Zipper Club Is ‘Going the Distance’ With New Album Release
We’re at the Satellite, a darkly lit club in Los Angeles, and I’m waiting for new band, Zipper Club to take the stage. I’m wondering just what about their show has made people call it a “multi-sensory” experience, and just as I check the clock, the lights go dark and Lissy Trullie and Mason James enter the stage.
As they bust into their first song of the set, coordinated laser lights project colorful images and the band’s high concept geometrical logo on the walls around them. Their music has chill bass lines and melodic synth top lines that somehow seem to pair perfectly with the lights. I feel as though all I need now is a bean bag and a lava lamp to complete the experience — and suddenly, I get it, it’s most def multi-sensory. And mesmorizing. And trippy. But I like it.
Lissy is beautifully thin with her shaved hair glowing like a little halo. Her silver Beatle boots make her understated outfit perfect and effortless for a rock star. Mason’s long hair covers his eyes as he rhythmically strums a baby blue electric guitar. The laser lights occasionally shoot through his hair, giving us small glimpses of could-be-rock-God moments.
Suddenly, they announce a special guest performer, also their producer, but more importantly former guitarist of 90’s alt-rock mega-band Smashing Pumpkins. James Iha hops onto the stage and joins the band for their single, “Going the Distance,” in which James rips into an insane guitar solo. The notes are insane, and perfect, and yet he somehow never breaks a sweat, nor really a smile. Lissy and Mason sing the memorable and relatable lyrics, “I wake up at just around 2, my internal clock is always skewed” and then I know I’m hooked.
Zipper Club is an unlikely pair — a garage band punk formerly of Cerebral Ballzy fame, with the highbrow sophistication of an east coast artist-slash-songwriter, but the mix somehow makes magic — like a perfectly mixed cocktail, and frankly, I’m ordering another round.
Where did the name Zipper Club come from? Did you have any trouble deciding on a band name?
M: We had a long string of band names as most bands have, and me and Lissy were talking short list, and Zipper Club came up and it was kind of obscure.
L: Can I talk about the meeting where I found it?
L: C’mon! It’s so good!
M: I don’t know, it’s just one of those things that just sticks. When something just sticks it just sticks.
L: It didn’t come out of nowhere, but it’s a secret story that you can’t know.
Is it something super dirty?
M: Super, super dirty.
You’ve described your music as “weird sounding” but still melodic — why do you think it’s weird?
L: I think it’s sort of more because of where Mason and I came from. Two totally different places.
M: We’re just weird, so it’s not that the music is weird, it’s weirdos making popular music. So therefore it’s going to be weird.
M: That’s the whole thing with this project, it’s just been the weirdest collaborations — I had worked with James on a previous project, and James is obviously the best fit and was the best producer. Basically everything is super from left field and it came together in the best way possible. It’s calculated randomness.
What are some of your influences? If you were to describe your sound, like Cyndi Lauper meets Guitar metal, what would it be? If you were to tell someone about your music that hasn’t heard it, how would you want it described?
L: I think it’s um, it’s sort of the combination of both of our influences.
M: I think Lissy brings a really cool artistic element to this, like she has the New York aspect of fine art, and I have the slightly more low brow aspect with punk rock [laughs] it’s one of those things where we are meeting in the middle and it led to a really cool place because it’s highbrow and lowbrow.
L: But also, all good art in general usually has an element of punk.
M: It has to be raw and authentic and basically we came from different backgrounds, but both have the same motives and both have the same methods of getting there. And so at the end of the day we blended that into something that’s weird and different.
What about your live performances make it that people describe it as “multi-sensory”?
M: Visuals are super important. The music lends itself to sort of multi-sensory sort of kind of engagement with the crowd, and the more you can provide, like less is more in music. But more is more in a show. And so we wanna have the coolest craziest fuckin’ live show possible and our visuals right now are at about 35% but once they get to 75%, you can mark my words — there will be pyro. There will be crazy lights that you’ve never seen before. All before we play the moon.
If “Going the Distance” were on a movie soundtrack, set to a specific scene maybe, what would it be and why?
M: Most of the record was made with [driving in mind]. Driving is the most pivotal component of being on the road and it’s the dregs, sometimes it’s the best, sometimes it’s the worst. But there’s no feeling like looking out a car window when you’re on a long exhausting journey with all your friends around you – it’s this weird complacency where you can’t do anything you can’t fucking like escape where you’re at, but it’s kind of settling at the same time, cause you have all your friends and you have a purpose. And you have a mission. And that’s where a lot of the music kind of stemmed from. That feeling of anxious anxiety of not being sure about the future, we’re all kind of doing our thing, but at the same time we’re doing it together. So it’s like the camaraderie and loneliness and the motivation from sitting still.
L: If you were talking about a movie though, I would say Zabriskie Point. It would be so good in Zabriskie Point.
Who came up with the concept for the video for “Going the Distance”? Besides wanting it to just be a video shot in an interesting location, who came up with the cult and torture story-line and how does it relate to the song?
