“Boozegaze” sound of Rahway-based artist’s “Picaro Obscuro” album features Waits collaborators Ralph Carney, David Coulter.
J Hacha De Zola as photographed by Miguel Peralta
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J Hacha De Zola turns Ariana Grande’s “Bad Decisions” into a “Tom Waits-Esq Barroom Roar,” says Cover Me in its track premiere.
J Hacha De Zola – In The Press
“The kind of alluring character found in old children’s books.” – UTNE
“The main influence is that of Tom Waits. But if Zola has influences, he also has talent.” – VOIR
“To say that De Zola’s creative process and musical style are unique is an understatement.” – SLUG
“Cranks and curdles and clomps around his slithery croon tunes.” – CMJ
“A twisted, dystopian narrative straight from the mind of John Carpenter.” – ELMORE
“Visionary.” – BLURT
“Recording this cover, I realized how truly amazing of a singer Ariana Grande is,” says Rahway, New Jersey-based musician J Hacha De Zola. “She can sing her butt off.” Of course, Hacha De Zola brings a decidedly unique take to the tune, premiered via cover song website, Cover Me. “I’m not much of a singer, I’m probably more of a crooner,” he says.
His style has been called “baroque pop,” “avant indie,” “boozegaze,” and “urban junkyard” – imaginative descriptions that turn out to be pretty on point. “I really wanted to see if I could cover, or more accurately, ‘re-make’ a pop tune and have it sound like me,” Hacha De Zola says “I connected with the slightly dark connotations that could be drawn from it. It’s also in the “dark” key of E minor.”
Ultimately, the song is pretty unrecognizable from its original version until it hits the chorus. “At that point, I hope the listener says, ‘Holy shit, this is an Ariana Grande cover?!’”
J Hacha De Zola’s latest full length (and second of 2016), Picaro Obscuro was released last month.
“He’s like a codeine cough syrup dream on the train to Zurich,” is how legendary sax man Ralph Carney describes Hacha De Zola. Carney, who made his bones with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The B-52s, They Might Be Giants, and Frank Black (and who is also the uncle of The Black Keys co-founder, Patrick Carney), makes his tenor and baritone horns an omnipresent force on Hacha De Zola’s latest album (and second of 2016) Picaro Obscuro.
Multi-instrumentalist David Coulter is heard throughout the album as well. Coulter, who has recorded, performed and toured with artists as diverse as Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, Laurie Anderson, Kronos Quartet, Yoko Ono, and Beck among many other notables, shares a common compatriot with Carney in Waits, as both men performed on the Waits album The Black Rider, a collection of the songs from the theater piece of the same name for which Coulter served as Associate Musical Director.
Other influences on the sound of Picaro Obscuro according to Hacha De Zola include: Perez Prado, Captain Beefheart, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Danil Kharms, Arthur Rimbaud, Frank Zappa, Nick Cave, and Syd Barrett.
Picaro Obscuro, the second album by J Hacha De Zola is out now. His cover of the Ariana Grande song “Bad Decisions” is also streaming now. Hacha De Zola is available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
J Hacha De Zola
02. Bad Fiction
05. Falling Out of Chairs
06. Picaro Obscuro
07. Black Water
08. Taking Names
09. On Your Own
10. Dead End Street
11. Tears of Summer
J Hacha De Zola Links
Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion