ABOUT THE BAND
ZEISS AND THE NEW YORK SOUND
Zeiss & The New York Sound, a Tour de Force blending the best in Classic Americana with a Soulfully Alternative twist!
Zeiss, a truly gifted singer with an all star cast of instrumentalists, cook up a exceptional gumbo of sound for everyone from the casual listener on the street, to the audiophile connoisseur in the record store, you won’t want to miss their epic live show, the action doesn’t let up, the songwriting intimate, the playing heartfelt and energy that hits all the right receptors!
– Maxwell Peters (Planet Of Sound Promotions)
The sound was intentional and strategic to ZATNYS. “Compared to other groups I’ve played with,” Zeiss says, “I believe this sound is well spaced and more experienced.” It’s based on the musical melting pot that is New York, which, in Zeiss’ eyes, is the center of it all. “It’s safe to say I’m prideful,” he says of his home state.
The group’s first self-titled album, “Zeiss and the New York Sound” is led by Zeiss’ zeal for capturing the musical energy that is uniquely New York. “I took serious time with this music and aimed for a specific sound and vibe. I’m always proud of my work and like the end product, but when it comes to this project, I’m in love.”
The band naturally spends a great deal of time together bonding and becoming a brotherhood. This, Zeiss says, “is the only way to create great music together.” The boys are fans of music-makers like Sturgill Simpson, and the throw-back feel that Tyler Childers and Colter Wall bring to their recordings.
“There are a few artists in my particular genre that I find inspiring because they aren’t afraid to go against the grain,” Zeiss says. “Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats are a particular favorite of mine. The energy they deliver is something of yesteryear. You just don’t see that anymore. It’s a rockabilly punch with 60s R&B feels.The moment I first saw them perform on The Tonight Show, I saw an opportunity to share my own style and energy.”
Performing has been in Zeiss’ blood since childhood. Born Matthew John Zeiss on April 6, 1987, the singer was raised in Lindenhurst, New York in a house filled with music.
Zeiss’ parents met 1980; his mother was romanced by tales of his father’s trip to see Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. The couple married within three months.
This early success on stage influenced Zeiss to continue with his budding passion for live performance. ”Since I was little, I’ve always loved the live element. Being onstage is an exciting exchange of energy, not just for myself and the audience, but for the guys on stage,” he says of the experience. “Everybody in the room is feeding off each other. The more we give them, the more they give us and so on. It’s a preacher / church relationship.”
Other major influencers who were to play a powerful part in Zeiss’ early years included names like Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Tom Jones, and New York-native Billy Joel. As a youngster, Zeiss spent countless hours studying and imitating the unique sound of each artist, each one forming stylistic building blocks for his own sound that would develop in time.
After graduating high school in 2006, Zeiss began to devote himself to writing and recording his own music. “Back then, the music I was producing was less finessed,” he says of his early work. “It didn’t have the depth that I’m able to weave into it now.”
In July of 2010, Zeiss recorded his first single at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis. His choice of song was a modern take on “That’s All Right”, originally recorded at Sun Studio by Elvis Presley on July 5, 1954. In Zeiss’ unique recording of the song, he includes lyrics from Presley’s B-Side, “Blue Moon of Kentucky”.
Songwriting has been at the forefront of Zeiss’ music since his youth. For the last decade, he’s collaborated with Nashville producer Sean Power of The Hilson Studio.
Creating music and melodies is different for each artist. What’s Zeiss’ secret? “Aside from a little cannabis assistance and a legal pad, songs seem to develop as little sparks that pop out of situations,” he laughs. “I’ll have a lyrical lightbulb switch on, and I’ll build from there with some imagery in mind, and eventually pair it with a melody.”
Zeiss released his debut album “Last Train to Rock N Roll” in 2012, a compilation of his own work that took nearly two years to complete.
What’s ahead for the man and the band? “Honestly, as a New Yorker, playing Madison Square is the ultimate dream for me, it’s the big, big top. But until then, I’m in my element now as I continue entertaining people and getting to do what I love the most.”
From the moment he heard the first chord of The Osmonds “Crazy Horses”, Eric knew he was born to play the guitar. Dressing up as Donny Osmond for most of his youth he began playing local carnivals and side shows as the “Incredible Little Don”, eventually finding inspiration in other groups such as Hanson, Spice Girls, and Ace of Base, Eric decided to make guitar his full time passion.
Gary was born unexpectedly in the clarinet department of a Guitar Center. He was raised by a pack of coyotes who had but one CD in their den’s collection, Los Lonely Boys 2004 self titled debut. Gary found his first guitar at Alec Baldwin’s garage sale and continues to practice his craft while howling at the moon.
Making his first bass out of a tissue box and old rubber bands, Ed felt the funk. Aspiring to be like his musical idols Uncle Kracker, Missy Elliot, and Billy Ray Cyrus, he practiced day and night while rocking a mullet. Busking the local King Kullen grocery chain with his tissue box, he was often tipped with recently chewed gum and overripe bananas. Fighting against the odds he peddled backwards uphill for no apparent reason other than just enjoying the struggle. Without the good fight he wouldn’t be the funky fink he is known as today.
At the age of 5, John, mistaken as a holiday mannequin, was cast as the little drummer boy in his village nativity scene. On his 18th hour in the cold he began to shiver causing a rhythm he took a liking to. After three weeks of thawing out, he asked his parents for a drum set, they refused. Using an old prosthetic leg, an empty box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, a broken beer bottle, and chop sticks, John began his musical journey.