|ACM: What reasoning had you behind the name, Dig Hay Zoose? What's
the background on that?
DHZ: Well, the way it happened...the way we named the
group is we'd been trying to figure out a name for, well, three or four weeks. We were
just trying to think of names, period. The group hadn't really been a group at that time.
Then two weeks after the group had started, Phil and I, and a friend of mine, Pat, were
sitting around in my room. We were just doodling around, and drawing and stuff. We were
trying to think of a name for the band and we couldn't come up with anything. We had just
gotten done saying, "Well, we know that when we hear something we like. It'll just
hit us, and that'll be it." So we just slipped into Spanish accents or something,
being silly, you know...The Monty Python thing...I guess. All of sudden, I said, "
You know? I really dig Jesus!" Phil looked at me, I looked at him, and I said,
"that's it." That's just how it was.
ACM: The songs are very diverse. Some have a thrash and funk feel; one even has
Led Zeppelin overtones. Is this what we can we expect from you long term, or are you
trying to find your direction musically?
DHZ: Musically, I think we'll always remain diverse, just because the band is
that way. We've all played in different bands. I played with my family, who had a country
gospel group for 8 years...I played with them for a long time. That's how I learned,
basically, to play bass. There are eight kids in our family, and my brothers and sisters
all listen to different things. So I got a good dose of everything. Phil, going to college
and all, just always liked to listen to different music...different members bringing
different elements of things. That's pretty much how we became diverse. I would say we're
going to remain that and probably diversify...but it will have direction. Sometimes we
don't feel like we have direction. But as we grow tighter as a musical unit, things will
continue to be diverse and probably get stranger, if anything, I imagine.
ACM: So, how would you describes yourselves as a band? How would you describe
the styles that you have on this disc?
DHZ: Some have called it musical vomit, just because there's a little bit of
everything that you've eaten that day. For a while, we were calling it musical gumbo,
because there's a little bit of everything. If I were going to call it anything, I'd just
call it music that everyone should like.
ACM: Have your families been supportive of your music direction?
DHZ: Yeah, my family is really supportive. They're really happy with the way
things have been happening. My Mom really likes it a lot, which surprises me, And my Dad
has heard just a little bit, but he's real supportive. He's coming to the show Friday, as
a matter of fact, but it's a thing where they say, "it may not be the type of show
that we like to listen to but we're glad that you guys are doing what you're doing."
But, as far as parents of the band, for the most part they've all been supportive.
ACM: What is something unique that your band has to offer?
DHZ: The things that strike me about the band is just the fact that nothing that
we put on the record,...none of it's fluff. And I find that with a lot of bands, both
Christian and non-Christian bands, there's a lot of fluff out there. Doing things for
doing things' sake. We take what we're doing seriously,...but not so seriously that we
can't take criticism. We create what we create because it's art. Three of us in the band
paint or draw. We're involved in other things besides music, just all kinds of different
art - whether it be painting, acting, or whatever.
ACM: Music, then, is just one outlet for that?
DHZ: Yeah, everything just kinda channels around, and circles into our music as
far as the visual and everything. And on stage and live, people get more of a feel for
what we do visually and what we're about that way too...
ACM: Is this your first go at it, or have you released some things on your own
DHZ: As far as albums, I think this is really it for all of us...some of the
other guys have been in a thrash band and released a demo, and the country band I was in
recorded two albums, but they were for a pretty small label, so it wasn't anything
extravagant. As far as any big label kind of thing, where it's getting distribution and we
don't have to hand it to people ourselves, this is it for all of us.
ACM: Listening to the disc, it obviously is extremely well-suited for mainstream
college radio. What are you going to do to get your music into that market?
DHZ: We've been discussing that, actually, and we're not really sure how to go
about doing that. I know that our manager has been talking it up as far as that is
concerned. The label definitely wants to do something there, but its almost as if there's
a vortexx of knowledge that nobody knows exactly how to go about it. It's like nobody's
answered the question of how to go about college distribution. We'd like to say the
label's going to send it to every college on the map, but you know that's wishing for a
ACM: Are you thinking along the line of doing some shows at universities?
