For their third album, retro rockers Zeus were looking for something a little more introspective. Their previous efforts, Sounds Like Zeus and Busting Visions, had already established them as purveyors of psychedelic 60s and 70s rock and roll, but they felt capable of producing something with more emotional depth.
“For us, this kind of feels like the first album that speaks to what exactly our band is. It’s more cohesive,” said singer Mike O’Brien, who shares writing and singing duties with bandmates Neil Quin and Charlin Nicholson. Recently the band picked up a fourth member, Jason Haberman.
“It’s a bit more of a laid back album, not as ballsy rock. This has a lot more acoustic guitar, and a real heartfelt vibe,” he said.
The album, Classic Zeus, was released on September 2. They recently debuted their video for “Miss My Friends”, which is available to view on their website, and their song “27 is the New 17” was recently featured as the single of the week on iTunes Canada.
“That’s a Neil song. He’s a bit younger than us, so his perspective is different naturally,” said O’Brien. “When you get into your mid-20s, people act like they’re still teenagers on the loose. I think he was grappling with that age, when you’re starting to figure yourself and get over that hump.”
Which, incidentally, is exactly the stage they’re at in their career. After parting ways with Jason Collett, their long-time collaborator, they’ve starting to come into their own musically.
“We’ve had a lot more collaboration in the songwriting. Before each person would bring in one song, with a real clear idea of how it would go. But we’ve started working more closely together and that sort of reached its culmination with the last song on the record,” he said.
The final track is called “Throw It In The Fire”.
“It speaks directly to collective experiences we’ve had,” he said. “It’s about being away from home, and all the struggles you go through living this lifestyle. It’s about balancing home and tour life,” he said.
“You do the best you can do. It’s not something you ever bargained for when you get into being a musician. For us, we all started playing music based on our natural inclination, based on joy. When you’re sitting on your bed at 15, 16 playing guitar you’re not thinking about playing an event for 15 hours a day,” he said. “You just want to rock out with your buddies.”
That being said, they’re thrilled to be coming to the Kootenays.
“We’ve played there before, and we love Nelson. We’ll be on our way back from Rifflandia and I think it will be an awesome show,” said O’Brien.
Opening acts The Elwins and Astral Swans will be playing alongside them at Spiritbar on Tuesday, September 16.
“The Elwins are a band we’ve played with before in Toronto. They’ve got a light-hearted fun environment, and they’re right up that alley. Very poppy and fun. They’re up there making things a good time,” he said.
They brought the Astral Swans along on the recommendation of their friend and fellow musician Dan Mangan, who signed them to his imprint.
“Dan recommended him to be on the bill and we felt it rounded out perfectly. He’s got a quiet and folkier vibe. Him and his vibe and his music are perfect,” he said.
All in all, attendees should expect a fun party atmosphere, said O’Brien.
“We’re really energetic. We take our music seriously, but not ourselves.”
Tickets are $10 and are available from the Hume Hotel. Doors at 8 p.m. Show at 9 p.m.
For more information, visit themusicofzeus.com.