Meet the band, ZOID
Written by: Angelea Hengle
Living both in Richmond and Blacksburg throughout the year has granted me some great opportunities to explore both scenes. Out of Blacksburg/Virginia Tech comes a 4 piece set named ZOID. I got to sit down with Manny (singer), Ryan (bassist), Joey (drums), and Jonas (guitarist) to see how Blacksburg has influenced their sound and to find out what ZOID is all about.
First, what inspired the name ZOID?
Jonas: I felt that the shorter the band name is and the catchier the name is, the better. ZOID is short, sweet, and gets to the point. It’s short for trapezoid, freakazoid, or whatever you want it to be.
Manny: I thought it was too soon to be that cool, to be honest, but we had that one show at the Milk Parlor and everyone was just going “ZOID, ZOID, ZOID” and I thought wow that’s it.
How did y’all get together?
Ryan: We started as this other band called Big Frog and the Swamp, and it was me, Jonas, and three other guys. We hadn’t practiced in a while and so I texted everyone and found it became hard for people to make the time commitment, so it was just me and Jonas. I’m working at Starbucks one day on bar and Joey walks in and we just get to chatting about the band. Joey then goes if you ever need a drummer let me know, so then we had Joey in the band. I was talking about the band at work and Manny (who also works at Starbucks) asked if we needed a singer and wanted to audition. We then had auditions and it turned into a practice, so Manny was our guy.
What, and/or who inspires you to write? Who influences your sound?
Joey: I derive my drumming style from my DJing. I try to play to everyone else and amplify the band. I like to see where everyone is going so I can pull them together and drive them to be cohesive. I would say most of my inspiration comes from childhood friends who are sensational drummers.
Ryan: Jermaine Jackson, Nate Watts, John Paul Jones, Noel Redding, and Thundercat. I really appreciate and listen to a lot of bass-forward music. The best I can do is pull what sounds good out of it and try to figure out how they made it sound good and why it sounds good. It’s fun having the bass job; I enjoy having the foundation. You hear the guitar, but you feel the bass.
Jonas: Dean Ween (Ween) and especially old Ween, Jimi Hendrix (is a huge inspiration), and Jimmy Page. Dean Ween just has cool riffs and he just has swagger. When I recorded my solo albums, I took a lot from Ween, especially the first album.
Manny: I went to a same-sex religious boarding school for high school and I was in the choir. Before the choir, I would sing to what was on my phone, and I didn’t know I could sing properly until I was in the choir. I would sing to Adele, Bruno Mars, Hozier, Billie Eilish, Jon Bellion, and Donald Glover came a little later. At one point I got into rap, but that was more for the lyrics and the stories.
How does Blacksburg influence your sound?
Joey: I started playing music in Blacksburg before anything, it's my home and the people in it have influenced it more than anything. There’s definitely a Blacksburg sound and ZOID is right in there.
Ryan: We (Blacksburg) have a lot of fun indie bands. We’ve interacted with quite a few of the bands and there’s this common denominator of a lot of them being cover bands. A lot of them come from high school with their musical background and they don’t want to give up what they do in college. There’s also a handful of bands who are trying to be more than just a cover band like Bone Machine is great.
Joey: Mason from Parotia was the reason I started playing.
Jonas: I had never played a show until I got to Blacksburg. The Blacksburg scene inspired me to do things in Blacksburg. There are a lot of cool people and bands (here). The scene is small but dedicated. You can tell everyone here loves to play and it’s all about having fun and that’s why we make music.
Manny: I didn’t really have a sound before this, and then with ZOID we started writing more songs and that has influenced how I sound now.
Overall, the Blacksburg music scene itself has been an inspiration. After getting the chance to meet some other bands, you can tell that everyone just wants to uplift each other and play some good music with some good friends.
What would y’all say is the best part of performing?
All: Just performing itself and connecting with people. You can tell when everyone is enjoying what they’re hearing. When you’re putting on a good show and you see the crowd moving, dancing, and moshing that’s the best. When the crowd is having fun, the band is having fun. The best part is helping other people have fun, and being that catalyst for fun.
How would y’all describe your sound to a new fan?
Everyone: We’re a mix of punk, indie rock, and alternative. We try to do a little bit of everything.
How long have y’all been making music (together and separately)?
Jonas: We’ve been making music together since the beginning of last semester, so around September or October of 2022. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 10 but started practicing every day and taking it seriously when I was 17. I started recording when I was 18, I would record demos and put them up on Youtube. Then I graduated to making a full album over the winter break of my freshman year. I’ve been recording on and off since.
Manny: I started recording in 2020 during quarantine.
Ryan: I was in band in middle school, but the first time I picked up an instrument of my own volition was over quarantine, and I started with the guitar. I started learning bass a year after.
Joey: I started DJing in high school, that was my first intro to making music. Then I started playing drums with Sun Beam Station, and I just went from there.
Where do y’all see ZOID in the future, are there any plans?
All: We’re excited about the show on March 18th, and putting in the time at other local venues, especially the Milk Parlor. We need to start recording and getting music out on streaming platforms.
Ryan: My number one goal with the band is to have fun. If it’s not fun anymore it’s not worth it. I don’t want to try and get money or fame, my second goal is to get our music to as many people as possible. If you can spread your influence as far and wide as possible, all of the fame and money will come with that (if it does). It’s just about getting as far out as possible.
Jonas: I don’t want to necessarily be the most popular band, but people’s favorite band. I’d rather have a small group of dedicated fans that enjoy us than a lot of people who know about us but don’t care. We just try to be the most entertaining.
To keep up with ZOID and find out when they’ll be releasing music, you can find them on:
Blog Author - Angelea Hengle: Hey y'all! I'm Angelea and am super excited to be a part of this great team! I'm a recent graduate from DePaul University in Chicago, IL, and am so happy to call Richmond home again. I received my Bachelor of Science in General Management with also a double minor in Psychology and Music Business. In college, I was President of DePaul Dance Company and Co-Event Coordinator for DePaul Music Business Organization. Creativity and artistry have always been a part of who I am and I am so grateful to be in this amazing community.