DHZ: Actually, that's kind of a goal for us. One of the things about booking
agents, we're looking at connections as far as colleges are concerned. Two of us are in
college and in that mindset.
ACM: Is finding a good booking agent about as hard (and with just as many
strings attached) as finding a good record label?
DHZ: Yeah...pretty much. You can only go on what people say, and it's hard to
trust everybody, especially the people you can't see. We end up talking to a lot of them
on the phone, because we don't live on the coast either way.
ACM: What led you to sign with Brainstorm?
DHZ: Well...we just felt Brainstorm had a lot of integrity before us, as far as
artists that had been on the label. We felt that the label was artist-oriented...that they
cared about what the artists thought. And they promised they'd order pizza every night
that we were in the studio, so of course, that was the clincher right there. That pretty
much iced the deal for us. Yep. Pizza, and a television.
ACM: What is there that you would really like people to know about Dig Hay
DHZ: Well, what I'd really like people to know about Dig Hay Zoose is that three
of the members are single and currently looking for very...well actually, (another band
member says in the background, "I'm happy.")...he's happy...so, two of the
members are currently looking for beautiful women.
ACM: Do you need photos?
DHZ: Well, we're not really a groupie type band. Actually, we're really nice
guys. We know how it is to be hurt. So, we wouldn't want groupies, 'cause then that would
be just kind of a sadness thing. We're all young guys. I guess that's the serious thing
that I'd like to get across to people - the youth of the band. Just the fact that, even
though we're young, we've been through a lot individually and together. Maybe that comes
across in the lyrics and music, I don't know. I feel like alot of the time, when you go
places or you're working with someone, and they happen to be twice your age, they tend to
underrate your ability - creatively and musically. We'd like to prove some people wrong.
ACM: Listening to your music, it sounds like you grew up in inner-city New York
or the rougher areas in L.A., but you're in Kansas City. What is there in the Midwest that
has shaped and molded you to be where you are?
DHZ: Well, just the fact that we're different. We're not like the mainstream
people here. I think we'd be much more suited to live on the coast...when we were there,
we liked it and everything. But as far as our looks, our attitude and things, well...there
is a lot of bias and racism here that people tend to underrate. For instance, I have a
friend who's black and I have long hair. When we go to the mall, we automatically get
stares and we've been run off the road before and things like that. I mean, that doesn't
happen in L.A., and that doesn't happen in New York. It's just a totally different thing,
but just as dangerous and maybe in scarier ways.
ACM: So, there are elements of racism and that sort of thing. That's coming
through in the songs, that's an influence?
DHZ: Yeah. In fact, we're working on material for the next album and that's
something that's really been heavy on our hearts lately. It may sound really cliché, but
I think the way we handle it will be different than the way most people talk about it.
ACM: Where do you think the church needs to be in all of this?
DHZ: Around here, the KKK seems to think that their way is righteous and that
it's the Christian way, which is definitely wrong. Alot of the churches are actually
guilty of racism, especially in the middle of the bible belt and in the Midwest. It may
not be so at the churches that we go to, I don't know. My church has been really open and
supportive of the things that I've done. Even though I have long hair, it's cool with
them. Which is kind of a surprise, because alot of people are older than 60,...there's
alot of older people there. As far as the church's position on racism, the people around
here just seem to be in the mindset that black people...and Mexicans...and people with
long hair...are bad. I think that churches need to wake up and smell the coffee concerning
that and alot of other things.
ACM: What direction do you see the band taking in the coming months?
DHZ: I see the next album being longer, and it being a more involved process. I
hope we get a lot more time to record it. It seemed like a lot of decisions were made on
the spur of the moment. We signed the contract with them just a week-a-half before we flew
out there to record the album. It was all just really kind of weird. As far as musical
direction, I think I'm going to hand the phone over to Dave, cause this is something that
he wants to talk about.
