July 21, 2024

TheMetalDen.com: Over 100 Million Organic Impressions On Facebook In 2023!




Rocket: Where were you born and raised?

Zach: I was born in Hamptonville, NC. It’s a small town about 30 minutes away from Winston Salem, which will probably help people figure out where the hell it’s at. I grew up there in a pretty calm, rural area where not too terribly much goes on. It was nice as a kid though because life around home was peaceful and easy going, but I could usually find a ride into the city to find something to get in to.

Rocket: Right on. When did you first start playing electric guitar?

Zach: I started when I was about 13 years old. I was in 7th grade the time so I figure that adds up about right. Basically all of my friends got the bug to pick up a guitar so I guess I decided to give a try. The funny part is that my dad has been a musician for 45 years now, so I pretty much grew up with music and instruments all around me. I never decided to give it a try until it became cool in my group of friends.

Rocket: Who are some of your biggest playing influences?

Zach: I guess I might stray from the traditional response here just because, when I was growing up, no one around me was listening to heavy music. When we first got cable TV at my house I remember that I just went nuts and watched music videos for hours. After that when music downloading became popular, I used it to hear older bands that I had never heard before. I remember just becoming a huge Sabbath fan over the period about six months because I just digested their entire catalogue all at once. Basically once I got my head in the right place about what was out there on the musical horizon, I just played catch up of some of the great heavy music that came out in the last 30 years. I guess what’s cool about that is that the music that I was listening too when I was learning to play was stuff that had came out 10, 15, even 20 years before hand. My playing is very 80’s influenced as I was listening to some of the over-the-top guys like Randy Rhoads, Van Halen, etc. Also I went through a HUGE Zakk Wylde phase, Haha. I still love that stuff but nowadays I find myself really trying to learn stuff by Paul Gilbert, Dime, plus a lot of classic rock stuff to incorporate into our heavier music. .

Rocket: Absolutely. What kind of guitars are you playing live and in the studio?

Zach: As a student and a young guy in general I haven’t had the dough to really go nuts and build the collection of equipment that I want and need for my music. But, my main axes as of right now are my Gibson Les Paul studio, which is what I really learned to play guitar on, and recently I picked up a nice Jackson SLSMG. Both have their benefits and weakness’ but it gives me a nice range of sounds that I can choose from. I’m actually in the process of changing the pickups in the Jackson to something with a more classic style sound. Southern Cross is all about doing something new, but at the same time maintaining the classic quality of the music we all love. Also in the future I would love to pickup an axe with a Floyd Rose trim on it so we can start incorporating it into our music.

Rocket: What kind of amp rig?

Zach: Right now I’m playing a stock Peavey 5150 head and an Avatar Cab. The 5150 is a great amp, and has been thoroughly road tested in the metal world for nearly 20 years now. Avatar cabs make a great product also at an amazing price. In the future I plan on adding more cabs and basically just making a bigger more powerful rig. Most of my gear now was purchased before I ever knew I would be in a band of the caliber of Southern Cross, so my gear might change a lot to meet the needs of the band. It just depends on what fits the best.

Rocket: Southern Cross has been working on a new album “Written In Stone”, correct? How’s that coming along so far?

Zach: It’s been coming along great so far. That tracks have all been written for a while now and everyone’s super excited about recording them and getting it out to the fans. Right now we’re just working on getting the best possible recording of the tunes and making sure everything is at the quality level we want it to be at before we release it.

Rocket: Killer. When is that going to be released and how can fans pickup a copy.

Zach: Release date is so far unannounced as recording has been a little bit stop and go. But, it should be out and accessible by people within a few months of now. I would say early fall will be our scheduled public release of it. As far as getting a copy of it, anyone can still grab one at our shows, but this time around we’re also going to use the internet as a tool to get the music out there. We hope to have a way for people to place orders online so to streamline the process of getting one. Any news of this will be posted on our myspace.

Rocket: I know Seth on vocals has done most of the songwriting for the band in the past… but now you’ll be having more of a hand in that now too, right?

Zach: There’s no doubt that Seth is the creative power house of the band, haha, but we’ve all been working hard to contribute as much as we can to creative process. Most of this record was written by Seth and Ranke before I was even a member so I don’t have much writing credit on the next record other than the solos. However, since we’ve started recording this record we’ve already jammed out several good ideas for the next album. Mostly a combination of riffs that Seth and I have tossed around. Seth is phenomenal guitar player which most people might no know, and when we sit around and jam we seem to have a great connection for writing huge sounding tunes. With Ranke coming up with some mean ass bass lines, you know the next record is going to be heavy as shit.

Rocket: So who are some of the other upcoming metal acts from your local area that have impressed you?

Zach: Well, unfortunately I’ve not had the opportunity to hear music of the music from the local scene. I stay super busy for one, and there isn’t much of a scene to go check out. I guess there are plenty of bands out there who are playing in someone’s basement, but there isn’t an actual show around here very often. I will say though that I’ve seen a lot of musicians in the area with a lot of talent, who haven’t quite found a spot in a band yet. And I did catch a show with a band called Thousand Year Reign, who is comprised of a bunch of high school kids! They were amazingly tight for being so young, so I have hope that the scene will begin to pickup in the next few years.

Rocket: It’s been another busy year for metal. With all the new releases that have come out so far, what album’s been your personal favorite?

Zach: Well I hate to say it again, but I don’t like most new metal! That’s one of the biggest factors to me about wanting to be a member of Southern Cross, is that it doesn’t sound like everything out there. I do however, dig the new Megadeth record. I think it’s one of the most classic sounding new albums out there and I’m glad they decided to go more towards their original sound with this one. I’ve also heard the new Motorhead album is great, and I’m looking forward to hearing it.

Rocket: I like to have fun with this next one. What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you while performing on stage?

Zach: Well, Sadly I’ve yet to have the chance to play on stage with these guys as I’ve came on only very recently in the middle of recording this album. We’re also still in the process of nailing down a solid drummer for our lineup which is slowing us down from playing shows. But there’s plenty of dumb stuff that happens during practice that’s pretty funny. One of the best I guess is my inability to take a good ‘Metal’ picture. Seth and Ranke have the mean face down perfect for our photos, yet I always look like I’m a million miles away thinking of some fond memory. But don’t worry, there is plenty of time in the future for onstage antics.

Rocket: What are some of the upcoming Southern Cross shows we need to watchout for?

Zach: Well right now we’re at a small standstill due to our drummer situation, but we have several venues already interested having us come and play. Basically as soon as we have a solid unit again, we’ll have tons of shows booked and people can find the dates on the Myspace page.

Rocket:Thanks very much for doing this with me. Best of luck with it all! Go ahead and give a shoutout to your biggest supporters.

Zach: No problem, man. I’d like to just thank everyone who’s ever helped me out with my musical career. My parents for putting up with me playing guitar all the time when I was first learning, Seth and Ranke from SC for bringing me on and making me a part of this awesome band, and my girlfriend Jennifer for being understanding about the rigors that come with being in a band. And finally thanks to all the fans of who help us get by.

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