Photo by Dave Gillespie

Toronto-based indie rockers Zeus are celebrating their fifth year of existence with their fourth studio album, Classic Zeus. For bassist Mike O’Brien, this is a time to reflect on the past while looking forward to the future which includes a big North American tour, plans to head over to Europe and a fifth band member, Jason Collett, who joins the fold this year to help out the group. We caught up with O’Brien recently to get familiar with this budding Canadian group.

Classic Zeus is slated to drop soon. What can we expect from the release?

I think that if you’ve heard us before it’s definitely in keeping with what you would expect from the band. If you’ve never heard us before than I guess you don’t know. We are a three-songwriter band and in the past we’ve sort of just contributed songs individually and worked them together as a band. Often times you just go off in your own sort of directions, whereas this time I feel like it’s our most cohesive sounding record. We all found common ground and I feel like we worked closely together in the song selection and in flushing them out as well.

Can you talk a little bit about what the whole writing and recording process is like for creating this album. Is there any specific inspiration?

We record our records at our own studio. This record particularly we took a long time to make it. We recorded probably something like over 30 songs. And then winnowed it down to the eleven songs that are on the record. We really wanted to try and come up with something that we felt was sort of a statement not necessarily a direct statement but just something that spoke for itself as a piece. Which is why I think we sort of went off the books a little bit and would try as many different ideas as we could to get to get down to the ones, sort of the right thing that we wanted to do. There was lots of different experimentation, but in the end sort of the songs that were the simplest and most direct were the ones that ended up becoming what made up the record. So we just sort of sound the groove that they all fit together in.

*How would you say the band has changed or grown since your last effort, 2011’s Busting Visions ?

The most direct thing is that it’s mellowed out a little bit. Maybe that comes with time and maturing and aging a little bit. But I think it’s slightly mellowed out compared to our last record. On the second record we were just becoming a band. The four of us had just started a life as a touring band and played together a lot whereas this I think we are all more comfortable with our roles and a little bit more relaxed about things. On the second record it was more about capturing the sound of the band, where as this one is more about experimenting.

We are all multi-instrumentalists as well so this time around it doesn’t really matter who played what on what song. Whatever came about naturally is what happened. There are a lot of songs where different guys are playing drums. There’s a lot of mixing, which is something we have always had in our band, but I think this time it was really about whatever serves the song best.

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