Recorded in shadow of a maximum security prison, Escape From Fat Kat City praised by Utne, CMJ, more; Two follow-up LPs forthcoming.
J Hacha De Zola as photographed by Miguel Peralta
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Listen to “Let It Go” by J Hacha De Zola at CMJ and see the video at The Big Takeover or at the links below!
“Like a creepy city tour at night, this long-player will shake you up and leave you thankful for the daytime.” – Songwriting Magazine (UK)
In its recent write-up, Utne Reader said that “One could be forgiven for assuming J Hacha de Zola is a transient, back alley carnival showman followed through town by a band of tangle-haired misfits. The kind of alluring character found in old children’s books.” It’s an apt description of the Jersey City native who has been drawing attention to his newly released record Escape From Fat Kat City.
The album effortlessly zig-zags from the whimsical moments described above, to distinctly Tom Waits-style allusions to a more conventional sound that Slug Magazine recently praised by saying, “Not since The Hold Steady’s Separation Sunday has a concept album provided both emotional depth and entertainment.” CMJ simply summed up Hacha De Zola as a “lounge lizard weaned on Primus” in its premiere coverage of the album’s “Let It Go” single.
Escape From Fat Kat City was recorded in Rahway, New Jersey in the shadow of a maximum security correctional facility and an oil refinery, a setting that perfectly contributes to the slinky back alley strut, dizzying waltzes, and surf-raga-samba-freakouts that populate the record.
“I don’t write happy songs,” says Hacha De Zola. “Maybe one day I will, but not today.” Indeed, themes of alienation, paranoia and isolation can be found all over the record. “I realize these subjects are quite recurrent in my songs,” Hacha De Zola continues, “But I can’t help it. Growing up in ‘Fat Kat City,’ you see a lot of things that leave you numb.” Ultimately, the artist takes away something positive from these experiences, however. “I am grateful for my experiences here. They have roused the fighter in me. When you don’t have much to lose, you learn to be fearless.”
With its abandoned industrial parks, rail road tracks, and refinery flares, Rahway was the perfect setting in which to create the album, which composites various musical styles ranging from Blues, Folk, Jazz, Latin, Funk, and Psychedelia and influences such as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Syd Barrett, Cesar Romero, and Waits. A salvaged toy piano, noise makers, 25-cent whistles, rattles, plastic flutes, and cheap candy ocarinas also help to color what has become Hacha De Zola’s unique “urban junkyard” sound.
J Hacha De Zola’s Escape From Fat Kat City is out now. The artist is currently in pre-production on two follow-up records with more details and release dates forthcoming. J Hacha De Zola is available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
J Hacha De Zola
Escape From Fat Kat City
01. Welcome to Fat Kat City (Instrumental) (VIDEO)
05. Death Rant #1 (Rant)
07. Poison Wine
08. Hold Tight
10. Ice Cream and Cigarettes
11. City Girls
12. Moonpies and Penny Whistles
13. 7 League Boots
14. Blue Sky
15. Next Exit (Instrumental)
J Hacha De Zola Links
Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion