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Giving you everything from A to Zaum

Maritime-based synthesizer band invades the Foxx on Monday, Sept. 17
Kyle McDonald and Chris Lewis make up Zaum (Contributed photo)

It’s a sound that is teaching listeners a whole ‘nuther language.

The synthesizer and drumbeat sounds of the New Brunswick-based band called Zaum will fill the air later this month at the Foxx Lounge Rock Bar and Hotdoggery, located in Barrie at 16 Dunlop St. E.

Kyle Alexander McDonald, who handles synthesizer duties, and drummer partner Chris Lewis, classify that sound as 'Mantra Doom'.

Mmmmmmmmm… OK!

And the band name signifies something McDonald made up as an alias for computer-based activity (these were the early 1990s, when the internet was just slapped awake).

But that’s not all. 

“I also used it as a means to name my personal demons and ideas throughout the years. I later discovered there was a meaning to the word which coincidentally tied in very well to the sound of the ideas I’d been creating," he said. "Time came to name the band where I’m the sole creative force in terms of song writing, and it just fit to continue on with it.”

One of the twosome’s latest efforts is Eidolon, released in the fall of 2016, something McDonald says came with much time and labour.

“It took a year almost to the day,” McDonald tells BarrieToday, “from when we went into the studio ‘til when it was released. Eidolon was the first time we had some guest musicians involved in an attempt to step away from purely digitized textural effects on my part and to rather bring in acoustic instrumentation as part of the process.”

Again, not that anything comes easy, but modern audiences are, well, more in tune to sounds off the beaten track, makes the path to listeners’ hearts and minds more direct, McDonald says, adding that technology deserves a bow. 

“I think just due to modern-day streaming services and the fact people are releasing their own music independently or via independent labels, there is just so much more easy access to music," McDonald says. "Based on that reality, people are subject to much more diversity within the world of music – rather than being limited to what a major record label rep thinks would sell and puts hundreds of thousands (of dollars) behind.”

McDonald and Lewis will be appearing on the same stage with a Swedish “stoner doom band” named Firebreather, with whom the two remain friends and with whom they’ve worked in the past.

“Front man Mattias Nööjd sang a guest vocal on Eidolon as well, and will, in fact, be performing that live with us on this tour. Their songs are very well written progressive sludgy tracks with tasteful melody and aggression, lots of warmth and killer tones," McDonald says. 

Zaum has played Barrie in 2014, “and had quite a good time hanging with our pals in Indian Handcrafts. I’ve never been to the Foxx, but (a musician we know) says it’s a rad spot, so I trust his judgment.”

Zaum just recently wrapped a video with director Seth Smith and producer Nancy Urich of the band CUT/OFF/TAIL, or COT.

“Darcy Spidle of COT also had a hand in the story concept creation the video is based on," McDonald says. "We are thrilled with the result of the video they created for us and would love for people to see it, it’s more of a short film than anything else.”

What’s more, McDonald says, “I recently sang guest vocals on a song by a new two-piece band from Berlin, Germany called GRIN. Check out the track and buy a copy if you dig.”

Zaum takes over the Foxx stage, with Firebreather, on Monday, Sept. 17. Show begins at 9 p.m.

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Glenn Wilkins

About the Author: Glenn Wilkins

Glenn Wilkins, in a 30-year media career, has written for print and electronic media, as well as for TV and radio. Glenn has two books under his belt, profiling Canadian actors on Broadway and NHL coaches.
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