Zac aka Sun Drift. A Clunk Back and Forth Interview

Hi Zac….welcome to the Clunk universe.

Zac, your second album, ‘Lucky’, is out there, again as Sun Drift. How come you choose to go under the name Sun Drift? Shy?

To be honest at the time I started Sun Drift I was attracted to the idea of having a name for a project that sounded like a band, but in reality, was just one person. I was always pleasantly surprised to find out that albums I really enjoyed were created by an individual rather than a collective. I’m not sure why, it just seemed impressive

The sound of the album, stripped down, is reminiscent of some of the sixties beat combos such as the Yardbirds, perhaps Donovan. Have you been influenced by any from that period?

There are definitely influences from sixties artists on the album. Bob Dylan and The Kinks were my most played whilst writing the album. But there are a lot more. It was written over 2 years, and I remember discovering Townes Van Zandt’s self-titled album during that period too which definitely inspired a more stripped-down recording approach.

Tell us about the songs on the album. You did nearly all the work on it. Was it music first or lyrics, or a mish mash of both? Are the songs personal?

For the songs on ‘Lucky’ it was always music first, lyrics last, which tends to be the only way I can write. I did have a strict rule that I wouldn’t go near any kind of recording equipment before I had a finished song, lyrics and all, on just my acoustic guitar first. The idea behind that was hopefully if a song felt good by itself, just guitar and vocal, then with drums and keys etc it wouldn’t rely on the production surrounding it to complete it. All the songs are personal, as much as I have tried in the past to write from a fictional or outsider perspective, my natural default mode is to write about myself. A lot of the lyrics are just musings and thoughts I have floating around. A lot of the time I can’t even really say what they are about.

You sing, write, play various instruments, you have mixed and mastered. Is there any one of these that you enjoy the most?

I think that for ‘Lucky’ the conscious effort was to try and separate the elements of the process. I tried clearly separating writing, recording and mixing because the temptation a lot of the time is to try and do everything at once. If I’m writing as I record, my head is split between caring about the song’s feel and structure on the one hand and obsessing over the tone of an instrument or some technical element on the other. I find it divides my attention. That’s where my tape machine came in handy, I had very little chance to fiddle with the sounds of instruments. When I had a finished song, I used the tape machine to work out the song’s arrangements. Because of the limitations I felt like if an instrument wasn’t quite working in a song, I just had to be ruthless and get rid of it. It was helpful because it pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I can’t say that there is one stage of the process I enjoy most, there are good bad moments all the time.

Were you exposed to lots of music as youngster? Has anybody ever advised you to get a ‘proper job’ or have you been encouraged all the way?

I was exposed to a lot of music as a kid, and was lucky to have an older brother with a massive CD collection. My brother Josh played drums on ‘Lucky.’ He drums for a band in London called Gentle Stranger, they’re amazing. I have fond memories of him handing me piles of CDs to download onto my iPod that I would then listen to on the bus to school. My parents have always been super supportive too, my dad spent many a weekend driving my band to gigs as a teenager. They were also brave enough to let us have a drum kit in the attic.

Is Bingo Records still a happy family? There is a lot of working together at Bingo. So, come on Zac, any falling out anywhere? You know, perhaps the classic ‘musical differences’? Or is it all peace and love?

Yes, Bingo still feels like a functioning, happy family. I think we were clear at the start of label that we wanted it to be a fun experience and as democratic as we could make it. I guess there might come a day when difference of opinion could get in the way of creative output, but at the current moment it still feels fun. At least for me anyway, I can’t speak for everyone.

I have an idea for Bingo Records (my second idea for you guys having come up with the Beans On Toast Christmas Annual)… about you all star in a loose remake of the film Summer Holiday, with new songs etc.? Obviously I would be expecting a small part.

Haha I like the sound of a Summer Holiday remake, but you’d have to convince the others who may be less inclined!

If you had the opportunity to produce any act in the world…who/what would that be and why?

If I had the opportunity to produce any act in the world, my current favourite artist is Chris Cohen, but he is known as much for his producer skills as he is his own music. If it were possible, I would use it as an opportunity to learn about his approach or philosophy towards the creative process, try and steal from the master.

Suppose we come to your neck of the woods for the weekend…..where are you going to take us. You are the Entertainments Committee!

If you came to Sheffield for the weekend, I guess you mean pre/post Covid madness, you could come and hang out at our house’s allotment. We’ve got a shed with a log burner in. It’s a good place to BBQ with a few beers in the summer.

Many thanks Zac for taking the time with Clunk. Hope to see you out there again sometime next year. Don’t forget to bring a Bingo show to Carlisle!

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