An Interview With The LA-Based Rock Group, ZERO THEOREM!
Posted On 09 May 2018
Blending alternative hard rock with the rhythmic and uncompromising intensity of metal, Los Angeles-based Zero Theorem has drawn early comparisons to Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch, and Tool. Since late 2017 their single “Area” has steadily climbed the Active Rock radio charts and has jumped into the Top 35. The song can be heard on key hard rock playlists including Spotify’s Rock Hard playlist, Apple Music’s Breaking Hard Rock playlist, and Google Play Music’s Hard Rock Hotlist Radio channel, among others. With the release of their EP “Ataraxis” on May 4th via Tunecore on Shim Sham, LLC, the band is ready to take the next step to national recognition.
Zero Theorem initially developed as a cross-country collaboration between cousins Caesar (based in Chicago) and Joe Scarlotti (Los Angeles), who began writing songs by sending digital files to one another. As their creative partnership developed, Caesar relocated to LA to further his musical ambitions. They recorded the initial ZT demos in 2017. Then, through word of mouth and networking in the Los Angeles music scene, the band came together with guitarist Max Georgiev, bassist Eloy Palacios, and drummer Jake Hayden.
The demos were honed into finished songs with producer Kane Churko (Papa Roach, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment) at The Hideout Recording Studios in Las Vegas, NV. Caesar says “Kane is immeasurably talented and has made us better songwriters by helping to emphasize our strengths and explore new territory.”
The band has gained notoriety as a live act by performing with Doyle, Hed PE, Art of Dying, and Motograter, among others.
Zero Theorem’s sound, says Caesar “is groove metal with big melodies and some progressive material mixed in. Heavy music itself is a lifestyle choice, and we strive to embody that with both substance and wit.”
Learn more about Zero Theorem in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Besides this interview, what else do you guys have on tap for today?
No problem! Today we’re working on live production in preparation for touring. We’re also making progress with some future videos and a new song.
How has being from your transplanted hometown of Los Angeles influenced this band and the kind of music that you make today? With so many acts here in LA, how do you set yourself apart from all of them and stand out?
Thankfully, there is a vibrant heavy-music scene in LA and throughout Southern California. With all the talented artists in and around LA, there is never a shortage of music or inspiration nearby, which is definitely motivating. For us, setting the band apart is about being true to ourselves while continuing to grow and explore new territory. One of the advantages to being an alternative metal act is that we can push boundaries and mix sounds in ways that may otherwise not be heard. We’re also devising ways to incorporate visuals into our performances to give the audience a more immersive and multisensory experience.
How did you all meet and form this band? Can you remember the first moment where you thought you could be in this band together and make music?
I (Caesar) had been writing songs with my cousin Joe Scarlotti before moving from Chicago to LA. The two of us recruited the rest of the band through friends and networking in the local scene. The additions of Max, Eloy, and Jake were very natural due to their level of talent and professionalism. It was obvious within the first practice that everyone enjoyed playing together.
Was it difficult coming up with your band name? What were some of the other names you considered?
It can be difficult to find something that best captures the spirit of the music and band as a whole, while also being sufficiently original or different from the plethora of acts already in existence. We are fans of Terry Gilliam and were aware of his film The Zero Theorem, but it was the idea of the name, or at least our interpretation of it, that attracted us. In mathematics, the “zero theorem” allows for the solution of nonlinear equations by first solving for zero. The necessity of zero is a loaded concept with a number of philosophical or mind-bending implications, but our use of the name is more about the struggle of life itself, the experience here and now. It represents the search for meaning in the face of great difficulty or hardship, if not the void of existence. We all have ways of finding purpose in our lives, and certainly music (among other forms of art) can be a cornerstone for some. Heavy music in particular offers a space for catharsis and camaraderie, which we’ve always found incredibly useful and empowering. Zero Theorem is an outgrowth of an earlier band called Shim Sham. Few people understood the reference of that name or how it reflected the art, so we wanted something more fitting for what we’re hoping to achieve.
Let’s talk about your debut EP, “Ataraxis” that you just released: What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? Were there any unexpected challenges in the recording studio? How long did it take overall?
