I AM I’s ZP Theart: Exclusive Pre-Bloodstock Interview
Jon Seymour speaks to I AM I frontman, ZP Theart.
Just in case you didn’t know, Pure Rawk’s review of I AM I’s album was published a short while ago and you can read that HERE. Frontman, ZP – came across the review, and got in touch to ask if we’d like to have a chat leading up to their appearance at Bloodstock 2012. Now when someone of ZP’s pedigree asks that question, you don’t turn him down. Here’s what he had to say:
Pure Rawk: First of all, the new album has been receiving some good press in general, how excited are you feeling about it right now?
ZP: Oh man, we are so excited about it, the reception so far has been totally amazing, we’re really stoked, all guns blazing. The press has really taken it on board, and I think they kind of get the whole idea behind the music. The melodies are there, it’s rocky, it’s pretty much everything they like, and so far it’s been overwhelmingly positively received. We’re very happy with that.
PR: So how about the band? Have any of you worked together before forming I Am I?
ZP: No, this is all new. When I’d decided what I wanted to do, I started looking for musicians to fill the gaps. I pretty much met the guys on the go, and that’s how it got put together.
PR: Having listened to the album you guys don’t come across as a brand new band, it seems like you’ve been working together a long time.
ZP: Yeah, a lot of people have said the same thing. I think that’s down to the musicians on the album being totally professional. I picked them obviously because of their talent, but also because of their personalities. I wanted them to have the same vision of what this could become, and the outcome was great. I trawled the internet for weeks and months, looking at YouTube videos and the like. Jacob was the first guy I met, and we hit it off straight away. We started writing the very next day, and things started forming.
PR: You’ll be playing Bloodstock next weekend, will that be the first live show as a band?
ZP: Oh Hell yeah, are we looking forward to that or what? We’re just hoping the weather holds up. This will actually be our second gig. Our first gig was in Birmingham O2 Academy on May 27th. It’s a mid sized venue, and that was a blast, but Bloodstock we’re really looking forward to.
PR: And it’s just been confirmed that you’re playing not once, but twice at Bloodstock.
ZP: Yeah, we’ve been asked to play the acoustic stage at 7 o’clock on the Saturday which is definitely going to be fun. It’s going to be a new experience for me, but I’ve got the guys with me who can pull out the acoustics and go with it. It’s definitely going to be rocking.
PR: What about after Bloodstock? Are there any plans to go out on the road later this year, or maybe early next year?
ZP: Later this year hopefully. There are a lot of things in the pipeline right now, and we’ve just been confirmed to play Hard Rock Hell this year too. I’ve heard good things about it, and it’ll be our first gig in Wales too. The Bloodstock crowd tend to be geared towards the heavier side of rock, and I’m very much a melodic kind of guy, the Cookie Monster music doesn’t really do it for me. I saw the line up for HRH last year, and I really wanted to make that one, but this year is looking really good, so we’re really pleased to be going.
PR: I’m going to touch briefly on your “other” band, the story behind why you left is very well known, but are there any times you’ve regretted leaving?
ZP: No, I will never regret it. I’m in a much better place right now, and I’m feeling good. I felt like I was in a box creatively, and I needed to spread my wings, but there was no space. The only thing for me to do, was to create my own space. The new stuff is a lot more varied, and nothing is the same as anything else. Every song has a different story, and a different feel. A song should be allowed to grow, and a good example of that is if you play a song, and then play it acoustically, even though they’re exactly the same, they sound completely different.
PR: I’m guessing the rest of the band share your views, and are happy to throw their own ideas in too?
ZP: Oh yeah, definitely. It was really important for me to get the right personalities to work with. When you’re out there working together, and spending a big part of your life with, it takes it’s toll you know? Within the band, the pot of creativity is always open, and if anyone has an idea, they throw it in and the rest of us work with it, and that’s the way we roll.
PR: I know that Event Horizon hasn’t long been released, but do you have any plans for new material yet?
ZP: Actually we’ve got a few songs that didn’t make it onto Event Horizon, that we’ll probably put on our next album. The creative juices are flowing from everyone in the band right now, and we have to keep the momentum going you know? There are a lot of ideas at the moment, so the vault’s packed out. If we wait until after we’ve been on the road for a long time, we’ll lose that momentum, so for now we’ll put it in a bottle and keep it for later on.
PR: So anyone who’s got the album might hear some new songs at your live shows a bit further on down the line?
ZP: Yeah for sure, I like to put stuff into the mix that people haven’t heard before, and gauge their reaction. That’s what we did on our debut show. The album had only come out the day before, so almost everyone in the audience hadn’t heard any of our new stuff. That was interesting, it was definitely a frontman job to get things going. It was a challenge I put myself out there for though, to see what it takes to make it happen with people who don’t know what the hell is going on, and it ended up being a fantastic show.
PR: That was a really brave thing to do, did you find it a little scary
ZP: Oh yeah it was really scary, but at the same time, I was certain that there was no way it wasn’t going to happen. I had a lot of faith in the music, and a lot of faith in the band. We knew we could do it, and you have to believe in yourself. The crowd need to believe in you too, to really get the music across. If your telling a story, people need to believe what they see and believe what they hear, otherwise the message gets lots like a fart in a perfume factory.
PR: So without giving too much away, do you have any surprises for your upcoming live shows?
ZP: Oh we’ll definitely work something special in. We’re definitely going to be focused on being a live band first, that’s where the hard line is. We’ll make sure that it’s an occasion every show. A live show is your biggest weapon, and you have to make it an experience for everyone that comes along.
PR: Do you have anything you’d like to say to everyone that’s supported you with the new band?
ZP: Well first of all, thanks for sticking around all these years. It took a little longer than I anticipated, but I’m back with a vengeance, some new friends, and a fresh band. We’ve got some rocking tunes that we want to bring to everyone as soon as possible. It’s stuff that I want people to hear, and stuff that I’m sure that everyone will enjoy. I know it’s taken a while, but when you want to do something right, it has to take as long as it takes. We could have rushed things, but if we did, we’d have probably put out something that none of us were happy with, and if we weren’t happy with it, then why would anyone who listened to it be happy with it? I didn’t want to make myself look a complete tit, and whatever I put out had to live up to expectations, and expectations were bloody high I can tell you.
PR: I think with Event Horizon, you certainly silenced a few critics, that’s got to be a good feeling hasn’t it?
ZP: Yeah I think I shut them up for good, and that feeling rocks. People are so quick to talk you know? Especially these keyboard cowboys sat at their computers. They’re big men on their keyboards, but when the shit hits the fan, they crumble. I think we’ve certainly stuck a middle finger up to a lot of people, and we’re really proud of that. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, then come check us out at Bloodstock, you won’t be disappointed.
Visit www.iamiofficial.com for more news and links to buy “Event Horizon”.