Interviews: Tzarina

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Post-Hardcore band Tzarina from the USA. Check out this band and follow them on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

The idea came from an afternoon of watching terrible reenactments of the old Russian empire on a History Channel-esque documentary. I had always read a lot about the old Russian Czar’ (tzar), but in a specific reenactment in the documentary, had heard someone call the queen “Czarina.” I thought that there was something musical about it.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

As much as I’m a fan of all different types of music, my first love was always the heavier hardcore and alternative stuff. Bands like Deftones, Mastodon, Thrice, and The Dillinger Escape Plan were pillars of the music I listened to in my formidable years. Alongside them, it was having a love of experimentation and finding bands that really push the envelope in terms of their “genre”. Honestly, Nu-metal was a fun era for this and while most of the bands at that time were not so great - the good ones were on the next level in terms of writing and experimentation, and composition.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Mark (guitar/vox) and Mike (bass) did. They were in another band prior to this called Vertigo Drift for some time. I (Craig) met Mark a little while after they disbanded and got to talking with him about the music I was working on. We had a lot of similar interests in music, guitar, gear, etc. so we decided to start rehearsing some of that material together. He introduced me to Mike shortly after that and got to talking to him about the project, and what I wanted to do.

It was interesting for me because while they were interested in being a part of the project, they were okay with me taking the wheel and driving the project direction and the sound. They trusted me in a way I hadn’t really experienced with any bands prior.

Once the three of us decided to push forward, we reached out to everyone we knew to start looking for drummers. After a few duds and bad tryouts, we found Rob. He was proficient with learning the material but beyond that, was the most enthusiastic about being a part of the project so we asked him to join after one tryout. The rest is history.

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Craig - Jeff Buckley. Grace was an absolutely perfect record. From the songwriting and the talent to the production, engineering final mix. I remember hearing it for the first time walking down Broadway as a fresh 18-year-old college student and it stopped me in my tracks. Even though Grace was his only completed studio album, there is literally thousands of hours of recordings and footage of him touring and playing all over NYC and the rest of the world. By design, not one performance is exactly the same. Nuances he would add or take away or improvise made each recording its own special thing. To this day I’ll still be able to go hunt for Jeff Buckley recordings and find new stuff and it’s always inspiring.

Mark - Nine Inch Nails, City, and Colour, Thrice, (honorable mentions, Powerman5000)

Michael - I really hate this question because there’s so much brilliant music in the world that my taste and influence are constantly evolving throughout my musical journey. But since Tzarina is a rock band I’ll give you 3 rock bands from 3 different eras.

Pink Floyd - They rewrote the rule book and revolutionized rock music forever.

Linkin Park - One of my biggest childhood influences who has stayed with me through the years. Driven by powerful songwriting they shaped rock production for the next two decades.

Polyphia - They’re at the cutting edge of today's rock scene, pushing the boundaries of genre, and innovating more than most of today's rock bands.

All 3 of these bands embrace multi-genre influence, push the limits of music, and fearlessly create their own sound,; which makes me continue going back and listening to their records.

Rob - Coheed & