Verzache's sophomore album My Head Is A Moshpit is out now! We chat to the musician about the release and more.
Toronto-based, Platinum King of Bedroom Pop, VERZACHE recently unveiled his highly anticipated sophomore body of work, My Head Is A Moshpit. The musical project of Zach Farache, we caught up with the musician via zoom to chat about the release and more.
Set atop hip hop influences, the record fuses the genre together with threads of shoegaze, indie and electronica. My Head Is A Moshpit unpacks the human experience, putting the musicians own personal life on display, navigating and documenting relationships, experiences and mental health struggles.
Featuring the singles All I Need, Messed Up, Calling and Think About It, the album marks a more conceptual based project for the musician, showcasing his growth as an artist and a storyteller. My Head Is A Moshpit continues the fast-growing trajectory and international momentum for the 23-year-old Toronto native, who has clocked more than 300M streams worldwide.
A pioneer in the modern experimental acoustic sound, Farache brings his own unique approach to composing and creating. Having begun producing from his grandmothers laptop in 2014, the musician released his debut body of work, Thought Pool, in 2018.
My Head Is A Moshpit is out now! Read our interview with Verzache below.
Could you tell us a bit about how you started your musical journey. And your background in music?
For sure! I started with using GarageBand on my grandma’s apple computer in like 2014. I think I was just watching a lot of videos and I took “music and computers” in high school, which was actually pretty fun. We just played around with GarageBand and stuff, and did compositions, but nothing serious. But one Christmas I was like “Yo, I wanna play around with this”. And you know the loops and GarageBand or whatever that everyone uses and they’re like “this is sick, this is so dope”, I was like yo. I took the Poundcake instrumental by Drake and I put Childish Gambino acapella on top of it, so its just him rapping on it and I was like “woah I’m so good at music, I just made the sickest song ever”, but yeah I didn’t do shit [laughs]. But I think that was like when I realised that I had a passion for music I would say. You know, more so that was when I was like “yo the way this makes me feel is really dope”. So yeah, that’s how I got into it and it just ended up growing in high school, just a lot of like inspiration from Yung Lean, I was really into Yung Lean and a lot of Soundcloud production stuff. So that’s where it started and I went to college just after high school, cause pressure! I was really just on my computer producing in every class ever, like not doing good in school so I was like ‘maybe I should do music’. I went to music school, didn’t graduate and now I started doing shit on my own and here we are.
The tracks incorporate your early hip hop influences but fuses them together with threads of shoegaze, indie and electronica. How did you arrive at the genre-bending sonic soundscape that is the record?
I think that it definitely comes from early hip-hop influence. I didn’t really listen to too much hip-hop until mid high school. So I listened to Tyler, The Creator, that was the first kind of stuff that I got into. But I guess that was also what got me into producing, because he produced his own stuff. So I heard about that and then I guess I always thought hop-hop was really sick, but I never thought it was something I could do, I never thought it was something that I was able to enter. So I just ended up going in every other route, like electronic music was the first thing and then I ended up trying to mix that and gravitating to whatever I thought was cooler [laughs]. That’s literally how it happened, I got there and I was like “yo I like trap music, that’s cooler. No, no, no, I like acoustic trap music, that’s cooler”, and I keep going and then eventually I’m like “No, no, no, wait. No trap, I like hip-hop. Hip-hop is the real shit, I love all this stuff”. So I was like why don’t I put all this indie stuff, all this Bon Iver inspiration, all this James Blake, Torimas, and then a bunch of Playboi Carti. Why don’t I just put a bunch of Playboi Carti everywhere in there. Everything I liked, I wanted to take all that and kind of, I really wanted that to be one thing. I’m not saying that I am all those, I’m saying all those are my inspirations. I’ve taken inspiration from all of them for sure .which I always used to be like I want to go for this thing, or this thing, and I always am very terrible at doing that so I get something else, which is my own sound. So there you go, that’s how I got to that part I would say.
