Interview with Adam and Doug from ZOAX

Emma Younger headed to the Record Club at Camden Rocks Festival at the end of last month to catch up with Adam and Doug from ZOAX before they took to the stage at The Black Cap. They talked Camden Town, Download Festival and dust. Yes, dust, really. Check out what happened here.

Firstly, for those who don’t know you, how would you sum up and describe your sound?

D: We are a heavy rock band, but we like dynamics. So we like chilled out sections, and we like contrasting them with heavier bits to make the heavier bits sound heavier. But by no means are we an incredibly heavy band.

A: We let people decide for themselves.

To clarify, how do you pronounce ZOAX as I’ve spoken to many people who are unsure and where does the name come from?

A: ZOAX, like hoax, like jokes. The name came from Liam from Cancer Bats. We went on tour with them and were discussing things with them and kind of came up with the whole, ‘We have a Z and we have an X. Sounds great, lets go with it’.

Punktastic deemed you to be one of the top acts to see today. So with 20 venues with bands on the go, why should we choose to see you guys?

A: Now that is one hard question. I have to say just to have a good time and to see a different kind of thing maybe.

You recently did some shows with Feed The Rhino and The Howling. How did that go for you and what were your highlights?

D: It was great. It was so much fun. We all sort of came together and when we were looking at the local underground scene, and one of the first bands I ever saw was Feed The Rhino. So to go out with them, personally was amazing. I love that band, and as a frontman, Lee is unbelievable. To see them every night was an absolute inspiration, so that was a massive highlight. One of the reasons Adam is in the band is that Rev from The Howling found him and introduced him to us. So the fact we were all together was really fantastic. To be on that tour every single night was a highlight, but the final night, Folkestone, was really great.

A: Everyone was just really nice, and that can be the downfall of some tours, some people haven’t got the time for anybody. Its like come on, we’re on the road for two weeks or something, lets just get along.

D: When we did Takedown Festival, we’d never met the boys in Feed The Rhino, but they just came straight up and introduced themselves. They said they were really excited to have us out with them. There’s just no ego with them, they’re just the nicest guys.

As you just mentioned, you’ve played Takedown Festival this year, as well as supporting Polar and Funeral For A Friend, so it’s been a packed year already! So what else is there in the works for the rest of the year?

A: Well, we’re are playing Download Festival again this year, which will be a huge highlight.

But the first time as ZOAX? How does it feel to playing the Pepsi Max Stage on the Saturday?

A: Yes, and well its really exciting. That stage is massive, and we haven’t had the opportunity to play a stage like that. Its going to be like Christmas!

Who else are you looking forward to seeing at Download Festival?

D: Sikth!

A: Everyone’s saying Sikth! I’d have to say Behemoth, Polar and Feed The Rhino.

D: Verses, who we just saw at the Underworld. They’re a great bunch of guys, so we’re definitely going to try and check them out. The thing is, we really need to leave on the Sunday, but there’s a voice in the back of my head saying ‘The Dillinger Escape Plan are playing Sunday and you’re thinking of leaving!?’

As festival season is officially here, what are your top five festival survival tips?

D: I think Adam should answer this one! (laughs)

A: If you’re like me, then book a travelodge in advance because I hate camping. I don’t like it.

D: I’m a huge fan of the wet wipe, I’m not going to lie about it. The wet wipe is king.

A: If you do decide to camp, don’t sleep in your clothes and wellies because that is not the one. That happened to me last year. I had a bit too much to drink and in the morning it was heartbreaking as to how disgusting I felt (laughs).

D: There’s never a substitute for a good five litre bottle of water. People overlook it, but its the one.

A: Also, go see the bands you payed to see. So many people are like ‘I can’t wait to see this band, this band and this band’. Then when the festival’s over you meet them and they haven’t seen them!

As a band and/or as attendees, what are your craziest festival moments?

