This week, I had a chance to sit and talk with Zach Filkins, the axe man behind pop rock masters, OneRepublic. Their upcoming album, Waking Up, will be released later this year on November 17th. Their first album, Dreaming Out Loud had all of hooked from day one with the single Apologize, which was later remixed and placed on producing mastermind Timbaland’s Shock Value.
Read ahead, as we talk about life on the road with Carolina Liar and Rob Thomas, the new album, Zach’s short lived modeling career, the future of the band, and more. We had a good time and have Chad at Total Assault for the hook up. Enjoy!
Flak:So hows life in the band right now?
Zach: *laughs* Uh life is awesome man, we’re transitioning… from the long breaks… we had an eight month break, and now we’re back on the road with tour buses, and airplanes, it’s like a shock to the system
Flak: Well of course. Did you catch a cold a little bit or what?
Zach: Well no, not yet… but it’s bound to happen *laughs*. It happens at least once.
Flak: Heh good, you’re taking you vitamins… So I’m thinking about the single you guys put out, All the Right Moves and it’s….. I definitely think it’s a step up musically, I mean just from the introduction of the keys and drums… I love it.
Zach: Awesome, yeah we like that song a lot.
Flak: Truth be told, this is the kind of song that has a girl make you go out and get One Republic tickets. You know, I said “I love em just from what they did with that Timbaland remix”, if you can even consider that a remix?
Flak: That’s actually how I got into you guys in the first place. Was hearing the Timbaland version (of Apologize)
Zach: Oh ok, yeah a lot of people… that’s kind of how it happened for them.
Flak: I’m kind of curious as well, as far as the Timbaland note goes, do you think that you’ll ever work with Timbaland again?
Zach: Ummm.. *he takes a few seconds to think about it* Yeah I think we would… Ryan talks to him every once in a while and Timbaland on this album he kinda just wanted to play the A&R role, and loves the album exactly how it is. But I think the next time around, it may not be a remix, and I know we are gonna put (a track) on Shock Value 2.
Flak: Oh so there is a Shock Value 2?
Zach: Yeah he’s working on Shock Value 2 right now; so we’re gonna put a song on there but it’s…it’s probably not gonna be the same thing like we did with Apologize; a remix type thing. It’ll be a little more separate.
Flak: Wait so, you guys are getting ready to start the tour soon…I think..today isn’t it?
Zach: Ahh well actually we’ve been on tour with Carolina Liar and Rob Thomas for about ten days now, so yeah it’s still pretty fresh.
Flak: So what would you say so far this year has been a highlight as a band, and personally?
Zach: In 2009 I think our highlight as a band…has been the success of the song (All the Right Moves) so far. I mean it was just recently released so it’s still a young song, but so far we’ve gotten a great response from it. And everyone except for Germany is using it…they are using a song called Secrets, another song of ours as a first single, because we have a movie collaboration in Germany and that song is shooting straight to the top, and is moving faster than Apologize.
So yeah we like talking about that excitement, and not only have we finished a new album, but we have something fresh to tour on, and other people are really picking up on it too.
Flak: Right, and from what I’ve heard that’s true (in response to him saying that everyone is picking up on it). I mean I’ve literally heard it bumped in people’s cars.
Zach: Perfect! That’s good to hear people are diggin’ it cause you never know… we changed it up a little bit, we’ve got a little more… edgy and a little more up-tempo with things. You always wonder, and I don’t want to confuse anybody, and we don’t want to lose the fans we have…just pick up new ones.
Flak: Exactly. And that’s as a band, but what about yourself?
Zach: Myself, the highlight for me in oh-nine personally was the first half of oh-nine, when we were working on the album, but I was spending a lot of time at home with my wife.
Flak: Oh Good!
Zach: Yeah, and that was really awesome cause that was the first time that I’ve spend a lot of time with her since we started touring with Dreaming Out Loud; and we were going for a good…year and a half, two years . And I missed her you know? I missed being around for a while.
