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Zorch! Austin’s Latest Noise Rock Band Making a Buzz

Zorch! Austin’s Latest Noise Rock Band Making a Buzz

Experimental rock duo Zorch has been making a name for themselves since they hit the Austin scene last year. And the buzz is only going to grow with their first full-length due out in the next month or so. Originating in Boston where Zac Traeger and Sam Chown attended school together at Berklee College of Music, the band started off as a couple of friends who would just rent practice space and rock out.

“We’d play for four hours straight, record it all, and then make little improvisational mixtapes. And then I moved back to Wisconsin where I’m from, Sam stayed here, and then after about a year we met up again in Austin,” Traeger said.


After some time, the two decided to take years of practice and friendship and form a band. They also decided that Austin was their city of choice.


“We didn’t necessarily want t live in New York or LA. At the time, my mom was telling me I should move to Austin, and I was getting a similar vibe from Zac, so it just happened,” Chown said.


With influences including Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective, Zorch’s self-described “experimental psychedelic electronic noise rock” is created with drums, percussion, omnichord, vocals, keyboards, knobs, computer, and vocals- making for an eclectic mix of tracks.


As far as their release, Traeger noted that the band is taking their time in order to create the best product possible and that they already have a number of songs to choose from. 


“Our latest songs are more vocal based. They’re not necessarily pop, but they’re coming from a more palatable place for everyone. And, we’re finding a good place musically to have seven to ten songs on an album that range from somewhere that anyone can appreciate, to somewhere that’s like this really crazy noise space adventure,” Traeger said.


Traeger and Chown, who both teach private music lessons outside of creating their own music, described their creative process behind their music as mostly improvisational.


“We’ll just play for extended amounts of time on end. And we record everything. Then we’ll make mixtapes out of them, and what these mixtapes are is that Sam goes and he makes up 10 to 20 three minute to ten minute tracks. We go and we listen to that. Some of the material we want to just recreate in a live setting, and some become very concrete ideas that turn into songs,” Traeger said. “A different way we go about it sometimes is since I use my computer in sampling a lot live, Sam or I will have certain ideas about ‘Okay, let’s sample this thing, this thing and this thing,’ and then create a world around it.”


Having just wrapped up their busiest month to date, including quite a few shows during SXSW, Zorch is only going to begin playing even more. 


“March has definitely been most intense month of our lives. It was a lot of fun; I loved it. We did New Orleans, San Antonio and Denton, and then it was SXSW. We played like 12 shows in a row in six or seven days,” Traeger said.


Zorch is also involved in a number of side projects, including a Rod Stewart cover band. Both Traeger and Chown said that they will release an additional eight to ten albums this year of side project material.


Check out what all the buzz is about. Catch Zorch this Friday (4/9) at Karibu Ethippian Restaurant & Bar at 1209 E. 7th Street.


--Melanie Wolfson




Published: April 08, 2010 |

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