Zachary Campos - "The key to improving as a musician is reflection." - Stereo Stickman

Zachary Campos “The key to improving as a musician is reflection.”


Prior to the release of his inspired new project The Prophet, creative musician Zachary Campos kindly took part in an interview. We talk about the stories behind the music, his progression as an artist over time, and plenty more. Here’s how it went.

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Hi Zach, thanks so much for the interview – and huge congrats for the upcoming album release. For those new to your music, how would you describe the way you create?

Hello and thank you very much! I’m very grateful to be here virtually. I appreciate the kind words regarding my upcoming album! I am extremely excited and incredibly nervous for it to drop.

For those new to my music, welcome. I create music by listening to other artists I love and then writing based on the emotions I am feeling at that current moment. I pride myself on being a lyricist first. Lyrics are the most important part of any song to me. Each project has had a different process.

For my album The Prophet I wrote the lyrics while listening to ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ by The Beatles and The Man In Black by Johnny Cash. Before recording the songs vocally, I made sure to memorize them in order to truly feel them. I thank my family for that suggestion because it totally paid off.

Whenever I create art I always want to make sure it’s inspired in every way and shape possible.

You refer to The Prophet as your best piece of art to date. What do you think has allowed you to reach this point at this particular time, as a professional creative?

That’s a phenomenal question! I think what has allowed me to reach this point at this time is the resilience I have had in the past year with everything I’ve been through. I am still standing strong and my creative brain is fortified.

The Prophet came from my true test as a human being. I have put my blood, sweat, and tears into my passion for music. I am so hungry for success and I want to make a name for myself as an artist. My work ethic is relentless and I have a good message! I’ve got something to say. I want the whole world to hear it.

The Prophet is a concept album about a prophet named Jeremiah who falls in love with a temptress. There’s a lot more to the story than that but I don’t want to spoil it. I’ll do my best throughout this interview!

Have your prior projects been an essential part of that learning curve, or have outside influences and experiences more notably shaped your approach and skill-set?

Most definitely. Every single project is a learning experience and a reflection of where you were at. It’s cool to look back on the projects you’ve created and reflect. The key to improving as a musician is reflection. I like going back to my old music and seeing the growth I’ve had. It’s crazy seeing how that growth is noticeable in where you were at emotionally during the creation of your art.

What has most shaped my skill set as an artist is studying music. I study artists endlessly in an effort to channel them. My favorite artists are 2Pac, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Pink Floyd, and Green Day. I listen to all genres of music and take bits and pieces of inspiration from amazing songs.

As a lyricist, I’m very inspired by Old School Hip-Hop. Old school Hip-Hop is sick because the technique of the MC’s at the time was insane! That’s how I want to be, regardless of whatever type of song I’m writing.

Last year’s EP Mandela Zen introduced both a simplicity and vastness of sound, organic with live drums and heavy bass, unique for its vocal style and poetic conceptualistic. Can we expect a similar aura from the new release, or not at all?

The Prophet shares a similar aura to Mandela Zen with new additions to the formula thrown in there. While the instrumentation for Mandela Zen was the same for each song, The Prophet mixes it up. The Prophet contains influences of indie rock, bluegrass, punk rock, and new wave.

The fantastic production was done by Josh Zuckermann and Tim J Abbott. Tim is actually a member of The Chocolate Watchband, AKA “America’s answer to The Rolling Stones”.

What sort of ideas are represented on The Prophet, and why did you feel so passionately inclined to explore these?

I’m honestly a little nervous to answer this question because this album is so personal, but I’m also excited to share why I’m so passionate about this album. The Prophet is a metaphor regarding my previous relationship. The album delves into some pretty heavy subject material. I won’t spoil it but it gets very real. It was hard to write, but it was also hard to go through that situation.

In my opinion, The Prophet covers two major themes. The first theme is how an intense relationship can quickly become destructive, and why somebody might want to stay in that relationship. The protagonist Jeremiah is a very damaged individual. Jeremiah’s true search is for purpose. He believes his purpose to be for his love interest the temptress, but that is not a healthy way to love somebody. Jeremiah loves her so much that, even though he knows they are not good for one another, he still doesn’t want to leave. It’s crazy. It’s one of those things that is so powerful you can’t really describe how it felt.

The second theme present in this album is faith. Jeremiah loses faith in himself, and it’s up to him to find it again. He can’t find that in a romantic partner. It is within him. It’s deep!

How about the musicality – is there a live band potential, or are things more electronically rooted?

I wrote this album to be performed live, so just me, the tracks, and a mic. Just like my favorite MC’S!

Which song from the new project would you recommend to new listeners who only have time for one, and why?

I’m currently promoting the 4th track off of the album titled Pain. Pain is a good starting point song for people unfamiliar with my music because it’s warm and inviting. It doesn’t delve into any subject matter that is too intense. Pain represents the point in the story where the relationship begins. Jeremiah begins to notice red flags, but waves them off due to the temptress’s physical beauty. It was inspired by Iggy Pop and The Strokes. It’s short, to the point, and cool.

Will there be video releases to accompany the music, and if so, what can you tell us about those?

Yup! I actually filmed the video for Pain not too long ago from the time I was writing this. I went outside to film at around 2 in the morning. Freezing cold! I needed to capture the feeling of the song.

Pain symbolizes Jeremiah beginning to get lost in the darkness. That needed to come across. I recorded it with my phone and did a long take type of vid. I’m really happy with how it turned out!

What’s the live scene like where you’re based for this kind of indie rock, and do you have plans to tour any further afield this year?

I need to do some more research and see how the indie rock scene is around me because I’m currently not sure. My plan for the near future is to go out and perform The Prophet in its entirety anywhere that will have me. I’m so excited for this next chapter of my life!

What’s something about you that fans might be surprised to hear?

I love video games! My favorite video game of all time is The Witcher 3. Dandelion rocks! I’ve never related more to a character. I’m currently playing God of War Ragnarok. So far I really love it. It’s the first game to ever make me cry.

Is there anything else we should know?

My next project is a 5 song EP and is already fully written. I just need to go and record the songs at the studio. It will be out sometime in 2023 and is a combination of Indie Rock, MC Hip-Hop, R&B, West Coast Jazz, and Emo. Be on the lookout!

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Grab the music here. Follow Zachary Campos on Twitter & Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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