Flak: Yeah and I know music sometimes gets in the way of things.
Zach: It does, it does, and this time around I got to get away from it for a while, and just hang out with her… it was awesome.
Flak: *then I digress for a minute* So… tell me about this modeling career of yours.
Zach: *laughs* Ummm… well that was weird, and I could never make up my mind I guess with what I want to do in life. I started in aeronautical engineering in college, and after a couple years decided that I wanted to move back to Colorado and go to college there to study kinesiology and music. Then I got into that for a couple years. But right before graduation, I said “you know what? I want to try modeling” so I just dropped out and I moved to Chicago, because I had friends there and it was a big enough city where they had agents and so I picked up a lease and my modeling agency.
I was with them a couple years and was doing catalogue and a little bit of runway and stuff, and just chillin in Chicago. And that was the modeling thing…and I kinda got that out of my system a little bit, and then that was when Ryan called, and said “I think we should move to L.A. and start the band thing”. And I said “perfect”, you know, because I kinda got the modeling thing out of my system and was ready for something a little more substantial, and that was the music thing.
Flak: So I guess it was the hobby thing.
Zach: Yeah I mean it was fun; it was a fun way to make a living for a while and… I dunno I always think runway… I didn’t do a lot of runway, I did more catalogue… but runway was a cool artistic expression and a different artistic expression, which was kinda cool.
Flak: So I wanted to ask, I heard you speak fluent Spanish, is that correct?
Zach: *laughs* that’s correct.
Flak: Ah ok, because I’ve been to a couple concerts where the artists do other versions of a song in a different language like….he does the French thing… Jason Mraz, who does French versions of his songs. Do you guys ever think you’ll do a Spanish version of a song live?
Zach: That would be interesting. We’ve never really thought about that. We talked about maybe writing a few songs in Spanish, but I don’t know man, for now I don’t think I could be a lead singer *laughs*. You know what I mean? I don’t know if I could lead sing that song in Spanish. Background vocals I’m cool with, but I dunno.
Flak: Right, no that’s fair.
Zach: Usually if we are in South America or Spain or something, I’ll say something to the crowd, and that’s fine cause they don’t really expect me to speak Spanish, so it’s a fun surprise. But that’s about it.
Flak: Definitely. And one last question for you sir. Anything that, you know, seeing as I’m from Behindthehype.com, is there anything behind the scenes that most people don’t know about (with the band)? Something positive of course.
Zach: About the band?
Flak: About the band, about the tour, about anything that’s going on that’s musically oriented. Maybe, what albums you’re currently into right now or… Maybe you have a pump up song before your shows?
Zach: *he sighs heavily…good thing it was the last question* Behind the scenes. Yeah there is something not many people would know… is the direction we’re going in within the next year or two… and that is that traditionally a band would write an album with ten songs or so… write it, tour on it for a couple years then take a year off then put another album in. But we what are trying to do I think is to start writing shorter albums and put them out sooner.
So I really think what we are gonna try to do is write songs while on the road with the previous album take a small break and then put out another shorter album right away. I think fans would appreciate it more.
Flak: They would.
Zach: I think it would keep our artistic expression up to date, and keep things moving a little faster. So that’s kinda a behind the scenes look. Maybe put out an album every year and a half.
Flak: And that’s good because lot of fans, like myself, have hear bands like The Mars Volta talking about sometimes because of the label they can’t put out an album fast enough because the labels wants to wait until nine months after its been completed; so it’s very good that you guys are taking initiative.
Zach: Yeah well we have our laptops, and we have a lot of downtime on the road. Technology is crazy now; you can travel the world and write songs at the same time.
Flak: Exactly! Awesome, well thanks Zach; hopefully I’m going to run into you guys at Universal City Gibson Amphitheatre.
Zach: Yeah man, hope to see you there. Take it easy.
And there you have it kids. Zach was a stand up guy, and I hope you’ve taken the time to listen to their most recent song, All the Right Moves. Check around for their tour, and maybe I’ll see you there.
Until next time my friends,