Interview with Zach Black, the singer-songwriter and guitarist of Souls Extolled and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
ZB: Well, we’re musicians. We’re songwriters… We’re rockers man! We’re trying to blend all our favorite sub-genres within rock from ska punk to grunge and indie rock. And we’re into radical political shit, and spiritual existential shit. Those themes drive the music and sort of tie everything together! I guess that’s more or less our deal.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
ZB: I’m from Honolulu, Joe’s from Houston, and JP is actually from Austin! For better or worse we all ended up here trying to hustle our way into the music scene, and fate brought us across each other’s paths. I was doing some solo acoustic gigs downtown, playing covers for tourists and such, and JP and Joe became my go-to guns-for-hire when I needed a backing band. Then at some point I just got tired of what I was doing, got inspired, and asked the guys to start this collaborative rock band with me. And the rest is history!
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
ZB: Musical: Black Sabbath, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Rancid, Operation Ivy, Sublime, Matisyahu, Modest Mouse, among many others.
Non-Musical: mostly literature. Radical political stuff like Karl Marx. Spiritual stuff like Paradise Lost and the Satanic Bible. Fantasy like The Lord of the Rings. And a lot of History.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
ZB: We just want to keep rolling man! Ever since we started this we’ve been playing bigger and better shows, and people have been digging the music more and more. We know if just keep working, good things will come! And it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
ZB: I usually write most of the lyrics and guitar parts first with a few exceptions. Then I bring that to the guys and we arrange it together as they write their parts. In general, the songs are about spiritual and political struggle. ‘Extolled’ means to praise and worship enthusiastically. When we rock out we’re worshipping ourselves, or more specifically our own free will. This is our solution to the problem – our way of liberating ourselves emotionally, and also of fighting for liberation in a greater socio-political sense. This theme runs through all the music, from the more personal emotionally expressive songs to the more abstract storyteller kind.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
ZB: We just do the usual stuff man! We invite all our friends and we post on all the social media.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
ZB: From my anecdotal experience streaming seems to be the way the majority of people are listening to music now. As such I’d assume actual downloads of music are less and less common. However, I think it’s great! If someone likes our record enough to go and actually download it, fuck yeah! You can do that on Bandcamp, and 100% of the revenue from the last record ‘Seraphic War’ is donated to the Police Oversight Project in Austin.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
ZB: Shit there’s so many. Maybe ‘Breathe’ by Pink Floyd, or any of the songs from ‘Dark Side of the Moon’! For me their lyrics do such a good job of invoking the same types of thoughts and feelings I experience on psychedelic drugs, some powerful insightful shit. The lyrics are just so good.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
ZB: I don’t know, Christmas songs outside of December! Really, when people are dishonest, when they don’t take responsibility for their own shit, or just people being mean to each other.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
ZB: There’s definitely a lot of great moments. I guess I’d have to say the first time I heard our songs on the radio! Patrick Davis of The Bat over here brought me in for an interview and then played a few of the songs on his show. I was shocked that he let me select ‘Touch Me (Fuck Me)’ as one and he did a sweet radio edit that truly warmed my heart.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
ZB: We’re dropping ‘The Crucible’ single and music video in October. We’re recording next month and will have 12 songs to be released the first Friday of each month next year for streaming, but will be available January 1st for purchase. And we’re working on a couple tours for next year, to the West Coast and the Northeast.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
ZB: We’ve got 2 records and a single on all major platforms! As far as purchase we know Apple people use the Apple Store. For everyone else we recommend Bandcamp!
Souls Extolled links:
Band/Artist location – Austin, Texas
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Check our page for Souls Extolled