Fresh off of listening to Zak Waters‘ music on SoundCloud, Zak was kind enough to take some time out for an interview with us. Check out what he had to say about his upbringing, his day job, and his plans for his album release.
Radio Morillo: Where are you from?
Zak Waters: I’m a born and raised LA boy…the Valley to be specific – don’t judge me – I lived in Toronto for a couple years. From about 13-15. My mom and step dad just decided to move there so off we went – 4 people and our German Shepard Montana all stuffed into a 1993 Ford Bronco (yes, the OJ model) and drove 3,000 miles to go live in my step- grandmas basement. I wasn’t a fan. We came back to LA my sophomore year of high school and when the plane landed at LAX, I literally kissed the ground. I decided then that this is absolutely the best place on earth. Traffic and all.
RM: How long have you been involved in the industry?
ZW: I guess I’ve been in the in the industry since about 06′. Right after I graduated high school I started interning at Pulse recording over in Silverlake. I was going to community college and doing that four days a week. I met some cool people – I got to vacuum the floors while Butch Walker was doing pre-production with The Academy Is, which at the time was the coolest thing to me. After a whole lot of hustling and playing live shows Universal finally took some interest in us and signed us in 2008. Ever since then I’ve just been writing, recording…and working the odd telemarketing job here and there.
RM: I know you previously had a record deal when you were in Blueskyreality. What happened to the group and what make you go your separate way?
ZW: Well it was kind of like 100 things all happened at once. We had been having trouble with our label [and] we never really got the support from them that we had expected. We had been writing for about 2 years and weren’t really seeing eye-to-eye on what was a “hit”. Then in December of 09′ our bass player got into a really bad accident [that] put him in the hospital for about 9 months. Then our manager quit, and we parted ways with one of our guitar players…shit was a mess… It really just felt at the time like it would be going against the universe or something to try and piece things back together. So as this was all happening, I had started writing with Mr. Jarrad “JBAMN” Kritzstein. He was filling in for our bass player at the time, so we would just hang out after practice and write. It ended up being stuff that was much more true to me, I didn’t have the restrictions of a band any more. You know, just 2 guitars, bass, piano and drums. I could use dirty synth bass and electronic elements that I could never use with the band. My whole world had opened up, and I didn’t wanna go back.
RM: How long have you been working on this album? When can we expect to hear it?
ZW: I’ve been working on this album since [last] May. Hoping to be able to put it out sometime during the summertime.
RM: What’s your day job?
ZW: I’ve been day job-less since August. Blue Hamilton saved me from my catering job and signed me as a writer at Warner/Chappell. So for now no day job – thank God!! – I may or may not have had a hand in that whole real estate crash that happened a couple years back. I worked for one of those sub-prime lenders that got people to refinance their homes – bad news – oops!
RM: Will you be releasing your debut independently or through a label?
ZW: Still not sure how I’m gonna release it. The past year I’ve really been focused on just writing and recording these tracks, [and] until about a month ago I didn’t even have a Myspace! There are a couple of people we’ve been considering to do the release through, but nothing set in stone yet.
RM: If you could work with any artist, who would it be and why?
ZW: D’Angelo, hands down, or Musiq Soulchild. Those guys are the reason I sing and two of my biggest influences since I was little. D’Angelo’s working on a new record, I would die if I could be involved somehow.
RM: Anything else your fans should know about you?
ZW: Well, they should follow me on Twitter, I don’t have any followers..its embarrassing…ohh yeah! And I will be playing live shows very soon, probably the end of April. It’s gonna be funky, very funky…
Stay tuned for Zak’s top 10 playlist, which will be published later this week!