Before reading his feature, you’re highly likely to have already enjoyed the sounds of Zach Frizzell. Creating ambient and drone music under the name of Zakè and launching the label Past Inside the Present in late 2018 alongside Isaac Helsen, Zach is incredibly busy within the contemporary ambient landscape. Healing Sound Propagandist, a digital-only sublabel of Past Inside the Present, launched towards the close of 2019 and promotes the meditative and textural-focused output of ambient artists from around the world. Zach is lined up to be sharing a split release with Jordan Christoff, titled ‘Apotheosis’ (RTR026). The album will be the second split release on RTR to date, the first being ‘Two Haunted Pianos’ (RTR010) from Sound Awakener and Tyson Swindell. ‘Apotheosis’ may be delayed for now, but it will be worth the wait once the eventual release date rolls around.
More recently, Past Inside the Present put out ‘Healing Sounds II: A compilation for those in need’. The compilation features a huge range of artists within the contemporary ambient and experimental music scene, with all proceeds going to Feeding America, an organisation helping local communities supply low-income families with food. The work of Feeding America is more important now than ever as widespread school closures can remove the source of a healthy meal for children.
In this feature, Zach talks about current events influencing his music making, his current playlist, optimism for the independents within the music industry, and the importance of community amongst musicians and listeners.
How have the widespread lockdowns in response to the Covid-19 crisis affected your music making?
The pandemic has certainly affected my musical output. I primarily write music as my own personal outlet, where I am very focused on the creation at hand. As a naturally anxious person, I find much resolve when I write and create music. Stephan Mathieu and Drew Sullivan are currently mastering albums that I’ve created during this time. Very excited to share with you in the near or not so near future.
What music, new or old, have you been listening to lately, and have your listening habits changed as a result of the current situation?
A lot of my time has been spent listening to a massive amount of Healing Sound Propagandist demo submissions. I am amazed and humbled by the uptick of submissions we have seen for HSP. Proof that many artists are also taking time during self-isolation to focus on their creative outlets. On the platter, I’ve been listening back and forth to ‘A Thousand Harmonies in Silence’ by Bedroom and ‘Home’ by From Overseas.
Consequence of Sound reported the worst week of album sales since the 1960s (28th March 2020). Do you think the coronavirus outbreak will have a lasting negative effect on the music industry?
Lasting negative effect? In my opinion, no. Music is the universal language and cannot be silenced. Sales wise, there’s been a break in the listener’s routine and that could potentially change the frequency of streaming outlets and naturally when we see a global epidemic, people tend to spend their money more frugally. Personally, we have dropped all prices for all three outlets; Past Inside the Present, Healing Sound Propagandist, and Zakè Drone Recordings. It has been our best 90 days as a label concerning purchases and new listeners. I am not going to pretend to know what the future holds for the industry in its entirety.
With more musicians live streaming from their homes than ever before, do you think this trend will continue once things improve?
It would be a lovely outlet and I think it would certainly be welcomed. An amazing example would be 9128.live’s weekend event a few weekends ago. It was absolutely amazing.
What do you think we as music makers can be doing to create positivity right now?
We all need each other right now. I’ve reached out to friends and many fans, just to check up on them. Some were very surprised to hear from me and thought it was pretty cool I took the time to reach out to someone I didn’t know personally, but we are all in this together.