jules: Greek god myth, all the way 🙌🏼   

Sam: My dream would be to keep making more music and do more shows with these guys. This is just the beginning.  

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