It’s not been a bad year so far for ZOAX. They released their debut, self-titled album, toured with Funeral For A Friend and already have two festival performances under their belts. With Download Festival imminent, we caught up with the quintet to talk Kendrick Lamar, budget videos and wrestling (and a quick game of Would You Rather? – of course).

So you recently released your debut, self-titled album – but tell us something that we don’t know about it.

Adam: There’s a song about Kendrick Lamar on it, Alive In Sound, not many people know that.

And why Kendrick Lamar?

Doug: No, it’s not like Kendrick Lamar…

We didn’t say that!

D: Oh! I wish it was like Kendrick Lamar! [points to Adam] I wish YOU were Kendrick Lamar.

A: I fucking wish I was Kendrick Lamar too! No, because To Pimp A Butterfly was the best record that I’ve heard in I don’t know how many years. It’s the one. That’s something for us that I find is funny, because of the music that we’re making, that we’re writing about some famous rapper.

D: Also how do you say it? [makes several attempts to pronounce album track name Slàn]

A: Slayn, Slan, Slàn, it’s fucking goodbye in Irish.

D: Well that tune started as a riff of Adam’s that started like a Metallica B-side, and it now sounds completely different. [Turns to Adam] do you remember that?

Have you seen Kendrick Lamar live before?

A: No…

What! You are missing out.

A: YouTube has been the greatest thing of all time for me, for that. I’ve just spent all of my time watching videos of him.

D: Does he not come over to Ireland a lot?

A: Why would he come over to Ireland?

D: Does he not?

A: He is actually coming over to Ireland!

Well there you go!

A: He is, he’s coming over to Ireland next month. [Shouts to Jonny] Kendrick Lamar is coming to Ireland, we have to go!

Jonny: [Pause] we’re going to Ireland?

A: Yeah, for Kendrick Lamar! We’ll be in a field, with loads of Irish people…just me, you and Kendrick.

Let’s talk about the videos you’ve released from this album, specifically The Bad Blood. Was that filmed with a GoPro?

A: It was actually on a GoPro, in Brighton.

Do y’know what, Sean did mention this to us a while back but when we watched it we didn’t recognise any of the places to be in Brighton…

D: Well the outside parts are all in London, and then the practice room stuff was in Brighton. So the last time that we played here we missed our deadline for the video…

[Long pause…all start laughing…we get interrupted mid-interview]

Jonny, come over here! Should we carry on…?

A: Sorry about that!

No problem! So you GoPro’d the video, why did you decide to go so DIY on this video?

A: It was more deadline, and absolutely no money. That’s what it was.

Well it’s a great video.

A: So Jonny and Joe did all of the London shots with the big glowing ‘Z’, and then the practice rooms was more of “let’s just hang the GoPro off the roof and throw it around the place”. So it was a bit of fun!

J: If anybody watched back the footage from the video cameras in the practice rooms they must have thought that we were absolutely mental. We turn up first thing in the morning with the mic cable with the GoPro tied to it…what are these lads doing?! And then Joe phoned me and was like, are you free? I’ve got a giant, light up ‘Z’ and we need to shoot it in places.

Where did he get that from?

J: A friend of ours made it for us, so we just went around London. When we did the tube stuff, which was the last thing we did, we got on the tube and a couple of stops later some guy got on and was like “seriously, what the fuck is this thing?! I’ve seen it everywhere tonight.”

We are so close to Download Festival now, Adam you must love it in particular this year with the WWE NXT Live?

A: [really enthusiastically] Yeah!! That’s the fucking greatest thing about it.

Are you more excited about that than actually playing the festival?

A: Yeah!! Well, this is our third year and it’s definitely the best year – not just because of that – but all of the bands that are playing. Billy Talent, they’re one of my all-time favourites of all time.

J: We’re playing on a stage with HECK.

Yes that’s amazing!

A: We get to see Black Sabbath. I really love the festival vibe, all of the time. It’s the one!

When we saw that you were announced and we saw the WWE NXT Live announcement we were like, nobody will see Adam for the rest of the weekend…

A: Ohhhh yeah, I’m going to be right at the side – it’s the best!

Let’s talk about the Funeral For A Friend tour. You played two shows in every single city, was it nice to actually get to spend a decent amount of time in one place?

A: Definitely, so in every city we got to leave the gear after the first night and the next day was just turn up at like 5pm, or whatever. But yeah, it was great. The guys, well not really me and Jonny, but the guys got to see a lot of the places.

We heard that you guys may have got very drunk, and stayed up very late…

J: Naughty boys, past our bed time…

A: Yeah…

Well at least you got to see the nightlife! Those guys got to see the day life.

A: Their life is way better. No, if every tour could be that way it would be the fucking one.

Right, enough of the formalities, let’s play some “Would You Rather”. Would you rather live without elbows, or knees?

D: I would say without knees.

A: But knees you’re not going to be able to like…

D: Adam, you can never have a Tommy Tank again.

[Mate]: But you could use your foot…

D: Oh god!!

[Mate]: But you could still lie down, you wouldn’t want to eat like this [does impression]

D: I’ll do yours if you do mine.

[All laugh]

Well that’s the thing, you go with no elbows and you go with no knees and help each other out. Tag team! What about you Adam?

A: Well I was going to say that I would rather have my elbows, or maybe my knees but then I would want to be able to walk. But the lads have made a valid point…

[All laugh]

A: …valid point.

Next one…would you rather have a foot long nose, or a foot long tongue?

D: Foot long tongue!!

A: Tongue or toe?

Tongue or nose.

A: Oh…tongue. We’re all going to say tongue. That would work out better for everyone.

Would you rather be 4 foot 5, or 7 foot 7?

A: [points to Doug] he’s already 4 foot 5!

We KNEW you were going to say that! When we picked these questions we knew that somebody was going to mock somebody else with that one.

J: Well that’s because everybody else in the band is already over 7 foot.

So…what would you rather be?

A: [to Doug] so, what would you rather be Doug?

D: 4 and a half foot tall.

[All laugh]

Because he’s used to it!

A: Brilliant.

Adam what you would rather be?

A: Of course tall! I’m not auditioning for the next Hobbit movie like!

Thanks so much guys, always a pleasure!

Interview by: Hannah Gillicker

A 30-something year old journalist and freelance PR often found at a gig, a festival or holding a dictophone to a band and asking them all kinds of questions. I'm a sucker for whiskey and vinyl.