It was truly gratifying converting some of our earlier work and demos into what we feel is a solid EP. Some of the changes and final results were surprising, but that’s also inherent to our process. One challenge was the need to make critical decisions in a short amount of time. We’ve learned not to become too attached to any one part or idea. Once everyone agrees on something and a consensus has been established, it’s best not to look back. We were in and out of the studio for several days at a time, working on a track here and there. The entire production took about a month.
What was it like working with your producer Kane Churko, who has worked with so many other talented bands over the years? How exactly did he make you all better songwriters?
Working with Kane is immensely fun and educational. Lyrically, he is exceptionally good at clarifying and expanding our initial ideas. We’ve become better at utilizing imagery and conveying a more cohesive message. Sonically, Kane has given us a greater understanding of melody and how to construct a successful mix, especially when layering a composition or experimenting with different sounds.
What was it like hearing “Ataraxis” for the first time the whole way through? Do you remember what you all felt?
It definitely felt great to have the material fully produced and come to life. We have an abundance of ideas for songs, and we’ve reached a point as a team that makes us even more excited to perform and keep making music.
I know it’s difficult to pick but can you pick out a few of your favorite songs from this new collection and talk about how they were written? How do you all generally go about writing your music?
Songs like “Area” and “Becoming” give the listener a good sense of the kind of sound we wanted, but songs like “Low” and “Rorschach” are perhaps more indicative of our collective headspace at the moment. Those songs are heavier and darker while still being super-emotive and melodic. “Ataraxis” is uniquely special to us given its lyrical content, pace, time signatures, and instrumentation. Typically, a song will start as a draft created by myself and my writing partner Joe. Then, it will be brought into the studio where Kane can give his input and work his magic. Throughout the process, each band member is consulted, particularly for their expertise, whether it’s Max on guitar, Eloy on bass, or Jake on drums.
What are your tour plans like this summer? Where can people see you perform live next?
We’re actually negotiating a tour as we speak. The hope is to begin in the Southwest of the US and expand from there. Fans can follow us online for the dates when they’re announced http://www.zerotheoremband.com .
Where do you think you are all happiest: In the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Musically, it’s all about the creative process and sharing the results. Performing on stage to an audience that is supportive and engaged adds a dimension to the experience that really can’t be compared to anything else, but writing material and being in the studio together brings us an equal amount of joy. We feel incredibly fortunate to be following our creative vision and making music with good friends.
How do you think being a musician and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today? With everything going on in the world today, how do you think your music is a reflection of these times?
Not everyone gets to do something they are passionate about on a daily basis. At the moment, we are extremely fortunate in that regard, but we’re also working tirelessly to achieve our goals and solidify a foothold within the music industry. Since the inception of the project, we’ve wanted to reflect the chaotic nature of the times. The music both laments and celebrates the disintegration of traditional cultural forms, reveling in the destruction of outdated modes while attempting to construct a new semblance of meaning. Technology is playing an important role in this, and that’s a topic of great interest to us, but another concern is the prevalence of power politics and a regression into tribalism. These themes combine with my sardonic sense of humor and confrontational outlook when writing lyrics. In talking with the average listener, people seem to resonate with the imagery and messages of the songs, even while finding different meanings or conclusions.
Who are you all listening to these days? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
The new A Perfect Circle album just came out, and we’ve been enjoying that. Newer bands like Ded, Bad Wolves, and Twelve Foot Ninja have become inspirations, but we’re constantly drawing from a wide range of influences. Artists such as Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, and Pantera will always be a part of ZT’s DNA. Some other classic groups we admire include Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. A dream collaborator for us would be Trent Reznor – since we’re huge fans of virtually everything he has done, including his film scores.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
Mainly, a big Thank You to all our early supporters. We’re hoping fans of hard rock, metal, and heavy music in general will appreciate what we’ve started and join us as we continue to evolve as a band. We have big plans and aspirations for the project, and the journey is just beginning!
Connect with Zero Theorem:
Official Website: http://www.zerotheoremband.com
Amazon Music: https://www.amazon.com/Area-Zero-Theorem/dp/B06ZZ58646
Google Play Music: http://bit.ly/2GU5xTl