Enjoy the Zoo
There’s not a ton of info out there about Enjoy The Zoo so tell us a little bit about the band in general? How long have you been together, how did the band come together, what’s the story behind the name?
The current lineup of Enjoy The Zoo has been together about 5 months now but most of the band has been playing together for years. Aaron and Jordan have known each other since birth pretty much and Kyle and Shane met when they were 5 years old. The two forces met through mutual friends and started a band and moved to TN. This is where we met the final and missing member of ETZ, Jim Wes.
We get asked the name question all the time because it’s such an unusual name. We wanted something that stuck out but most importantly represented us as a whole. Everything we do is a spectacle. From the way we act in public to our live show and a zoo is a spectacle so it just seemed perfect. We tagged the enjoy on the front for some subliminal messaging and there you have it!
Introduce us to each member and give us one unknown or little known fact about each of you…
The 5 of us are all such different people but we all click in some weird and almost magical way. Jim Wes, our singer, grew up singing in black churches and was born in Florida. He loves Soul and Gospel music and can rip on guitar. Jordan Reyes, our bass player, was conceived in Africa so technically he’s African American. He grew up listening to funk and hip hop. Aaron Harmon, our guitar player, has the biggest head out of the group. Seriously his head is huge. He’s really smart so that might be because of an enlarged brain. Shane Wise, our drummer, is a video game freak! He’s so obsessed that he has the original Nintendo controller tattooed on his forearm. Now that’s dedication. Naturally all he does is play video games, drums, and listens to video game music. I, Kyle Lampi, also plays the guitar and I am the resident metal head of the band. I grew up listening to Metallica and I have a weird obsession for things being even. If something is a little off, it will drive me absolutely nuts! Like if my head case for my guitar amp isn’t perfectly lined up with the edges of my cab I will have a break down and won’t be able to play until I fix it.
Your MySpace page lists your location as Las Vegas & Nashville which aren’t exactly neighbors….do you spend time in both places?
We have the Las Vegas/ Nashville thing on our MySpace because Vegas is our home and we have a sense of pride as weird as that sounds. Vegas is its own monster and people from there are the only ones who can understand it. We now live in Nashville so we put that on there to show where we are now so people can consider us a “local” band. The only time we really go back are for major holidays otherwise we are always so busy with music. We miss our families and friends but that’s one of the sacrifices we had to make moving out here to make something of ourselves.
When introducing your music to people for the first time, how do you describe it?
When people ask us what type of music we are we like to keep it simple. We are Rock/ Pop/ Soul. We don’t try to break it down in to all of these sub categories. If those three style interest you enough to go check it out then so be it and then you can sub-categorize it yourself if you would like.
What’s a typical writing session like for the band? Is everyone involved?
A typical writing session is anything but typical. Sometimes it will start with a guitar riff that Aaron or I or Jim brings in and then we all sit and create a song. Sometimes Jim will come with a whole first verse and chorus and we all re work it and finish the song. Sometimes Shane has this really cool drum beat that Jordan has a perfect bass line that fits and then we go from there. It always just ends up being us in our practice room shooting out ideas and tweaking them until we come up with something we love.
Visit ETZ on MySpace, they promise to leave you a comment back!
You posted 3 new songs on your MySpace in late September, what are the plans for those songs? Will they be part of a release or is it just music you were sharing and are there more songs on the way?
Those three songs are the three that we felt best represent us right now. We had written a bunch when Jim first joined the band trying to find our sound and we feel like those three are where we are going. We are constantly writing so we have tons of songs and we’ll be recording more soon. The main purpose of those songs are to start shopping for producers to work with and labels and to have something up on MySpace.
Do you want to tell us a little bit about the 3 new songs that you posted? The stories behind them and how they came together for you?
“If It’s Alright With You” started with a chord progression that I showed Jim one day in my room and as soon as I played it he sung the verse melody with the lyrics almost exactly how they are on the record and we both looked at each other and said “Well that was dope……I guess we should see where this goes!” We then went down and showed the rest of the band and finished it that night. Jim had just met this new girl and he wanted to make her happy and he was afraid of what he could do and couldn’t do like staying the night with her. The song is about that uncertainty when you start seeing someone and you both know you want to take things further but you don’t know how to say it.
“No One Has To Know” was actually created the same day as “If It’s Alright With You”. Jim showed me this amazing riff that ended up being the opening riff and turnaround of the song, the really big epic part. Aaron took that and started to create some string samples that really set the mood to the song and we went downstairs and banged it out. Lyrically that song is about the idea of being more than friends with a girl, that is just a friend hypothetically.
“Running Away” was actually a song that Jim had written awhile back. He didn’t really like his verses but he had this chorus that was amazing. We threw the verses out and rewrote them and changed the whole vibe to this dark pulsing sound with this open arena rock chorus. Lyrically Running Away is about how Jim’s clinical insomnia lead to the end of the most serious relationship in his life at the time.
You have quite a unique sense of style. Who comes up with your stylish digs? (Do you dress yourselves?)
We are fashion freaks, especially when it has to do with shoes. Anyone who knows us knows that we have more shoes than Mariah Carey. To us nothing makes an outfit more amazing than a dope pair of shoes. We are all about independent clothing companies that offer limited quantity items. Who wants to have the same shirt as everyone else? We are all about awesome graphics and colors, that’s our thing.
How do you feel outlets like MySpace and YouTube have changed the dynamic of being in a band?
MySpace and YouTube have helped us out so much. We live on MySpace. I honestly can say that we as a band spend close to 30 hours a week on MySpace work. We set personal quotas for each member to hit on MySpace. Things like how many people to add in a day. We comment back every single person who comments us. MySpace is our biggest promoting tool right now and we exploit it to the max. As far as YouTube goes we love making videos. We film everything and we always put them up. If you go to YouTube and type in Enjoy The Zoo you are guaranteed to find a video! We figure it’s the best way for our fans to get to know how we are without ever meeting us.
After that ETZ Halloween special you posted on MySpace, have Hollywood execs been knockin down your doors to cast you as leading men?
The ETZ Halloween special has been a smash hit! We might be doing our own move KISS style. Seriously we would love to cross over in to acting and modeling and fashion.
What sets Enjoy the Zoo apart from the other bands out there today?
What sets us apart from most bands is we feel we have taken the best parts of our favorite music styles and combined them into a commercial product. We have elements of hip hop, rock, pop and soul and we make it work into a sound of our own. Another thing is how we interact with our fans. I have never met a band that loves and wants to know their fans more than we do. we will stay after any show no matter how late or tired we are to talk to anyone who wants to say hi. after all you are the reason we do this so it’s the least we can do.
When not playing music, the members of ETZ can most likely be found doing what?
If we aren’t playing music we are usually doing music….seriously that’s all we do. You might find Shane playing video games, Aaron riding around on his scooter, me at the gym, Jordan sleeping and Jim singing old gospel songs. Music is really all we do though.
You have a few shows coming up in November at The Mercy Lounge in Nashville, are there any other shows planned?
We are really trying not to play as much because we are try to write as much music as possible so when we work with a producer we’ll have tons to work with but we are going to start doing weekend runs to different cities in the new year.
Parting words to the music fans out there?
ETZ’s parting words……..hmmmm……..stay fly and come check us out and tell us what you think…..even if you hate it and think we are the fall of man we will still comment you back!!!
Visit Enjoy The Zoo on MySpace