Zimmer: Interview |
By: Lauren Jonik
With natural alternative
rock instincts and infectious hooks, Aaron Zimmer appreciates bringing his sound to live audiences above
all else. "It's a way to express your artwork that you've made. It's loud and it's
fun to sweat. I've always had a really good time playing live. If
there weren't that aspect of music, I wouldn't be into music at all, " he
emphatically explains. Currently performing with his band that includes
Arthur Lynn, Quinn Blanford and Pat Dougherty, Zimmer's
mindset remains the same regardless of where
they are playing. "On
the smallest stages and on biggest stages, it's the same thing-
a loud rock show."
Originally from Nebraska,
Aaron Zimmer moved to New York several years ago to pursue music
and like many artists, quickly discovered that the breeding ground
for artistic talent here is both fertile and challenging. "It's
stiff competition and there's a lot of competition. You
might be good, but there are fifty other people that are good that
are playing at the exact same time as you are. New York is so streamlined,
so everything you do has purpose. You can't waste time doing something
that doesn't," he begins. "Living in New York definitely makes a
person work harder just because there is so much opportunity and
so much to lose if you don't."
Currently at work on
his full length album, Live Wires , due to be released late
Summer 2008, Zimmer explains, "All of the content is rooted in emotional
introspection. There is definitely a theme to the record: figuring
out what things suck and why they suck and if there is a way to
fix them." Of the eleven tracks, Zimmer says that another constant
is that "all of the tunes are unresolved. There's not really any
finality in any of the tunes. I just felt like all of them were
really different in context, but none had any resolution."
Indeed, the feeling of
being unsettled inspires much of Zimmer's writing, as does paying
attention to the emotions that arise as a result. "Most of my writing
is about observations of myself at one particular time. I usually
do better if I'm worked up, or mad or upset about something," he
says before continuing with a chuckle, " I have a hard time writing
or being creative at all if my life is great and happy-go-lucky.
Then, I feel like sitting in a park as opposed to sitting in my
dark apartment and brooding all afternoon."
Working with producer
Christian Cassan on Live Wires has been a fruitful musical
partnership on many levels for Zimmer. "Christian and I work really
well together, but it's just he and I tracking everything, so it's
a painfully slow process. He just doesn't strike out, he's great.
The recording process is really interesting to me and I'm learning
a lot about songwriting and arranging, particularly with this record
Proficient on several
instruments including guitar, bass, piano and French horn, Zimmer
primarily writes on guitar, but has gleaned inspiration from many
styles of music since childhood. "When I was really young, my dad
turned me on to a lot of barbershop quartet stuff and when I was
a child, I played French horn in a brass quintet. Then, I got into
vocal pop music. I think the first CD that really hit me between
the eyes was the Boyz II Men record Cooley High Harmony. I just
loved how the voices sounded." It wasn't until later that Zimmer
was drawn to the rock music of which his own sound is most reminiscent.
"I didn't get into rock too much until the Seattle scene hit and
then, it was over for me- from Nirvana on. That was what made me
play guitar and be in a rock band. That influences me even still."
With an album almost completed and a regular performing schedule throughout NYC, Zimmer continues to look to the future, ever aware of why he's where he is. "I've got this big record that I've been working for two years on that will come out this summer. I feel like it's the best I can do. Nobody is here because they accidentally landed here in NYC. Everyone has come with a purpose." And, perhaps, Zimmer has found his.
originally appeared in IndieSoundsNY
(Issue #34 June/July 2008).