DHZ: The way I see it, what we're doing right now is trying to improve upon what
we've already done...because we were rushed a bit...because we didn't get to make all the
decisions ourselves. We are really pushing to put more work and thought into what we
do,...to put our whole effort and soul into what we've done already. It's a learning
experience. You know, you're done with the first album and you look at it and say,
"well, could I have done better?" That's what we intend to do with the next one.
Musically, I don't know. Just whatever styles influence us at the time.
ACM: What has influenced you up 'til now?
DHZ: I guess each member has been influenced by different things, but mainly
bands along the lines of Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, Crowded House
- basically anything that is on the alternative edge. When were talking at Cornerstone,
the thing we find about any of the conclusions drawn between us and Scaterd Few is that we
both derive our musical sound the same way - whatever influences us, we put in our music.
ACM: Did you limit your search, as far as labels go, to the Christian music
industry, or did you venture outside of that?
DHZ: We really didn't. We decided collectively that we wanted to sign to a
Christian label. We really didn't look outside at all.
ACM: What sort of support do you see ahead, as far as Christian radio is
concerned? Do you see much there?
DHZ: I think I do. I think we could pull some support there. Because the album
is diversified. It has completely alternative stuff, and it also has a commercial edge to
some of the songs - because that's another influence. I hate to say that all music played
on the radio is commercial, but for the most part it is. On the college field, on college
radio stations and such, we should be able to pull some weight, (laugh) we'll see.
ACM: Give me an idea of your background, just as an idividual. How'd you end up
where you are now?
DHZ: Just me, Dave?
ACM: Just you, Dave.
DHZ: I've just always been inspired to play music. I decided one day I was going
to play guitar, and I had no money or anything...this is an old story. But, I had no
money. I prayed that night that I could get a guitar...that I could run into one. And the
next Sunday, a lady at church offered me one. So from then on, I pretty much set my mind
that this is what God's will is in my life was...to play guitar for some sort of band in
the future. So I started playing and wound up in D.O.N. as a first band. I don't know if
you've ever heard of them, it was a hard-core punk band. We played a lot of shows with a
band called Hot Pink Turtle. I'd never really ventured into that field of music much, but
there was so much more power in the alternative metal scene...so much appeal to draw more
people to listen to what you have to say. That's my turning point. From that point on, I
decided that I definitely wasn't cut out to play hard-core anymore...that it was a dying
trend. I dropped out, and eventually joined Dig Hay Zoose. This is where lyrically, I want
it to be. And, I think that's the way it is for everyone in the band.
ACM: Do you feel you get a lot of support from the Christian community there, as
far as the shows you do, and the way you're trying to reach kids. Do you feel there's a
lot of support there, or are there still a few people who wonder about what you're doing?
DHZ: Here in Missouri, there are a lot of leery churches. There are a lot of
people that'll say they want to start something with heavy metal to draw a crowd, but they
really don't know anything about what's going on. It might be the same way there. We get
that alot. As far as support from churches, really the churches in Missouri don't want to
support the movement alot. There are a few. We're part of an organization that gives a
line of contact from all the bands that play in Kansas City (Christian rock bands, rap
bands, metal bands, whatever they are), and through that we draw support from each other.
But, from the churches really...no. They're really not interested in changing their
ACM: What do you think the church could do to help provide you with avenues and
ways of reaching kids that really aren't interested in the church? Alot of kids don't feel
that church has anything to offer them, and obviously you do, or you wouldn't be doing
what you're doing. What is it the church can do to help you (and other bands) to convince
kids that the church could really have something valid to offer them?