M: Me. We were kind of spit balling a couple different ideas – me and a friend of mine Jason Hogg who is a brilliant director and after effects person, me and Lissy sat down and chatted about concept – we wanted to have a kind of girl gang vibe in there, and then I took a trip to Joshua Tree, and I was super inspired. And from that, it was a whole mess of a journey getting it made, it ended up working out. We ended up buying the shitty Cadillac, it broke down five times on the way out there and three times on the way back.
L: It was supposed to be my car out here, but it’s not going to happen.
M: We tried to pull some crazy shit.
L: The video looks great tho!
M: Yea, we are super thrilled and it was a great collaboration of a whole bunch of people it’s another example of just working with your friends and having it turn out into something that’s really next level.
L: The idea was a joint effort.
M: It was weirder…
L: There was a couple different versions.
It kind of reminds me of a weird episode of breaking bad?
L: I was kind of thinking it was like Fargo, this past season of Fargo – that’s where I got my idea for a girl gang from the grandmother who heads that family. I really wanted a character like her, but it didn’t turn out that way
If you could play an acoustic show like MTV Unplugged, what songs would you cover?
L: “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazarus. And uh, I mean there’s other ambitious ones that I don’t know if I would touch. I would be too afraid to ruin some.
M: Yeah, there’s certain songs that just shouldn’t be covered.
Do you think it’s easier to be an artist in the day and age of digital music and Spotify? Do you think it’s harder to connect with people in terms of getting the music out there?
M: More frustrating.
L: It’s way easier to get your music out there and have people hear it from all over the world. We didn’t have those opportunities not so long ago – you can make music on your computer now.
M: I completely agree, in the sense that anyone who has talent and has a computer can express and show off that talent. at the same time there so much content with the internet, that it’s hard to filter through. There’s thousands and thousands of bands on pressing themselves on social media and platforms. It is sometimes overwhelming. Back in the day, there was a very clear path – and now it’s more and more convoluted. Which is cool, and a lot of smaller things can be heard, but all in all there’s a lot of shit.
What kind of fans are you hoping to connect with with this particular band? A different crowd than who you’ve previously had as fans?
M: Passionate music fans of any age.
L: I think that we’re welcoming to anybody and everybody.
M: That’s what’s cool about this band – it’s nostalgic in the sense that a 40 or 50 year old person can listen to it and be reminded of some really amazing times they had, but it’s also super relevant and kids can listen to it, and get behind it and define it and create it and turn it into something completely 2016. With all the music we write, we have such a big history as a group of different musical genres and tastes, that we pull on all of that, but really we’re trying to be as current as possible and present it in a new way.
What about the album art/band art symbol? Who came up with that and does it mean anything specifically?
M: That was something that came out of the music video. We wanted something that was kind of timeless, and something that was sort of clubby-culty, but was also very kinda slick and something iconic. Our T-shirt doesn’t say our band name, it just has our logo. It’s a really cool symbol.
L: The co-director designed it
The self-titled full LP is coming out in January, is it a concept album in any way?
M: I always try to make records that are for different trips and journeys. The sort of thing you can put on and listen all the way through – that’s what we really wanted to do with this record. Nowadays there are singles, and that’s usually all you hear from a band, and we really wanted to make a full complete record that people listen to from front to back. At the time I was writing it, I was driving on PCH a lot, and so the record kind of works for something like that.
L: The record itself is like a journey, it started out with Mason and then I came in and started writing on it as well.
M: People [would] come up to me and are like, “you’re about to release 12 songs man? That’s like 40 minutes of material, you’ve been working on this shit for three years!” People don’t understand how long and how much work goes into A) developing an awesome band and finding the right people but B) getting the songs to the space – for every song on the record, there are 50 fucking songs that no one will ever hear. So it’s really about choosing and being on point with what we deliver. And so, we’re really proud of this record, but it’s just a start. And the next one’s going to be fucking better.
What was it like to work with James Iha? Were you influenced by the Smashing Pumpkins previously? Why did you only want to work with him as your producer?
M: The first time I met James we had just gotten off this crazy tour and we were just told we had to record a single for record store day and this guttery ass new york spot, we all rolled in and had no idea who the fuck we were working with – and then all of a sudden we were like OH, it’s James! My drummer at the time was like “Do you know who that is?!” I only wanted to work with him on this record. Because he is chill as fuck. He’s unlike a lot of other producers in the sense that he is a fucking musical genius, and he doesn’t let that get in the way of making awesome music. I work with a lot of other producers that have giant egos, and that has a way of filtering in and kind of convoluting the music and with James it’s super pure and super authentic.
L: I also feel like his taste in musical history really lends itself to this record.
M: Yeah, it was a perfect choice for the first record. That was the only person on our list.
What’s next for you? Is there an upcoming tour?
You can check out the upcoming tour dates here.
Where can we find out more about you? Social media links where we can stalk you?