A: We’re kind of softies you know! But when we did Takedown Festival , I ended up going up to the roof, and when I went up there, a load of dust just flew in my face, and I couldn’t actually see so I had to stay up there. When I came down I was just covered in dust.

E: Your craziest festival moment is dust!?

A: Yes, dust (laughs) See, softies!

D: I don’t know really, drinking!? I just really enjoy watching bands. I love music.

A: I’m just going to say dust.

Bands such as Metallica and Slipknot have made their own festivals. What would your festival be called and who would be on your dream line-up?

A: Oh, here we go! Thrice and Alexisonfire. So they’ve got to get back together and sort that out (laughs). James Brown, Daft Punk. Would you be coming to the festival?

E: Absolutely!

A: Okay, so Alter Bridge too (laughs).

D: Okay, I’m just going to list them. I’m going to do it. Coheed and Cambria because they’re sick. The Used because they’re sick. The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sikth and Paramore, I’m just going to put that out there! Biffy Clyro, Verses, because they’re tremendous.

A: This is the strangest line-up so far! What should we call it though?

D: I think Happiness Fest at Edinburgh Castle! We also need John Smith, Bryan Adams and John Mayer to headline!

Obviously today is celebrating the music scene in Camden. Why do you think Camden is so special?

A: For music, there’s just always been a good vibe here, and for me personally, when I was spotted by Rev from The Howling, I was playing in the Barfly and that’s where he saw me. So Camden for me, although it may be a mega cliché is my second home over here. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen. I’ve never been to a festival like this where its full of venues all day long.

D: What’s amazing about it is it feels like its grown so much in a year, and personally I feel excitement that this could become something absolutely massive. There doesn’t feel like there’s really anywhere to rival it over this side of the pond.

A: Camden Rocks Festival is definitely going to get bigger.

D: Can I have The Safety Fire and Karnivool to add to the bands on our festival please?

A: Oh god! (laughs)

D: The Wood Brothers too!

So you’ve only been a band since last year, and have achieved so much in that time. What would you like to achieve in the next year?

A: I hope we get to played Warped Tour. I would love that experience. I know some bands say its one of the hardest things ever to do, and I imagine it is, but we’ve yet to really experience a full on tour where its a day-to-day tour. I think just a lot festivals next year and hopefully our album will be able to come out next year.

D: Warped Tour for me has been the nugget of gold since I was about 13 years old. That’s like in my wildest dreams situation for me, but really I’d just love to tour and play more shows. I’m never happier than when I’m playing shows. So playing 30 of them back-to-back, regardless of where it is would be the one, especially if it was with a band who were as welcoming as Feed The Rhino.

A: Deftones! They’re the ones! They’re headlining our festival!

E: Yes! (laughs) They’re incredible.

A: And Billy Talent, I’m putting that out there! That’s the last one.

Finally, what are the best and worst parts of being in ZOAX?

A: The best bit is playing festivals and any sort of show. The worst bit is not playing festivals and to any crowd we want. I know every band says all they want to do is play, but it is for me. There will be festivals or bands that come over who we’re dying to support because they’re so important to us. Those are moments that are kind of heartbreaking. I just want to be on those bills, you know! But when it does happen, then that’s the best.

Is that why then you think you have a crazy live presence, especially you Adam. I’ve never seen someone perform in that way like when I saw you support Polar at the O2 Academy 2 in Islington. Do you aim to scare people?

A: I don’t want to hurt anyone and don’t put myself in danger.

E: So just dust then!? (laughs)

A: I just like having the crowd involved, and I know when it comes to a point where its those big stages where you’re about five miles away from the barrier then that is a bit of a challenge. But as it stands right now, for me, I just love breaking that awkwardness. I think when you pay to go to a show you want to dance and have a bit of fun and a bit of a shuffle!

Scribbled by:

Music Journalist to be, gig-goer and mosh-pit enthusiast, who will head bang to any heavy riff you throw my way. Basically, if I'm not listening to music, then I'm doing it wrong.

Follow me on Twitter at @emyoungerr