While the pandemic has seen the end of many aspects of normal life, one that we are particularly missing is concerts. The deafening music, sweaty bodies and electric atmosphere is definitely something we are all vying for. Well, musician Zach Tabori is here to bring us a slice of normality with the release of his video concert Pandemic Performance. Alongside his nine-piece band, Tabori offers us a rendition of video highlights from his album Pandemic Ballads including high-energy tunes such as “Until the Next One Comes Around” and “11:13”, accompanied by a trippy video filled with flashing lights and psychedelic aesthetics.
When asked what inspired the release of Pandemic Performance, Tabori stated, “to be honest, probably loneliness. It’s been such a devastating year for live music, and by “devastating”, I mean it didn’t even exist. I wanted to create something that would allow others to experience the closest thing that we could put together to resemble the energy of a real concert. Everybody in the band, including myself, had the desire to get together and make music again.”
With Zach’s talents spanning across songwriting, composing, singing and playing instruments, it is clear that the work he produces is skillfully curated and results in musically impeccable work. To further his accolades, if Tabori is not working on his own projects, he has been known to collaborate with the likes of Jaden Smith and ¿Téo? as well as scoring films. If this wasn’t enough, proceeds of the merch sold in regards to his new video will go towards the non-profit World Central Aid which helps to feed those in need during crisis, proving his work is not just musically impressive, but socially as well.
Check out our interview with Zach below….
Hi Zach how have you been during this uncertain time?
Hi! I’ve been alright. Last year was a significant shift, but I still managed to stay productive and make plenty of music. Now that the COVID vaccine rollout has started, things seem like they might get back to normal sooner than we thought…hopefully…
How has it impacted your music and creativity?
The urge to create never disappears! That being said, the source of inspiration constantly changes. I’m sure that a good portion of my more recent material comes from feelings of uncertainty and isolation during the pandemic. I don’t think anybody got to collaborate with others as much as they would’ve liked for obvious reasons. Mostly, I was limited to recording and performing everything myself, while only taking part in sessions remotely.
How did growing up in Los Angeles influence you sonically?
Growing up in LA, you are constantly surrounded by multiple communities and music scenes. The lifestyle gives you the opportunity to participate in many events that you wouldn’t necessarily experience if you lived in a more rural area.
What are your biggest musical influences?
James Brown, The Beatles, Béla Bartók, Roberta Flack, Sly Stone, Joni Mitchell, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, and sometimes Dua Lipa
Describe your genre.
Pop music that isn’t afraid to exist as pop music. Potentially indulgent, but created with the utmost sincerity. Consciously recognizing that the audience has come to dance and we strive to make that party happen in the best way that we can.
In the last year, you dropped your video concert pandemic performance with your nine-piece band what inspired you to do something like this at a time and people will undoubtedly be missing live music?
To be honest, probably loneliness. It’s been such a devastating year for live music, and by “devastating”, I mean it didn’t even exist. I wanted to create something that would allow others to experience the closest thing that we could put together to resemble the energy of a real concert. Everybody in the band, including myself, had the desire to get together and make music again.
And the video has this electric, trippy feel – what did you want to evoke with it?
Well… when I conceptualise a performance, I often need to go beyond the scope of what’s presented musically to express a certain concept or idea. When we perform live, even though we are a rather large group, there are still some “secret” members of the band who are doing just as much as the folks on stage but they might not be seen by the audience… One of the band’s secret members is Kevin Vasquez, who conceptualises and programs a completely different light show for each performance. He really accentuates every nuance of the music and makes just as many twists and turns as any other band member. For the Pandemic Performance, in addition to Kevin’s lights, Justin Long (our sound engineer that is totally 100% NOT related to THAT Justin Long. I promise) came up with the idea of augmenting the visual experience with actual video effects and synthesis. Bryan Peterson did all of the video synth work, while we were able to control the intensity/blend of each moment ourselves.
To be honest, I don’t have a very good answer to this question. The fact of the matter is that when you take a pop concert and start improvising/jamming, unless you’re The Grateful Dead, a large portion of your audience is going to be bored to death. The video synth gives them an opportunity to enjoy some visual entertainment while their ears must suffer the wrath of my 15-minute guitar solos. Lord, have mercy!
In terms of what I wanted to evoke, it is rather simple. Any visual should be an extension of what’s occurring musically. And when given the opportunity, all visuals should be orange.
And for it, you played new songs from your album Pandemic Ballads – how did you want this body of work to make people feel at a time of so much uncertainty?
The album is largely about disconnection. As ridiculous as this sounds, my hope was that the audience would feel some sort of a connection to each other through the mutual feelings of disconnection. I wanted people to remember the connection of a group that experiences a live concert together. I think it’s especially important to feel that sense of togetherness when most of us have been feeling isolated.
What themes inspired it?
Pretty much everything that I was feeling throughout the pandemic. Issues that range from existential crises to worrying about a loved one dealing with an addiction to laughing over the ridiculousness of a certain politician involved in a supposed golden-shower-filled-Russian sex tape to everything else in between.
And you’re no stranger to collaboration, co-writing and playing guitar on Jaden Smith’s latest album, and playing guitar for ¿Téo?. You’ve also produced, played guitar and co-written songs for Kid Bloom’s albums and also scored films, including the 2016 Cannes Film Festival contending short, Midnight – what draws you to a project or a piece of work?
If I can offer something new and valuable to a project, then I’m happy to be a part of it. I love working on many different styles of music. Téo? is great to work with because his songs blend pop and hiphop with Columbian folk music, which allows me to experiment with a wide variety of instrumentation, such as nylon string guitars, exotic percussion, live drums, tubular bells, etc…If it’s musically interesting and there’s something that I can contribute, then why not?
What’s been your career highlights so far?
I’d say this Pandemic Performance video. It has always been difficult to find a balance between what I love in the studio versus what I love about a live performance. For the first time in years of making music, I think I’ve accomplished something that’s pretty darn close.
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
There will be plenty of new music coming your way from myself and the fine folks at Flesh Fury, along with various other projects that I’ve been working on this year. A new album in a few months… and I hope we get to perform live again real soon!