What’s better than coffee and rock bands? Getting the chance to sit down with a local band for an interview. She Pulled the Trigger agreed to sit down and discuss their music and their band dynamics. The band is comprised of Chris Zell (lead vocals), AJ Lopez (rhythm guitar), Nick Zell (drums), Tyler Travis (bass), and Patrick Kearney (lead guitar). After everyone was seated and coffee, Nutella lattes, and strawberry milkshakes were ordered, the interview began.
Rock Documented: What is the brief history of the band? How it came about?
Chris Zell: Since 2011 Nick and I had a band called ZELL that was just, you know, going around. Like we would like to wait for other bands to break up and then steal whoever their best member was and add them to our band. That’s how we got Tyler, and then we got Pat. He actually hit me up first when I was already considering asking him to join anyway, conveniently. So that worked out pretty well. Because it was a three piece for a while, just like bass, me playing guitar and singing, and Nick on drums. And then everyone always said, “oh you should have like two guitars for a fuller sound.” And we did that. And then I just focused on singing live. My guitar parts were always pretty complex with the singing at the same time, that started getting…I mean it’s a better show when the singer isn’t playing guitar. So then we found AJ. He was in Within the Outbreak. He broke out of Within the Outbreak and now he’s “Without the Outbreak”, and he’s now the newest member. So he’s learning all of my guitar parts that I was playing so that I could just sing live. So yeah, that was I guess five years from when we officially started ZELL till now. Also, From Ashes to New ‘s founder Matt Brandyberry kind of took us under his wing for a little while. About two years ago he told us that he always noticed our drive, and he’s like ten years older than us, but he noticed our drive and told us that he didn’t want to see us waste all of our drive, so he gave us some tips. We then changed the band name to something more marketable and it just kind of took off from there. Cause before we just played a lot of shows, we didn’t really have any music videos. We didn’t have professional recordings necessarily, we had some, but they were scattered about. We weren’t as organized. So when we kind of like, got our shit together, as far as the online facade, then everything else became a lot easier, and things kind of just started rolling from there.
RD: How would you classify your music?
CZ: We just refer to it as rock. Rock and roll, because I personally think that the subgenre categories are just stupid. Everyone is like, “oh I’m metal core, death metal, or black metal. Blah blah blah…” Really? You have a band name for that. You don’t need to have two band names. Like this band name and this subgenre of music. Jazz, pop, rock, rap or EDM, those are some categories of music. Every artist should have their own sound within their general category. You don’t need to have a whole subgenre category that just describes your style. You just need to be yourself.
Patrick Kearney: I just tell people that we’re a rock band and if you go so far, you could say that I’m rock slash metal and that’s as far as I go.
AJ Lopez: It’s like pop…pop punk rock, metal, like no. That’s just stupid.
Tyler Travis: They can argue the label themselves.
CZ: Yeah people can call it what they want, but it’s She Pulled the Trigger.
RD: What are your biggest influences both musically and as a band?
CZ: It’s kind of an ironic thing, but our struggle to create successful music that people enjoy that motivates them, is what we write about. So our songs are like our own anthem of motivating ourselves to do what we do and then we generalize the message into a form where they can affiliate it with whatever their personal goals are to motivate themselves.
Nick Zell: As far as what sound or like, who we are trying to sound like, we all have our different people that we look up to and it all just comes together.
CZ: Yeah, we don’t try to do anything, we just kind of make what feels right and our personalities create the style.
RD: What is the process for when you write your music?
CZ: I guess the process is I would write rhythm guitar and singing together and then me and Pat would jam riffs a lot. It starts with like, the guitars and once we have some riffs that we think are solid enough, ‘cause like ninety percent of material gets trashed because we want to have the most elite of all the riffs we write. So once we have the things that we are happy with, that we think are really powerful, we take it and show Nick. He’ll jam to it and adjust it from there with the energy from the drums. Tyler comes in and works with the drums as well.
TT: Yeah, I work on my parts with the drums.
CZ: Once we have that all down, the vocals will kind of get reinvented with whatever we have finalized.
RD: What was the process for 10,000 Worlds Away? Where did you get the idea from?
CZ: Well as far as the title, there’s a book called Hero of a Thousand Faces that Disney used to have all of their produces read, and pretty much everyone in Hollywood references it as far as the hero journey. Every successful screen play throughout history follows the same process of that journey. It’s about a main character and how they overcome certain things. There’s a whole order to it that…it would be too complicated…
PK: Too complicated to explain, yeah.
CZ: Yeah, too complicated to explain right now, but through mythology 10,000 is kind of like a…
PK: Significant number.