DHZ: I think they should step out and give it a chance. I don't think they
should keep their mindset when they really don't know what they're talking about a lot of
times...the mindset that rock 'n roll is evil...and since it's evil we can't use it, its a
dead tool...its Satan's tool...whatever they believe. Telling kids that who are into Iron
Maiden doesn't do them any good. That doesn't get them interested at all. If the churches
could unite in the area, getting over their denominational differences, we could unite and
rent a theatre for a night. Have bands play, have pastors there and have the Word of God
be spoken...and preach between shows. There would be power in something like that. But...
ACM: You don't see that happening right now?
DHZ: Honestly, no. I hate to be cynical about it, but honestly I don't. Because
traditional religion has been planted here in Missouri. It's really hard to get out of it.
You have to step out of it to take a look at it and see the truth, and the truth is - what
really matters? Does the length of your hair matter? Or, is that something to draw a
ACM: What got you to the point where you are now? What's made you want to pursue
DHZ: I started playing when I was seven years old, and took lessons until I was
13 or 14. That's the very beginning of the musical ties; I never learned how to
sight-read, because I'd pick it up by ear. The teacher would play what I was supposed to
play, and I'd pick it up by ear. I never learned. My next door neighbor all through
school, Dion Tyler, plays bass for a band called Hot Pink Turtle, which is also an
alternative Christian metal funk band around here. He's my best friend, and we started out
in the very first band we played together. I played drums, because I played drums in
school for the marching band and stuff like that. When I started, it just got in my blood
and I couldn't help it anymore. I wanted to play music. And I've always sang, to myself,
in church and in choir. I was a vocal major for a year at Northwest Missouri State. But, I
just never got around to singing in a band until after D.O.N. broke up. I sang for this
gothic, metal band called Chancelis...and it turned out our drummer played for Chancelis,
too. And we needed a bass player, so Bill joined up...so there's three of our members
there. The guitarist for that band was in control of the music, and we didn't mind,
because it was like his band. But we decided that Bill , myself, and Jimmy (which is
three-fourths of Dig Hay Zoose)...we didn't want to play that gothic metal thing. We
prayed about it and had a meeting, and went our separate ways. We were looking for a
guitarist and Dave was there. So we called Dave and started jammin' together...that's how
we got together. But that's kinda how everything fell together. We were all intertwined in
ACM: Do you have any advice for a band just getting started?
DHZ: Yeah, the biggest thing is: do not pick one little style and then try to
fit your lifestyle into that. I've seen so many bands die because they say, "we're
going to be a heavy metal band now" or, "we're going to be a...," you know.
They pick a style and they try to wedge everything into this little thing. Bands should
write from where they come from...there're so many Jesus saves songs, and so many suicide
songs, and there're so many abortion songs - just forget about that stuff, its all been
covered before. Write about your life. Write about what you're going through, and what's
God helping you get through. That's what we do. Also, write with emotion and write with
your heart. Don't limit yourself. Don't think that you can't, ...don't ever say, "oh
we can't play that, it's too weird," or "it doesn't say Jesus every fourth
ACM: You were saying the songs are basically an extension of your own life,
things you've struggled with. Is there anything in the songs that are really near and dear
to your heart?
DHZ: I'd really have to think through the whole thing. There's a lot of stuff
that really hits homes at different times in my life. When you're faced with somebody who
doesn't really look at the whole picture or, like a lot of my friends at school, don't
believe in any God at all. Or they're following Buddhism, into ystals, and that stuff.
[The songs] all just come into place at different times of your life. Like when you get
really depressed and you're thinking, "man, I just really messed up, I should have
done this, and I haven't done that, and I've put things off, and put this off."
That's what Struggle Fish is all about. You keep procrastinating about stuff you have to
do and haven't done. Different songs mean different things to me at different times in my
ACM: So, its an ongoing thing for you?
DHZ: Yeah, they change. Think About It and Struggle Fish are closer to me
(because I wrote them) lyrically. But when Bill writes, it's just as close to me...and
when Dave writes. We write together, and we think a lot a like. It just fits together, and
we all feed off of our own music - it really expresses how we feel.