Conceptually the album unpacks the human experience, putting you own personal life on display, navigating and documenting your own relationships, experiences and mental health struggles. How important was it to use this album as a vehicle to tell your own stories and represent these themes that are so relevant to many people?
Yeah, I mean for sure it was more like a therapy thing for myself too. So it was like I wanted to be the best version of myself. Throughout these two years of where I was kind of like growing and learning to step out of the comfort zone more. So I have experienced a lot more than I thought I would just because I kind of let go and wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable and open about shit because in the end it’s like the same thing goes for music, dropping music. It’s like I get a nervous feeling, a really nervous feeling about something, and it’s because you care about it. And it’s because I care about what I’m doing and every time I feel that before I drop music it never goes soft on me really. It’s always a good sign, it feels good. It’s always like a good response, but more so personally. I think that I found out the fact that others would relate to things like this after I made my first couple of songs and I would get messages from people saying “this has helped me through whatever in my life and I’ve never been able to relate, I didn’t think people could feel the same way as me” or something like that, you know? It happens all the time, me homies even tell me like “dude, I feel this way and I am scared to talk about this”. So it’s almost like it’s really dope to hear that, that wasn’t the goal. It wasn’t me saying like I’m doing this to help others, but that’s just the icing on the cake for me. That just makes it so much more worth it, because I’m just like this is really good to hear, that I have an impact like that on someone. That they can feel better or get through something because of something I’ve made? Like WHAT! Like that’s insane, that’s so cool. But yeah, I definitely appreciate those messages I’ve gotten from people over the years and even from this album that I’ve just put out. I’ve gotten so much nice and happy things that really just made my day.
Were there any parts that you found particularly difficult when creating the record, being so personal and putting all those stories out there?
For sure, yeah. Just like opening up entirely is so crazy because it’s not even like I’m just opening up to you or anyone else listening. I’m opening up to the world, on the internet. It’s not even like I’m just having a personal convo with my parents where I’m like “guys this is going on”. It’s like my parents and everyone else’s parents can find out about this. So yeah, it was very nerve-racking I gotta say. My parents were a big thing I was scared about, my parents and family. Like when they hear things, and hear what I’m saying and I had to send them like a disclaimer - like a little thing before like “I’m okay now guys, it’s all good”. I told my dad not to show it to my grandma, but he did and I got a call for her last week, like you know the nervous call, like “are you okay” type thing. So that was inevitable, but there’s a lot that goes into it. It feels like courage, but I wouldn’t say it’s courage as much as it’s not thinking about it, trying not to think about it a lot. But yeah, I’m glad to hear that there’s a positive for doing that too, not just for myself.
This is also your second full-length album. What do you think you were bringing to the writing sessions on this record that was different from the first? Any knew knowledge in how you approached creating the record?
I would say this is entirely different, because it was an entirely different concept, entirely different objective. The first one was very much sitting at my computer in my basement, on the couch making beats, and speaking into a shitty microphone, getting a lot of noise in my songs. You hear my furnace in the background of that first thing and I thought that was dope. I’d be like “yo this is authentic music, this is what I want, this is what feels real” and I think that that was cool. That was like a B (beat) tape of my first attempt at singing. At singing like actual songs you know? But this album is a different objective actually being like these are actual songs that are organised and more polished. Me at my best in production and my best musical ideas I feel, but also the most open and less vague. More specific and writing more storytelling, more of a journey that you can actually follow that’s not just a musical journey. There’s a narrative.
The album is 19 tracks long, and really does set up a complete and well-rounded story. But were there any songs left on the cutting room floor that you think may one day have a life of its own?