CZ: It has meaning for like spiritual things. 10,000 Worlds Away is like the first step in the hero journey, where the hero is…You’re 10,000 worlds away like in a spiritual route, discovering who you are, and the next step after that is where you come back and change the world with the new powers that you’ve learned. But this is our debut, so 10,000 Worlds Away where we are finding our power, establishing our sound, and then the next album we make will be this kind of ‘return to Earth’ as far as the hero reference.
RD: What are your short term and long terms goals as a band?
CZ: Short terms goals are to put on a hell of an EP show. Kick some ass there. We’re going to have a bunch of filming there…And long term is that we want to just keep growing our brand, keep getting the name out as much as we can, so that we can become an unstoppable rock force that will just influence a lot of younger artists. Rock music has kind of like a negative vibe through the 90’s and stuff with like suicide and depression, and we touch on that, but we kind of give it a spin of hope. Say that maybe you’re in a dark time, but you can come out of it, here’s a way to escape that. Not just like, “oh, everything is so dark, everything is so evil, and blah blah blah…” that’s so negative. We’re saying that, here is your way out. Stand up and fight. You think that you’re living on the edge? Well you need to take yourself higher because we know that on the inside you’re dying to shine. You need to use your battle scars to stand up and fight. It comes full circle.
PK: The EP in a nutshell. I think also for long term too, we are looking to go on a bunch of tours and put out more albums. We definitely want to put out another album.
RD: How do you go about promoting your shows, music, etc.?
CZ: Social media is our big outlet. We spend a lot of time talking to fans daily. We answer as much fan mail as possible. Um…Twitter is our number one outlet and we try to answer as many people as possible. We still have to work regular jobs and we could possibly get to everything if we didn’t have to work, but we try to answer as much as we can. YouTube is the number one thing because, you can hear the music and see it.
PK: Talking to people is big too. Talking to people is our biggest thing. We love talking to people and we like interacting with the people that connect to our music.
CZ: And we learn a lot from talking to people. We learn from it. It makes us better.
RD: What are some of your favorite musical memories?
TT: I’ll take the lead. My favorite one was playing Lizard Lounge opening for Launch Music Fest, packing up the van and headlining for a show in New York.
CZ: They made us start playing before they even opened the doors, for some reason. So we played the first song for like no one, and then after the first song was over, the place was completely packed.
TT: And then we headlined New York.
PK: I think my favorite memory that I have to date would definitely be when we played back in December and opened for Trapt and Fuel at the Chameleon Club. We were wandering backstage and we started to talk to Trapt. “Are you guys Fuel?” And they were like, “no, we’re Trapt.” So we were partying with Trapt for like an hour backstage. So that was probably my favorite memory so far was hanging out with them. That was fun.
RD: Where can fans find your music? Spotify, ITunes, etc.?
CZ: All of it. Anywhere you go.
PK: Pretty much anywhere online you can find it. If you’re looking for videos or something to watch, defiantly YouTube.
RD: Any other shows planned for the summer?
PK: Right now we have the EP release party planned, as far as shows that’s something we are going to be working on with our manager because we want to make sure that when we play a show that’s important, there’s going to be exposure, and is going to be a lot of fun for everyone to come out to. So as far as shows, we’re not really saying what we’re looking to do just yet, but we’ll say that later.
CZ: Yeah, nothing’s officially booked yet, we’re just focusing on the EP show right now.
RD: What is your advice for young musicians?
TT: Keep going.
AL: Don’t stop.
TT: Keep challenging yourself, keep growing. The typical stuff.
AL: Don’t get comfortable either.
CZ: To earn anything you have to sacrifice something of equal or greater value. Like I was homeless for a while when we first started. I was living in a van but I’m still paid to record music even though I didn’t have a house or anything like that. There’s no easy way to do anything. Don’t look for a quick escape for anything. There’s no easy or quick way. It’s never going to happen overnight.
PK: Yeah I would definitely say if you have dreams keep fighting for them. ‘Cause I was homeless when we were recording Dying to Shine, you know? And I went to the studio and didn’t have a place, but I just got shit done. You know?
NZ: You got to make sure that all your other band members are on the same level.
AL: That’s why I left the other band.
TT: Yeah, he was serious and everyone else just treated it like a hobby.
AL: So I was like ‘hasta la vista’.
Thank you to She Pulled the Trigger for taking time out of their busy schedules to sit down for an interview. Be sure to check out their EP, 10,000 Worlds Away. Also look for our next post which will be an album review for 10,000 Worlds Away.