Music

New Detroit Act Vazum Merges Post-Punk and Grunge on "What a Lovely Time" (premiere)

Detroit-area drummer Zach Pliska takes on mic duties for new post-punk project, Vazum.

After years spent manning the drum kits for myriad Detroit-area bands, Zach Pliska has stepped to the fore as frontman for his new goth-tinged project VAZUM. Ahead of debut seven-song EP, VAZUM has unveiled a music video for the mini-album's closer, "What a Lovely Time".

Featuring Pliska running from an unseen assailant, the video was shot in the snow-blanketed landscape of rural Michigan, an appropriate setting for the tune's icy demeanor. Chilling and urgent, the song's percussion pummels while being cut through by melodic, angular guitar lines. It's firmly in the post-punk tradition, albeit with a grungy '90s veneer. Politically charged lyrically, the song sarcastically addresses the current political climate and ponders the pros and cons of technological advancement. With a venomous sneer, Pliska even addresses Donald Trump directly in spitting "you ignorant, prejudiced, bigot, bully".

Pliska, drummer in FUR, George Morris & the Gypsy Chorus, Le Voyage, and VSTRS, formed VAZUM in 2017. He plays all of the instruments on the Zach Shipps-recorded EP, but performs live with a full band.

"I started playing other instruments to try to get closer to the music," Pliska said of his new role. "Playing drums can be one dimensional; you hit a wall at a certain point. The time I invested in piano and guitar gave me a different perspective. I wasn't interested in learning songs and practicing scales, though — I was excited to create. I went through a series of ideas of what type of band I wanted to form and settled on a rock band with guitars. That excites me the most."

Pliska began working on demos off and on for the past few years. The project galvanized in the summer of 2017, when a planned session to record one song grew into seven.

The video was directed by Tim Jagielo under his production moniker Y/Y/L.

"It's about battling with oneself," Pliska said of the video's concept. "The same qualities that make someone great can be very self-destructive. Jagielo and I decided the pursuer would not be shown, as if I'm being chased by my own demons. I liked the idea of being chased by a car, similar to the 'Karma Police' video which was inspired by one of my favorite movies, 'Lost Highway'. I originally wanted to be hanging upside down from a tree while singing. I'm not sure where that idea came from, but it's the first image that came to mind when hearing this song. Unfortunately, we didn't have a strong enough rope."

The eponymous EP is streaming on Soundcloud and will be available for download on digital formats on 10 February.


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