Yes! Yeah for sure. There were a lot of songs that made during the period of making the album and I was going through track lists like crazy. I was being like “uh I don’t want this to be here, I’m getting rid of this, this and this”. It literally started as a 12 track project when I started it. Like not even, 12 was the goal. But it ended up being 19 somehow and there’s other songs that were going to be on it but I swapped them with other ideas that worked better for me and I like them a lot better. But I think it would be really cool to be like songs that didn’t make the project. That would be such a Drake move, like pull a Drake on them but I should’ve done it before hand, I should’ve done it before the album! Oh my gosh, this is crazy. I can’t believe I’m thinking about this now.
If you had to pick three songs off the record to play to someone who has never heard you music to make them an instant die-hard fan, which three would you choose and why?
Oo that’s actually really interesting because it’s not the three songs I like best, it’s the three songs I think other people would like best. I would say Messed Up, Look Away and I think I would have to say either Forgot or Not Evil. It’s cause in my mind I’ve already organised songs that I think other people would like better. I’ve already had that in my mind. That almost is a part of the creation process, thinking about what would people listen to but try not to let that over shadow your artistic vision still. Balancing it. So it would either be all the singles or Messed Up, Forgot and Look Away I think.
If the album was a piece of visual art that already exists, like a painting, photograph, sculpture etc. Which artwork do you think would sum it up?
Oh man, I would have no idea. I would have to say like, literally when you said sculpture the first thing I thought of was the Statue of Liberty for no reason at all [laughs]. But that is not it, I hope no one thinks of that when they listen to the project. Big Ben or I don’t know, I don’t actually know. I can’t give you a serious answer because my whole visual art game is so bad. I’m getting on it, I’ll get there eventually.
Obviously you’re unable to tour at the moment. Do you have any tentative touring plans, and what would one of your live shows look like?
Yeah, I am actually really looking forward to doing a tour in 2022, if not this year. I really want to developer a really cool live set. I’ve been trying to put something together for a little bit, something that’s like cool that’s not just me. Because my last tour, it was literally just me on stage with my guitar and I had a mini keyboard and my computer. That was pretty much it. I would go back and forth between using my guitar and my microphone and stuff like that but I want to have a band type deal, or at least two more people on stage with me to help me make a show that’s way cooler musically. And then develop the visual side of stuff too, to make something that really resembles my visual side. The visual side is something I’ve been developing more in the past year or so. I’m really looking forward to that.
How important are the visuals to you when it comes to portraying the stories and themes present on the songs?
It’s actually growing in importance for me. For sure. The way that I started, I really didn’t think about it. It was all just like a musical journey for me. Very auditory. I really just got into it, the visual stuff. Seeing that whole side, the whole world, I have a lot of homies that are in the visual side of the industry. It’s really eye opening and cool because I feel like it helps me define and narrow down the path of my journey or whatever I’m going for so I can really see what I want to do where it’s not so ambiguous.
Bon Iver. Oh wait, Torimas.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
For Emma, Forever Ago - Bon Iver.
A release you’re most looking forward to in 2021?
I don’t know. Maybe Drake is? I don’t know if Drake is doing an album, is that this year? Because he just dropped something but it’s like the precursor I think to what’s next. I know it’s pretty stereotypical but I’m a really big Drake fan. And I’m from Toronto.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Bridge To Terabithia. That would be sick, oh yes.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Oh man, dude ah! This is so hard, this is like one of the toughest questions I’ve gotten. I would have to say Hannah Montana but not for the materialistic fame life thing. But just because Miley is a little nuts sometimes in the show, I’m going back to the show. But I think Hannah Montana is more composed, she’d got it together. No shade to Miley, no shade at all.
Best concert you’ve ever attended?
Well I would have to say either Corbin Bleu and Jesse McCartney when I was a kid. That was insane! The feeling, I remember that was sick. Or Tame Impala, they were really cool
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
It would either be Zachy Spice or it would be Swaggy Spice.
If you could go on tour with any artist, who would it be?
Still Woozy would be sick. Girl In Red.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
Oh my gosh! Kanye, Jay-Z maybe?
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
I hope you got your shit together bro [laughs]. That’s not even advice. I would say one day at a time.