Describing music as the equivalent of breathing, Pittsburgh, PA band Reign of Z live for the thrill of performing. Led by Frontwoman Zosia West, their sound is a dark trip of heavy guitars, bi-polar vocals, which go from vicious to beautiful in the blink of an eye, brought to life by sincere lyrical content.
An act you could easily envisioned out on the road with the likes of In This Moment, their tenacious drive continues to lead them to new heights with the release of their latest EP, Mirrors and Memoirs. Produced by Steve Sopchak, who has worked with the likes of Ice Nine Kills, it is all anchored by the spine-tingling “Reflections,” a track which also features a blistering music video. Excited to bring the music to the masses, Zosia West sat down to discuss the influences of the band, the story behind “Reflections,” plus more.
Cryptic Rock – Reign of Z has been hard at work touring around the USA and building a following for some time now. For those unfamiliar with the band, how did it all start for you?
Zosia West – We were actually an adsorption of different bands. I recently left a project and was thinking of relocating. Zach came from a band and Berg, Blink, and Nick were one band, and they adsorbed into Reign of Z. I have been performing since I was 3 in musical theater and started in Rock bands at the age of 15. Zach started playing guitar at 14 with the influence of his dad and Berg started playing when he was 13. Blink and Nick have been playing since 13 years old in miscellaneous projects.
Cryptic Rock – It sounds like as if the roots run deep for the band. Reign of Z is a mix of Hard Rock and Alternative Metal with dark undertones. What has inspired the band’s musical direction?
Zosia West – The bands direction is fusing from our influences. For me it’s Marilyn Manson, Evanescence, and In this Moment. For Zach it’s Breaking Benjamin and Sevendust. For Berg it’s the band Isis, Eric Clapton, and Eyehategod. For Blink it’s Silverchair, Bongzilla and Jeff Buckley. For Nick, Insane Clown Posse (ICP).
Cryptic Rock – Wow, that is a very diverse mix of influences. The band just released a brand new EP, entitled Mirrors and Memoirs. Four songs in total, what was the writing and recording process like?
Zosia West – We never had a producer before, so we had to add two new band members Justin Spaulding and Steve Sopchak who did the new Ice Nine Kills album; they helped us reformulate and become better writers and visionaries of our project. Overall the experience was fun and we’re very proud of our EP. This was four chapters of my life so I had to go back and redirect the writing with Steve to mature the content.
Cryptic Rock – Very interesting. Featured on the EP, “Reflections” recently had a music video released. A very passionate song, the video is also quite well done. What is the story behind the song and the music video?
Zosia West – “Reflections” was about my journey when I lived out in CA and was in an abusive relationship that almost cost me my life. When I was in the hospital I wrote this song… the song is to implement about breaking yourself or the behavioral pattern of the abuser and finding the strength to make positive healthy decisions in your life.
Cryptic Rock – It sounds very personal and something a lot of people can relate with on various levels. With the new EP out, what is next for Reign of Z?
Zosia West – Currently we’re in the process of booking a tour and getting back in the studio for new material.
Cryptic Rock – That sounds exciting. As stated, there is certainly a darker vibe to the music of Reign of Z. Are the darker elements of art something that attract you, and where could you see the music going in the future?
Zosia West – Myself, I am a dark person. I struggle to be happy, it’s a foreign concept to me. Zach is our happy care bear. Berg, Blink and Nick are their own entity, and we have to fuse it all together. We will go in the direction of where we’re at in our life. Our songs and our vibes are life experience.
Cryptic Rock – That diversity is good for the music. Working as an independent band can be a challenge, but also full of freedom. From your experience thus far, what would you say you have learned from being a part of a working band?
Zosia West – I don’t think people realize how much money goes being in a DIY band with record labels not signing and everyone wants to be paid, you really hemorrhage money. We all save and put all of our money into this. You have to truly love what you do because it’s a money pit and you may not get your investment back.
Cryptic Rock – Right, but hopefully it all pays off in the end. Last question. Beyond music, Cryptic Rock also covers movies, particularly the Horror and Sci-Fi genres. If you are a fan of these genres, do you have any favorites and why?
Zosia West – I love The Evil Dead (1981), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Gremlins (1984), and Edward Scissorhands (1990); I’m a huge Tim Burton fan. Berg loves the show Happy! on Syfy and he loves Slasher pics and Michael Myers. Blink loves Child’s Play (1988). Nick just likes ICP, and Zach doesn’t like Horror or Sci-Fi.