narrative and visual
Show and Tell
Interview with Hello Dragon >>
Hypothesis: The Quantum Pop of Hello Dragon
the dynamic duo of Julie Chadwick and Chris Zerby are a collective
of amazing Los Angeles musicians known as Hello Dragon. Their latest
CD, The Quantum Explorers, is a fantastic voyage into the unknown
variables of D.I.Y. epistemology. Chadwick, Zerby, and friends redefine
and recreate the limits and the textures of alternative music. Musically,
they intertwine the edginess of late seventies L.A. punk with the
pop sensibilities of eighties new wave and the harshness of nineties
grunge rock into a refreshing mix for the new millennium. Lyrically,
their words read like born again existentialism: they are witty while
being gritty; they are caustic while being ecstatic.
I chatted with Zerby from the Chadwick/Zerby compound in Echo Park,
the increasingly gentrified neighborhood from which newly-christened
LA rock stars and denizens of hip seem to emerge these days. With
the tre fashionable address and a potent fan base evidenced by Hello
Dragonís myspage page, I expected at least some dose of pretension
from Zerby and crew. To my glee, I found them to be refreshingly unaffected,
exuding that rare strain of unassuming charm that can only come from
an innate blend of self-effacing wit, applied intellect, and modest
confidence. The address, it seems, is a geographically desirable crash
pad between rehearsals at their Highland Park recording studio and
the impressive amount of shows they play at the coveted rock venues
dotting Silverlake, Echo Park, and Hollywood (including a few stints
on KROQ Locals Only bills). Do yourself a favor and explore this band:
if this is the future for music, then music has a future.
I am proud of the fact that the first movie soundtrack I bought was
the Paint Your Wagon record. What was your first movie soundtrack
purchase? What was the inspiration? Does it still inspire you?
CZ: I don't think I've ever bought a movie soundtrack!
There was a copy of the Grease soundtrack lying around the house when
I was a kid, but I think it was my Mom's.
DK: If you could sing a duet
with anyone, dead and/or alive, who would it be? What song would you
perform and why?
CZ: I wouldn't really call it a duet, but if I had
my choice, I would love to sing in a really good Mariachi band.
They do those big refrains where the whole band sings in unison, and
I think I could do that really well. If there has to be a famous
person in the band it would be a non-musician. Someone who would
be fun to hang out with and travel around with; someone who would
have a few drinks. Babe Ruth. Dylan Thomas. Ricahrd
DK: As a bass player myself, I am always intrigued who everyone's
dream drummer is, who would you choose and how have they influenced
CZ: Well, for sure Ringo Starr. Nobody drags the beat like
that guy. But actually I have to say one of the best drummers
of all time has to be Phil Rudd of AC/DC. He never plays a fill.
That's an ideal drummer; a guy you don't notice necessarily, but who
always plays for the song, not himself.
DK: What artist/band would
be your skeleton in your closet, guilty pleasure, and hidden secret?
What was their best album? What was their best song? Did they play
any role in developing your musical aesthetic?
CZ: I used to own a
bunch of Village People records. The one with "Macho Man" was
pretty good. I think they were standing around a bulldozer on
the cover. Funny enough, they used to do those big refrains
with everyone singing in unison, and I bet they had a lot of fun;
me and the Mariachi band, and the Village People traveling around
in a big bus and singing those refrains. Damn straight.
fall 2008/winter 2009