Earlier this week, Jason Zerbin, namesake of rising Canadian indie rockers Zerbin, made the drive down to our Pearl Street studio for a live acoustic performance and interview with KX FM 104.7 Morning Show host Tyler Russell. Among topics covered are the band’s origins, music in the internet age & Zerbin’s future plans.
Hailing from Victoria, on the southern tip of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, Zerbin self-identifies as “melodic symphonic prophetic alternative indie rock” and are on the verge of a breakout year. Their recent single, the soaring “Worlds On Fire“, received its American radio premiere on KX FM 104.7 and has been in heavy rotation the past couple weeks; in fact, KX was the very first station to officially add the single into rotation! As a philosophical soul, lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Jason makes for a sharp lyricist. After clarifying the lyrics in the chorus of “Worlds On Fire”, in which he croons, “So we danced in a fount of Parisian merlot / With our heads in the clouds / Bodies below in desire / The whole world’s on fire”, Jason revealed, “The story of this track is, picture lovers in the midst of apocalypse…You’re in a fountain of wine, in desire”. The group is set to release their new record, Darling, on April 14th in Canada and, though no official release date has been set for the US, Jason says it will likely be out by June stateside. Despite being technically active since 2009, Jason Zerbin explains that the 2013 EP Touch represented a shift from his solo work to a collaborative effort with guitarist Peter Mol and drummer Duran Ritz. Of the forthcoming self-produced album, Jason tells Tyler, “This record really feels to me like the first Zerbin release, like the debut. It carries our sound, ‘Worlds On Fire’ is a good kind of show of the energy that we have live…We like music to connect with people, heart and soul, and also a good time”. In a statement on their website, Jason writes, “We’ve sorta been this big family of musicians so there’s always been a bunch of people coming and going. Right now its Peter, Duran & Me (Jason) who are the core. But we often have other people play with us live”. The ensemble has gigged across Canada and played shows in New York, sharing the stage with big names like Arcade Fire, The Flaming Lips & Bruno Mars.
The music biz has a ruthless reputation, and during the interview Tyler asked Jason about the difficulty of trying to break into the scene as a young indie band in Canada: “It’s hard to be a new band in the music industry now. There’s millions of bands and, you know, unless you’re some viral sensation, you’re just fighting an uphill battle”. And how much of an impact has the internet had, in terms of gaining exposure? “The internet is awesome, right? Anybody can hear you from around the world but…It depends– in one sense, you’re a big fish in a little pond, in another sense, you’re in a little pond…but it’s been crazy, we had people in Abu Dhabi become fans because of the internet…” As Tyler pointed out, with over 10,000 Facebook likes, Zerbin’s fan following is on the rise. This popularity can be attributed in part to appearances on several indie film soundtracks, plus a 2013 movie trailer and Coffee-Mate commercial in which”New Earth“, a sing-songy tune off their lead EP, was featured. Jason says those media spots are huge for the band, and “the only way to make a living nowadays, no one buys your music anymore…I’m not even gonna buy my own because you stream it”. “New Earth” also secured Zerbin the Song of the Year and Music Video of the Year at the 2012 Edmonton Music Awards.
At the moment, Zerbin’s busy gearing up for a string of Canadian shows but have plans to tour around the US starting later this spring and through the fall.
Jason followed up the chat with an invigorating, solo acoustic rendition of “Worlds On Fire” that you can hear on its own above or as part of the full audio from the podcast below.
Check out kxfmradio.org/podcasts for other exclusive interviews, live in-studio performances & more!