Back at Slam Dunk Festival Rock Sins caught up with Ali and Matty from Zebrahead. With the band being veterans of the festival it was a great chance to catch up with them and discuss why they love the festival and their latest album…
So to start, how has Slam Dunk Festival been for you guys so far?
Ali: It’s been great, Matty and I were talking about how much the crowds just come to have a good time. They’re super high energy. I mean they’re punk fans so they wanna have a good time and the past few shows have been off the hook.
Matty: Yeah off the chain. I mean it’s cool cos anyone who goes to watch any band here could enjoy it cos we’re all kinda within the same genres.
*So are you excited to play today then and finish off this run of shows?
Ali: Yeah man really excited for it, hopefully we won’t suck too bad.
Matty: I’ll do my best.
Ali: Fingers crossed.
You guys must be veterans of this festival by now though, with the amount of times you’ve played here.
Ali: Yeah is it 72 times…
Matty: Ah shit…
Ali: Or 78?
69 sounds about right… So what is that keeps Zebrahead coming back to Slam Dunk?
Ali: Free alcohol, that’s the genuine truth.
That’s not the worst reason to keep coming back…
Ali: There’s way worse reasons
Matty: We’d go anywhere for free alcohol.
Any festival right? No matter what the line up is. If they’ve got free beer it’s worth going along to.
Matty: If any of you out there have a festival with free alcohol we’re there.
So you see a lot of people saying that Ska Punk is dead now but every year Slam Dunk has a stage filled with Ska Punk and older Pop-Punk bands and every year it pulls in a big crowd. Do you think this is proof that there is still life in the genre?
Ali: Yeah well I actually think there’s been a bit of a revival for it over the last couple of years. There’s new younger bands coming along in that style. I think music often operates in a cycle like that so it’s coming back around. I mean we’ve stuck around for so long that it’s cool again.
So if Slam Dunk is helping to keep this scene alive over here, would you say there is a similar festival in America?
Matty: Warped Tour used to be the big one but it’s changed
Ali: Yeah not so much in America, I can’t think of anything too similar.
That’s a shame, cos there is always a place for this kind of music at Slam Dunk
Ali: Yeah which is really important.
So your latest came out towards the end of last year, how’s the touring cycle for this album been?
Matty: I think it’s going pretty well, you can always tell how it’s going if the fans are requesting new songs and will know the words.
Ali: Most of the time fans wanna here the old stuff and if they request a new song it’s great cos they’re digging the album.
For festival shows do you tend to lean more to the older stuff?
Ali: We don’t actually.
Matty: We’re playing quite a few new songs.
Oh cool, I guess at festivals I can be easier for bands to rely on the older material but you wanna keep things fresh.
Ali: Yeah man well doing it every day you just wanna keep things different.
There’s always a danger of becoming a nostalgia band if you rely too much on old material.
Matty: Yeah man.
So is there any other touring plans coming up?
Ali: Yeah there’s quite a bit for festival season in Europe and then we go to Russia. And there’s a couple of shows in New York happening, so there’s a lot of touring planned. I mean we’re writing a new album as well now so when we go home we’ll be working on that. But yeah mainly just lots of touring over the summer and into the fall.
So just to wrap up, can any of Zebrahead actually slam dunk?
Ali: I did once with a tennis ball
Matty: Wow a tennis ball, but I cannot slam dunk.
Reckon anyone else in the band could?
Ali: Our drummer Ed did a reverse slam dunk
Matty: It caused the San Andreas earthquakes
I feel like it should be a band audition to play this festival
Ali: Yeah, I just saw a really tall guy walk by and I reckon he could do it. Maybe we should get him in our band.
Great, that’s all guys. Thanks for your time.
Both: Thanks man.
Zebrahead will embark on a tour of Germany and Austria as main support to Skindred in late November and December 2016 (full info at https://www.zebrahead.com/tour-dates/). Stay tuned for further updates including news of any more UK shows.