By: ARCHER MICHAELS
The space that up-and-coming band Zealousy inhabits is sound-proofed with old shag carpets and scrap foam on the ceiling and walls. Old Christmas lights hang, giving the room a dark and dingy feeling.
Guitarist Cooper Scheid and bassist Zach Gattis set up their amps just as drummer and lead singer Jacob Gonzales-Butorac comes in carrying part of his kit. Before long, the band is all set and to start jamming.
The band’s sound is very minimalist, but technically complicated—Scheid starts off the jam with a rich major chord before shifting into a crazy tapping pattern, only to return to the rich major chords. Scheid’s hands move like white spiders up and down the fretboard with long sweeping strums or complicated finger taps that are often found in metal songs; he incorporates techniques from his background in heavy and classic metal into his now jazzy and upbeat playing.
Gattis’ melodic bass playing comes through well with Gonzales-Butorac’s jazzy drum style and R&B-esque vocals. The synergistic playing of the trio is a spectacle and something unheard.
Between Scheid picking up both rhythm and lead guitar on his seven string Ibanez, Gonzales-Butorac laying down his smooth vocals, and Gattis richly playing bass, the band brings a sound that is danceable and fun.
“It’s kind of like its own thing,” Gonzales-Butorac says. “We can get as loud and crazy as we want and make people bounce around.”
The band has certainly accomplished this. They mix genres, everything from groovy to fun. Though they have such different tastes, the sounds coalesce into something unforgettable.
“You got a gear-head mechanic over here who enjoys metal,” says the 20-year-old bassist, commenting on their musical backgrounds, “a prissy, fresh white boy who plays the bass, and this guy over here who can serenade anyone out of their clothes.”
Unlike Scheid’s metal influences, Gonzales-Butorac takes a more singer-songwriters approach, listing Bon Iver as his top influence. His drumming is jazz-influenced, while his singing is more R&B-oriented, albeit closer to rap than any traditional R&B.
“He may be a ginger, but he does have a soul,” Scheid jokes about his lead singer. “More soul than deep-fried okra!”
The band has a hard time defining their sound, from R&B, funk or funky-hip-hop-R&B. The band can’t decide. One thing they do know is that it’s different and makes people go, “Oh s**t.”
Zealousy has humble beings here in the Monterey music scene, but they have aspirations beyond this little slice of California. The band has since gone on to record three songs at Scorpius Sound in Inglewood, California. They plan on releasing the songs later this month on Youtube, Soundcloud and even Spotify.
Overall, the band’s chemistry is electric and the way they play brings a certain energy that no other band on the peninsula has replicated. The trio will have no problem stepping into the Monterey music scene. Gonzales-Butorac has been playing here for many years, most notably with former local band Earnest, then as a soloist before joining with the other members of Zealousy.
Scheid and Gattis both had stints as the bassist for the now-defunct band Nuclear Fuzz. Gattis was also the bassist for another broken-up local band, Glass House, replacing Carmel High School alum Bryce Bishop, before his return for the final show of Glass House earlier this year.
The band has combined into a groovy trio that lives up to its name. The drummer recalled the early days of their practices and long nights of songwriting and jamming. He describes the band’s passion and zealousness: they want to push themselves into the world and make themselves known.
Zealousy’s hard work comes through in the music and one can tell that they crafted a quality, superb sound that is sure to catch the ear of anyone.