The plan for the night was simple; Anamanaguchi was playing a show at Meltdown Comics and I intended to rock out with the other geeks and nerds. What I didn’t expect was the opening act, then known as D/A/D. I was blown away by the retro feel of the music and instantly felt like his set could have been the soundtrack to any number of 80′s shows and movies I had seen growing up. Zach’s schedule was pretty busy, what with getting signed to a label and moving, so the interview was put on hold… until now.
That Ninja: How did you get started with music in general and at what point did you realize it was something you wanted to do in a professional manner?
Zach: I started playing guitar when I was 12 and since then my interest in music making and listening just snowballed from there. I started writing my own stuff when I formed a band with my friends at 14. From there I got into writing all different styles of music. Around the same time, I realized I wanted to write music for media, whether it be movies, videogames, etc. I’ve been fortunate to know what I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I’m happy that I’ve been able to work towards that goal non-stop for such a long time.
TN: What are bands or artists have been the biggest influence on you as a musician?
Z: Really tough question to answer. I think there are certain bands and composers who have made really heavy impacts on my overall music writing. Pink Floyd would be one of those, as would Ennio Morricone. But I tend to have different influences depending on what style of music I’m writing: if its Day After Discovery stuff, I’d cite composers like Vangelis or John Carpenter. Also the guys on my label, Rosso Corsa Records are big influences for me. They all strive to stay to true to the 80s sound in their tracks, and I think their passion comes through pretty evidently. Lastly, it sounds cheesy but I have a very talented group of friends whose work constantly motivates me. I’m really appreciative of those guys.
TN: I’m sure you’ve been asked millions of times what D/A/D stands for. Have you at any point started giving random answers as to what it could mean, or have you always answered in the same fashion?
Z: D/A/D actually didn’t stand for anything. A friend of mine just came up with the idea to call the project that. Sorry it isn’t more of an interesting story, haha. When I decided to change the name, however, I wanted to think of a phrase that D/A/D could stand for, and I came up with “Day After Discovery.” I thought of it after reading this article that described the day where we first make contact with another life form. It talked about how history is going to be separated by “before contact” and “after contact,” and I felt a strong connection to that for some reason. Its all part of this galactic/future type atmosphere that influences my music making. It has a sense of mystery and a sense of optimism. People can still call me D/A/D if they want, and I’ll probably just call me that too for short, but my old name was just impossible to Google.
TN: Is there a secret to air instruments? Your air guitar, keyboard and drums are rather epic.
Z: Ah yes, but you left out my air-slap bass and air-pan flute. There is a secret but if I told you it then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.
TN: If you could do the soundtrack for a TV series or movie, what would you want the main focus to be about?
Z: Ahh so many things. Scoring a movie like “Escape from New York” or “The Warriors” would be so fun. Something that’s raw, badass, throwback. The movies and games that I have dreams of working on are the ones that are genre specific and that are true to that genre, in terms of music especially. Like, the Red Dead Redemption soundtrack is gorgeous. It’s innovative and refreshing, but the composers that worked on it obviously knew their stuff when it came to Western soundtracks. It wasn’t just Morricone-style whistling and harmonica playing (even though it had that) but it had a lot of psychedelic/jam stuff as well, which was prominent in some foreign westerns back in the day. It captures everything about the genre and I think that’s what makes the game so special. So yeah, something like that would be an incredible thing to work on. Also, a sports show theme would be tight.
TN: What artist or artists would you love to collaborate with?
Z: I’ve been obsessed with this Marty Friedman album that he released last year called Tokyo Jukebox where he just does shred covers of J-Pop songs. It makes me really want to work with him someday. Just party with shredder Marty Friedman in Japan all day, and just shred all day: that sounds awesome. Other than him, I’d love to work with some of the other artists who are doing “retronica” stuff: Danger, Diamond Cut, Miami Horror. I just had the pleasure to co-produce a song with Futurecop! and that was a lot of fun. Also, everything Quentin Tarantino does is something that I would dream about working on, he just never uses composers, its all licensed music.
TN: How much has your music evolved over time, do you see it continuing to change over time?
Z: In terms of Day After Discovery, the material has definitely evolved. The newest EP I’m working on is a lot more progressive, especially in terms of song structure. It still has the 80s synth vibe but it’s a little more adventurous than Super Motives. I’m also working on some new styles: I just finished my first Italo-disco track that I’m super pumped about. I recently started using Ableton along with Logic so the way I produce songs is changing right now. I’m sure there will be some evidence of that in my new material but I can’t really pinpoint it right now. I really enjoy making this type of music and I want to keep doing it for a while. I think it would be awesome if D/A/D was the bridge that connected me to scoring media, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that’s what happens. Until then, I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing!
Here’s the video for a new track entitled Sky High:
You can check out his first Album here and some of his new stuff here. Zach also started a Tumblr just recently, so expect to see things from him there as well. If you dig his stuff, you’ll definitely want to check out the other artists at Rosso Corsa Records.