MARK ACEVES Interview: All is ZED with the World

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San Jose, CA rockers, ZED, began their musical journey in 2007. The band, comprised of Pete Sattari (guitar, vocals), Greg Lopez (guitar), Mark Aceves (bass), and Sean Boyles (drums), released their first album The Invitation in 2010, second Desperation Blues (2013), third Trouble in Eden (2016), and now their most recent release, Volume just dropped this summer, and it has made quite a ripple in the music world. I heard one song and became an instant fan. At that point, I knew it was one I was going to want to review. Thankfully I got the opportunity and was beyond pleased to learn the rest of the album was just as exceptional. I have since had the pleasure to visit with Mark Aceves of ZED and learn a bit more about everything ZED.

Where did the band name originate?

OK so when we were tossing around different ideas we spent a lot of time throwing names out and nobody could agree on anything. Finally I came in with ZED and everyone agreed that it was cool. The meaning of the name is two fold. Firstly my favorite all-time band is Led Zeppelin and it’s kind of a weird tribute to them Led but with a Z. And secondly everybody remembers the line zeds dead from the Quentin Tarantino movie pulp fiction.”

I dig that! I am a huge Zeppelin and Pulp Fiction fan. How long have you guys been playing together and how did this all transpire?

So ZED‘s been together since 2007. The original drummer is a guy named Rich Harris and he left in year nine. Our current drummer Sean Boyles has been a friend of the band for about 20 years since our old band played with his old band back in the day. So three of us in ZED have known each other for 20+ years. Pete, our singer, myself and Rich were in a heavy band back in 98 called Stitch. After that broke up, a few years went by and Rich met Greg our current lead guitarist and started jamming with him then he pulled Pete in and then myself.”

This is Sean’s first album with ZED, and clearly that is working because Volume is a masterpiece in my opinion.

Thank you so much. We are really just humbled by the response we’ve gotten from it. All of us, even us who have been in the band a long time feel it’s our best work ever.”

So you have had a big response. What has that been like for you all?

It’s been great. It’s just so awesome to have people tell you how much something you created means to them or brings them happiness. As musicians, yes we make music for ourselves but we’d be lying if we said we didn’t care if people liked it or not. When we were recording the album we all kind of knew we had something a little bit special or at least more special on our hands than the last ones. And I realized I needed to make a very bold statement with both the artwork and the first video and I think we did.”

I would absolutely agree with that. That video is genius to add to the already magical concoction. Such a creative idea and it turned out incredible.

Thank you! I made it myself and had a lot of fun with it. I even built a miniature studio sound stage with camera cranes and everything (laughs).”

How does the song writing process work with ZED?

It’s a 100% democratic process. We all bring in riffs even Sean sometimes will have a riff he wants to share. Then we all hammer it out and arrange it to where we are all happy with it and then we let Pete worry about the lyrics. Sometimes someone will come in with a complete Song or just a piece and we all work on it together.”

Sounds like the dynamic is working. Does Pete have a general topic he likes to stick to or is it more what he feels the song needs or feels like to him?

So Pete generally lets the music inspire him for the topic. He likes to write a lot of socially conscious lyrics or personal type lyrics. Sometimes he’ll take a Cue for the lyrical direction from one of us. For example the song poison tree off of this album. when I wrote the music for it I intentionally wrote something that I envisioned being danced to at a strip club. And so the working title for the longest time was strippers. And so when he came up with the lyrics I think he took that theme or vibe and expanded on it.”

You guys seem to really work well together as a band, which is so important.

It doesn’t come easy. We’ve known each other for a long time now and we know how to work together. Also the fact that we’re a bit older now and not as volatile ha ha Ha. I’m sure if we were all in our 20s again we be getting in fistfights occasionally.”

Maturity does seem to play a big factor in band marriages!

Yes, it is all like a marriage except that we don’t live with each other except when we’re on the road. It’s just about valuing the others contributions as much as your own. We’re trying to leave our egos at the door as much as possible.”

What do you feel the direction is for ZED, or how are you planning to evolve as you move forward?

It’s all still a work in progress. And as for what’s next in our evolution. I have no idea. We try not to think too far ahead however this time around we are actually starting to write new music now as opposed to waiting two or three years like we’ve always done.
Like, I seriously sit here and think ‘how are we going to top this for the next one?’
We’ve worked hard at getting better and writing better music with each next album. So the pressure is on (laughs).”

If you could describe your music in three words, what three words would you pick?

Heavy, aggressive groove.”

What is your favorite song you have released, and what is your favorite to play live?

Oh man… I have favorites on each album. And stuff I don’t like for each album. Except this one. I love all the songs. First time for that. My favorites off of VOLUME would have to be ‘Chingus’ and ‘The Other Kind’. But the rest follow closely. I love playing ‘The Mountain’ off of Trouble in Eden and ‘The River’ off of Desperation Blues. I am generally hyper-critical of my own music and a lot of times after we have recorded it I won’t listen to it for a long time. But I haven’t had that problem with this one.”

I love when musicians are able to appreciate what they have created. That says a lot. Any tour plans coming up? Like maybe Boise, Idaho? We would love to have you!

We would love to come to Boise! I was there in November and saw the CroMags at the Shredder. Rad place!! We will most likely come through in spring! We’ll make it happen!”

Any message you have to the fans?

Just a huge thank you to everyone who has connected with VOLUME’, new fans and old. We appreciate you guys’ messages and shares and we can’t wait to go back out and play these songs for you guys, meet you and have a beer! I personally love to meet the fans and put real live faces to names and convos I’ve had online. I feel it makes for a better experience for the people who put their hard earned money down for our music or merch. It’s the least we can do to say thanks!”

So I am trying this new “game” that is literally starting with you. Bear with me. It is a bizarre question. Here is the scenario…… you have loud, obnoxious neighbors living above you. What song do you play, at high volume to get back at them?

Oooh hahaha ….. I play the entire Neurosis Enemy of the Sun album or Tiny Tim. Oh shit or I play that Lingua Ignota that I heard today. Just dark dark sounds that will creep them the hell out.”

What a diverse answer and fantastic answer!

Mark ended the interviewing giving a shout out to everyone that has supported them thus far, “Just thanks everyone for the interest and keep spreading the word! See you on the road!!” This dude is completely down to earth and was a lot of fun to interview. ZED is a stable component in the stoner rock genre and will not be going anywhere soon from what it sounds like. Make sure you grab a copy of Volume today.

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