Trying to pigeonhole Zoo Trippin’ into one little genre box is an exercise in futility. They have an ever-evolving sound, although their groove is infused with a solid blues/funk flavor base.
Comprised of Tony Casa (vocals), Lynn Roose III (lead guitar), Stephen Hatmaker (drums), Austin Smith (bass) and Drew Dimitrovski (guitar), Zoo Trippin’ will get your feet movin’ in no time.
While the band is definitely high-energy, they have a tight sound that feeds off itself, the members of the band and the fans in attendance at their shows. “Well, ‘tight butthole’ is one of our band sayings,” said Drew, eliciting laughter from the other band members.
Unlike other bands that feel the need to have a gimmick to garner attention, Zoo Trippin’s “live” energy is the gimmick.
They have earned a reputation for being spontaneous during their live shows. Sometimes, that means not clueing-in the other members of the band about what one of them might do.
“We do try to stay spontaneous,” Tony said. “One time, I got my hair cut on-stage and I didn’t tell anybody in the band.”
“You turned to me and said ‘just start a jam real quick’,” Lynn recounted. “So, I was like okay, ‘Guys, A blues’…”
With three EP’s (Z Sides, Kids These Days and Great White Buffalo) under their belts, they have garnered a loyal following of energetic fans in and around the Columbus area. There’s a little something for everyone at one of their shows.
“Each song has its own flavor,” said Stephen.
They’ve recently finished shooting a video for the track “Animals”, from the EP “Great White Buffalo.” The “Animals” video is scheduled to be released March 22, 2017.
And now, they’re poised to take the next step.
For the first time in their lives, they’re getting fans that they didn’t know before showing up at their gigs. Previously, it was mainly family and friends. Getting used to this is something they relish as a growing band, but know that it may mean not being as accessible as they once were to every fan.
I met up with the band at Oranjudio Recording Studio in Columbus on the first night of the band tracking songs for their first full-length album with producer Joey Gurwin.
They began the writing process for the new songs in September 2016, with the goal of writing a concept album.
“This new record is going to be a culmination of depression, emotions and angst, anxiety,” said Stephen, “all of these emotions that we, individually and collectively have felt over the last year. This new record will be the turning of a new chapter.”
This new chapter for the band, in regards to the new album, is that they have embraced chromesthesia (sound-to-color synesthesia). This is a type of synesthesia in which heard sounds automatically and involuntarily evoke an experience of color.
“It’s all based around the color purple,” Lynn said. “It’s red and blue coming together, like a comment on the duality of our world. Especially in these times, it seems like what we really need, and what we’re thirsty for is a little bit of unity.”
Lynn got the idea after reading about Alexander Scriabin, a Russian composer and pianist in the late 1800’s. To say that Scriabin was a maverick would be an understatement.
“Scriabin was a bit of the ‘Kanye (West)’ of his time,” said Lynn, “and I found him completely fascinating.”
This concept marks a departure, of sorts, for the band.
“What we’ve been doing is writing songs keyed in the tones blue, red and purple,” Lynn continued. “All of the songs on the first side are blue and purple songs. And all of the songs on the second side are red and purple songs. That’s the underlying concept of the album.”
While this may sound weird to some, or even worrisome to long-time fans, but there should be no fear that the band will move away from the high-energy music they have a reputation for. This new album promises to be a cerebral experience, filled with the “Zoo Trippin’ groove” that you’ve come to expect.
The new album is scheduled to be released June 24, 2017, with an album release party at Park Street Saloon in Columbus.