ZAK FLEISHER Gunk pop

Perth “gunk-pop” auteur Zak Fleisher’s new single Decisive is finally seeing the light of day. The singer-songwriter has had the track “in the bank” for years now as he took a completely new direction from last year’s Green Girl. A move to Melbourne prompted Fleisher to work with new musicians and producers that allowed him to fine-tune his sound in a fresh way. BRAYDEN EDWARDS talked to Fleisher about his journey to launching the single and what we can expect from him next.

So it seems you’ve just taken the familiar Perth muso journey across to Melbourne. How is it treating you?

It’s more of a familiar move to me because my dad lives here, so I’ve been going back and forth for years now. I’m very lucky that I have had existing friends here who have helped me make new buddies to bring along to shows. I’m just waiting on when they realise I’m a total weirdo!

How did you go about finding the right people to reform a band and play your songs again?

I posted the old Facebook status and got a few bites which was good. People went ballistic on the tagging and I received heaps of direct messages which was actually a really awesome feeling. The two lovely boys I am playing with currently are named Tyrone and Mic. What’s amazing with these two dudes is that before playing with me they had never played a rock gig before! Ty was more of a covers bassist whilst Mic did jazz fusion jams. If you were to watch us though, you’d have no idea about that, which is full credit to the fellas.

Your last single Green Girl was pretty popular last year, finishing in the Top 10 of 89.7fm’s WA Songs of the Year. Given you clearly had some kind of winning formula did you change things up much with this release?

What’s funny is that Green Girl and the new song Decisive have taken an almost polar opposite path with their release. I’ve had Decisive in the bank since late 2015, but have been waiting to fine tune it and properly record it. With Green Girl, that was 100% on the fly, recorded acoustically on my best friend Elliot’s GarageBand in our friend’s house in Denver and then released straight away. The thing for me with music, which I have learned in the last couple of years, is that winning formulas aren’t possible. People want diversity in their music and also everyone likes different stuff. So with Decisive, I decided to just create the image I wanted for the song rather than worry about the formula or what critics would like because regardless, I wouldn’t get it right.

I did take a much larger interest in the technical fine points of the process this time though, such as the microphones and pre-amps used because I’m trying to improve my producing skills – look out Flume! Massive shout out and thanks to Finn Keane for recording, mixing and mastering the track and also shout out to my buddy Mat Levy for playing the drums on it.

You’ve made the single available to live stream here but for those readers that might be in the office or on the train for example, how would you describe your sound?

When people ask what genre of music do you play I honestly have no idea what to say. So I’ve got a solution! Create a phrase that you think describes it. This phrase is not solid yet but currently I’m sticking with “gunk pop”. This is basically pop music with a bit of gravel or it’s a bit ‘dirty’, one might say. It’s got all the classic conventions of pop-music; the chorus, the intro, the interlude, the small musical solo, and the harmonies but musically it’s not really pop. Not sure that makes sense but I gotta stick to my guns. #gunkpop will be a thing I promise you.

What are your plans after this release. Any more new music or tours in the pipeline?

People close to me know that I have got enough ‘good’ material for about two albums so hopefully there’ll be some more music to come out soon. I am pretty dead set on trying to record and release an album in which I’ve titled  Retro Vulgar. It’s a concept album of sorts which follows the continuous cycle of love and heartbreak. I’ve just got to get the funds in a strong position so I can do this. In terms of tours, I’m in the process of organising a few shows back home in Perth for the end of the year and bringing the guys with me. For now though, I’ve got to focus on getting a good grip on the Melbourne scene.

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