ACM: Do you...you mentioned that a lot of the people around you don't really
feel that church has much to offer them, and obviously you do. How do you, I mean, outside
of the music, how do you go about convincing them that it is valid?
DHZ: First of all, you have to get rid of alot of the stereotypes that people
have created. Just drop the thought that, when you become a Christian, you become this
separate society. When you become a Christian, God has made you a certain way, to serve a
certain purpose. If you go changing your personality and where you're at and all your
friends, then you're defeating His purpose for you. There's no reason why you should
change your sense of humor, your personality, the way you work. Just follow His rules and
do what He wants you to do. People just miss how much freedom there is in Christianity,
because our sins are forgiven. It's not this thing where you have to stress out. Everybody
is going to mess up. All we have to do is go to Him and say, "God I'm sorry, please
forgive me." Jesus loves you so much that He does. I'm not trying to say that you
become a Christian and you're okay and you can do the same things you did. Because, when
you really find out how great Christianity is, things change in your life. You don't
really care about things you used to care about, and stuff that you would never even
consider doing before, now it's just part of your normal daily thing. But, I think the
biggest thing is to break the stereotypes...that when you become a Christian, you have to
do this...you have to do this, you have to do this, you can't do this and you can't do
this. Instead of a constricting thing, it has to be a freeing thing.
ACM: Do you find people trying to put you into molds still?
DHZ: Well, I think people do that just to help themselves...process the
information, you know? You put something in a category so its easier to deal with. You
don't have to get into all the details. But yeah, sometimes you catch people thinking
that's just one of those rock bands, and all that kind of thing. It doesn't really bother
me, because I know that's just some people's way of dealing with things?
ACM: Are you pretty available to do shows, if someone were interested in having
you come do something?
DHZ: We're ready to go; we're chomping at the bit, really!
ACM: What would it take to make that work?
DHZ: We're looking at different booking agents and all. After a while, hopefully
we'll have things set up. Our biggest problem is that we're all totally broke. Seriously,
we are totally and completely broke! And the problem would probably be transportation.
We've got vehicles, but it's going to be hard. We could never do a show that doesn't have
a P.A., because we don't have a P.A. and have nothing to carry it in. But, if everything
works out, then yeah - we're ready to go. We'll go play anywhere. Its kind of a cliché
line: it takes money to make money. We just have absolutely nothing, no mikes, no P.A. But
I think once we get things rolling, it'll be a lot easier to come play different places.
ACM: So, you're taking a class in college now?
DHZ: I'm taking a biology class right now. It's a five hour class.
ACM: What else do you do?
DHZ: I work too. We all work.
ACM: What type of jobs do you all have?
DHZ: I work at Citibank...Visa and Mastercard. Dave works at Hallmark full-time.
He works nightshift. Bill works with his Dad; his Dad's in construction. Jimmy'll be
working here pretty soon; he's gonna have two jobs. He's got a wife and kid. Jimmy's 22
and he has an almost 2 year old son, Ashton. He's got quite a bit of responsibility.
Everybody else is pretty much freed up to go, whenever we can. Jim has talked about it
with his wife and everything is working out as far as I know.
ACM: Is this something you would like to pursue full-time then?
DHZ: Definitely. I'd love to do this full-time. Really would. And I think we
have a lot of potential to cross over to do the secular market, the way things are going.
That's what I really hope to do...to cross over into the secular market. It's the people
who are not Christians who need to hear what we have to say.
ACM: And, you're still trying to figure out the best way to take your music into
the college mainstream...
DHZ: Exactly. What Bill was talking about. We're still working to see what we
can do. But, it'll all come in time. We'll all work it out...just keep it in prayer.
Things'll work. My main testimony of my life is the way God has worked through this band.
We've been together barely a year, but we already recorded an album. It's just amazing how
He works! I don't understand sometimes, He really baffles me. But I know it's Him.