Rahway-based “urban junkyard” artist expands cast as London, Colley accompany Tom Waits collaborators Ralph Carney, David Coulter on latest sessions.
J Hacha De Zola as photographed by Miguel Peralta
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
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“I like to say this silly video is in the style of ‘Le Gallus Film Noir’ or ‘Le Chicken Film Noir’” – J Hacha De Zola.
“The beauty of working with silhouettes is that they are perfectly amorphous,” says J Hacha De Zola of the music video for “Falling Out of Chairs,” a deep cut from Picaro Obscuro, the Rahway, New Jersey-based artist’s second album of 2016. “You can become any shape or size through a simple movement.” The clip was shot by Stefan Zeniuk of Brooklyn’s “Psycho Mambo” ensemble, Gato Loco. “I am a particularly big fan of ‘film noir’ genres,” Hacha De Zola explains. “We like to dub this style of video ‘Le Gallus Film Noir’ or ‘Le Chicken Film Noir’ ala ‘Nosferatu.’”
Even in the midst of promoting Picaro Obscuro, along with taking a side street to cover an Ariana Grande jam (see below), Hacha De Zola is already deep into recording his third album. This time around, Hacha De Zola will be joined by trumpet player, Frank London, a Grammy-winner as a member of The Klezmatics (and a collaborator with David Byrne, John Cale, and Itzhak Perlman), as well as Dana Colley, co-founder of the dark spirited blues-rock band, Morphine.
“He’s like a codeine cough syrup dream on the train to Zurich,” is how another Hacha De Zola collaborator, legendary sax man Ralph Carney, describes him. 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 Picaro Obscuro, and will join Hacha De Zola again on his as-yet-untitled third album.
Multi-instrumentalist, David Coulter is heard throughout Picaro Obscuro, 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.
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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.
“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
02. Bad Fiction
05. Falling Out of Chairs (VIDEO)
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