Los Angeles hard rock/metal act Zero Theorem returned with a new single a couple of weeks ago called “Swarm.” The song is Zero Theorem better than ever. The band worked with Kane Churko on the track, like they’ve done in the past, but this time they’ve put forth some of their best music to date leading up to their EP, The Killing II Hopefully the EP will be released late this year or early next year at the latest. Alternative Addiction spoke with Zero Theorem frontman Caesar about the new song, the recording of The Killing I & II, and the band’s animated video for “Swarm.”
“That song had a couple of different amalgamations,” said Caesar on “Swarm” when speaking with Alternative Addiction. “We made a lot of changes over time. It's been around for a couple of years. We'd let it breathe for a few months and then come back to it. By the end, we were excited about how things were progressing with the bridge and the chorus when we brought it into the studio. The lyrics were always meant to be about highlighting the struggle between authenticity and blissful ignorance. Mocking those who choose to lead a superficial life. The song seems like it's perfect for the time, but it was recorded ahead of all of this. One of the interesting things about this EP and our last EP is that suffering is part of life. it's going to get you. If you deny it that might work for some people but it's not a good solution for all of us. Our approach is to recognize this stuff and try and figure out a better way forward.”
Caesar, like a lot of us, is a walking bundle of emotions. That’s exemplified when he’s working on music and he goes through a variety of reactions to what he and the band are working on. He talked about that in the interview and how uncertainty is a challenge to fight through for any creative person.
“You're full of all of the emotions. You love certain parts or certain songs and you're questioning certain parts or certain songs. It's all a roller coaster, you're going up and down and back and forth. When there's a long period in between you tend to second guess yourself. Now that we're done with 16 tracks or so and we've gone through this process with these two EPs and the prior one, I’ve learned something. You have to trust your initial gut and go with that otherwise you're going to go nuts with over analyzing things.”
A big part of who Zero Theorem is as a band are their lyrics. That’s true for most bands out there, but Caesar is hyper-critical of the lyrics he writes and puts a huge emphasis on the importance of what he and the band are saying with every song they put out.
“I try to keep a journal of ideas or basic ideas. I get a melody in my head and sometimes there are lyrics attached to that. Usually I expand when the idea of the song is complete. If I know for instance with Swarm that that's what I'm writing about it's easier to expand and make the lyrics make sense within that song. I'll second guess myself throughout that process, but I also have my writing partner and my producer to help with that if there's something I don't like.”
After Caesar gets ideas down for lyrics, it’s time to record the song. With the process for The Killing, Zero Theorem didn’t set a specific amount of time to record and go and do it. They did the songs for the EPs when they had time to do them and when Churko could make time to get them in to record too.
“We had a very odd recording schedule. We usually do. We go in and take care of two songs here, four songs there, that type of thing. We're not that far from where we record at The Hideout in Las Vegas. It's a few hours away and we schedule and go in there with Kane when we can. We probably recorded this within 6-8 months. The good thing about that is we have the songs ready to go. When we go in there we go to work.”
Things to look forward to with Zero Theorem include The Killing II, but that won’t be released until the future is figured out more after COVID, the same can be said for touring. Now? The band released a very cool animated video for “Swarm” that’s worth checking out.
“I'm excited about it,” began Caesar talking about the video. “We've always wanted to do an animated video. We thought it might be out of our budget, but it wasn't. We looked around for a long time, but we found the right people to partner with. We have three animated videos now. We couldn't hook up with our normal director to a regular video. It was exciting to go this route and find the right directors that would get the project and the ideas that we had. They did an outstanding job with the ideas we had, it's got the Matrix influence but there's this alien character, this guy at the end that changes and morphs into something else - it's a cool story. We're a science fiction band and we like to see how people react and what they think about the storyline we created here.”
As for that tour? It’s on a tentative schedule even if the outlook for it doesn’t look that good. If they can be out there and it makes sense to be out there on the road, Zero Theorem will go play shows.
“We have one setup in October with a bunch of great rock acts. Odds aren't in our favor, but it's set up if it can happen. We're asking promotors, venues, and everybody how things would work. You have to be safe. There was one in Germany that was at capacity and everyone was spread out - it happened and as long as things stay in that kind of safe atmosphere it will be alright but we're still at a point where things are dangerous and we have to watch and see if things get better.”-aa