In the spotlight

In the spotlight – Electric Palace

todayMarch 31, 2023 315 14

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In the spotlight – Electric Palace are a bi coastal duo originating out of the Lower East side, comprised of NYC’s TJ Rosenthal (vocals and guitar) and LA’s Joe Zdaa (drums and vocals).

How and when did Electric Palace form? And what is the meaning behind the band name?

TJ: “We formed in 2016. I showed Joe Z a bunch of demos that to me, sounded like a direction away from the two bands we were both in at the time. He agreed. The songs were for a band that hadn’t been formed yet. Five months later we had pressed vinyl at our initial shows!”

Joe Z: “Monk Tamony was our original name, and we moved off of it for a few reasons. One main reason was, we noticed it was hard for people to pronounce. Electric Palace is a place for everyone. One rule. Don’t be a jerk to anyone.”

TJ: “We liked the word “electric” too…it seemed to make a lot of sense in the here and now.”

What led you to music, and what motivates you to keep making it?

TJ: “I think you make it because you can’t not make it. Ideas just come. What else can you do except follow their lead?”

Joe Z: “I was playing drums and always tapping things as a little kid. It started at a young age for me.”

What do you admire most about each other as people and as musicians?

TJ: “Joe has a unique ability to keep contact with and be a vital part of so many peoples lives , from past to present. As a player, his ideas for parts and rhythms are wide ranged and endless. He’s no one trick pony resorting to cut time in the break every track. If you know what I mean.”

What music inspired you guys growing up? How does that compare to what you’ve been inspired by lately?

“Our inspirations are always changing. And each time we get into a sound or a band, they become part of the subconscious I would imagine. The Beatles, The Clash, The Kinks, BRMC, Kasabian, Primal Scream, to name a few.”

“Newer stuff? Leisure, Jungle, Cage The Elephant. We like Charley Crockett a lot currently too. But really, and it’s not a cop out when we say this, it can come from any genre, or era.”

Joe Z: “A common thread throughout are the songs we love are the melodies. The hooks.”

How would you describe your sound to somebody unfamiliar with it?

TJ: “Our sound keeps changing. It started in the early days with guitar fuzz, a little string sound and keyboard lines. We added some bell and whistle colors to that on ‘Pretend’ the LP we dropped in March of 2022.”

Joe Z: On ‘Reflect’ we thinned out some of the music. Gave it some more space. Added some disco feels too, a wah wah and orchestra string stabs.”

TJ: “What it comes down to is what the song tells you to do. We are building a follow up LP to ‘Reflect’ right now. And yes, the sound morphed again to another place. The song tells you what to do.”

With you both being in different parts of the country, what is the process like when you’re writing music? How much do you bounce around ideas with each other?

TJ: “I’ll come up with song demos and add them to a folder. Joe goes in and creates grooves, percussion adds, finalizes arrangements, and any other hooks we need. And determines which ones flow for an album. Right now there are over one hundred songs in there!”

Joe Z: “When we demo a track, I’ll create drum and percussion parts in my home studio in LA and send them back to TJ in NYC.”

Where do you find inspiration for the music and/or lyrics?

TJ: “For me, song themes emerge if I’m able to capture enough of the sound, even if it’s just a loop to be able to return to later. The sound, tempo and ryhtym make words appear. I’ll listen to instrumental demos and let my mind wander, basically. (laughs)”

“Some songs happen fast from start to finish. ‘Reflect’ I had arranged with all the music on a demo but no vocals. Then one day on an empty highway during Covid. I drove to it and finished all the lyrics and melodies in twenty minutes. From Houston st on FDR drive to Yankee Stadium and the Major Deegan highway in the Bronx. Fast. Done. The overcast skies that day helped push the mood through, for sure.”

Do you have a favourite time or place to write music?

TJ: “If it’s a new idea, no. It can be anywhere. Any time. But has to be alone of course. And with an ability to record the idea, even by voice memo. But it’s more fun to grow the track post demo phase, once we both get in a room together.”

Joe Z: “We are working on an LP right now and yes, for the first time since Covid, have been able to record in the same room together. Songs have been built from the ground up this round with producer Justin Ripley.”

TJ: “Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. Writing new parts, altering keys, adding new lyrics. All together in one room.”

Joe Z: “The songs have grown in ways we never would’ve imagined from just hearing the demos.”

TJ: “It’s been exciting for sure.”

How do you think that social media impacted the band?

Joe Z: “Social media has kept us in contact with friends of the band across the country whom we’ve met through touring. And for that it’s been great. As well as alerting people of news like album releases.”

TJ: “I wish I could ask people who follow the band what THEY think about how we’ve impacted things (laughs)”

What is your goal as a band, both short term and long term?

TJ: “The goal is to make the best songs we can make and then keep topping them.”

Joe Z: “To keep growing, having fun, and get the music out there.”

What do you know now that you wish you would’ve known when you were starting off?

TJ: “This question makes me think of Ooh La La by the Faces (laughs). The answer is, too much. But all are awarded with in this life is the live and learn perspective. Hopefully we’ve learned more about what NOT to do (laughs).

Joe Z: “We have and we haven’t – lol.”

TJ: “Well, at least we’re lovable idiots.”

What are you currently working on that you can share with us?

TJ: “As we mentioned before, we are working on another album. A full length with producer Justin Ripley out in Glass-ell Park (LA). The record is a return to in person recording. And the first time we’ve ever built songs up from nothing.”

Joe Z: “In the past we’d go off the demos and even use some of those performances to mix in with studio takes.”

TJ: “‘Reflect’ was like that. A home studio job we were forced to apply during Covid. When face to face interactions were a no no. This new LP though, we’ve built up from scratch.”

Joe Z: “It’s given a license to each song to have it’s own personality. Tracking is set to be completed by May.”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

TJ: “There are a lot of good bands up there but pick one? Ok let’s say, ‘A Song About You’ by Postindustrial Poets. Very Dave Davies…”

Joe Z: “The chorus melody and string part are good.‘Losing Touch’ by Heart Sauce has that feel and mood.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“Samuel Limata ‘Cut It Off’. The sound is airy, gives the vocal room and is mixed well. It’s catchy pop, has clear vocal hooks and smart lyrics. Good guitar riff too.”

Written by: leancool20

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