Zombie Picnic is one of Limerick’s best known prog-rock bands. The 4 piece instrumentalists have taken the Limerick scene by storm with their ecclectic sound mixing 70’s progressive guitar and throwing amazing modern samples over to create the sound that makes them so special. Jokingly describing themselves as ‘Timetabled stupid behaviour’ we can see the band is a group of committed musicians who just enjoy making music. Fresh out of their first gaffa tape, the release of their second EP on vinyl and back from a string of gigs nationwide, The Limerick Magazine caught up with drummer Brendan Miller.
Tell us, how did Zombie Picnic come together?
We formed the band in 2012. Jim, Dave and I have played music together for over 10 years in bands under different names and styles. We decided we wanted to start something fresh and in a different direction to what we had done before, something with a lot of texture and a bit darker. We didn’t really know what that would sound like, but we signed our buddy Brian up on bass and got to work on creating stuff in our practice space. It’s been a lot of fun trying to come up with something that we enjoy playing and challenges us as musicians.
With such a diverse sound you all must have some pretty serious inspiration, who are the influences behind Zombie Picnic?
Our influences are pretty varied; I’m into stuff like QOTSA, Mogwai, PJ Harvey and Mark Lanegan. Jim (guitar) is the biggest Prog head in the band and is in to Porcupine Tree, Spock’s Beard, King Crimson and Pink Floyd. Brian (bass) is into Metallica, Slayer, and Mastodon. Dave (guitar) is the other main Prog head but into stuff like Gomez and Ryan Adams too.
The first Vinyl release this month must have been quite a special moment for the band, can you tell me about the process?
When we did the first album, we had said for the next one, we would step it up production wise and doing things like pulling the trigger and getting the vinyl. We are all vinyl heads so more than anything we wanted to see it on vinyl. We would normally make the music as the base layer and then use voice effects and voice actors to give it an extra layer on top of it, to set the mood, to give it the futurism vibe we were going for. We knew we were going to do it on vinyl so we split the record up, the first half is our two longer compositions and that’s the futurism thing, then the second half is four shorter snappier songs for us, which are under 6 minutes – that is very short for us. Those are like our ‘pop’ bits. We all have big Prog and Post Rock influences so it is very prog to split the album into two like that. It is very much an album where the track listing was designed for vinyl. We sat down and had band meetings with gallons of coffee so we could get this the way we wanted it to be. On top of this we were trying to get the art work right to reflect how it sounds also.
Do you find it has been hard as independent musicians to come this far?
It is enjoyable; there is a lot of work involved in it. We like doing it. You have to be motivated to do it yourself which is good. I’m studying in supply chain management in college at the moment as well so I am trying to juggle lots of stuff. It is enjoyable and we wouldn’t do it if we weren’t passionate about it!
What is next on the cards for Zombie Picnic?
Playing Cork in May, then we are going to be looking at playing a few shows in Dublin and Galway. Anywhere that will have us! We are trying to play as much of the country as possible, it is all still being worked out so hopefully we will have a bit of a tour organized by the time this comes out!
Article by: Cathal Ryan
Photography by: Robert Parma
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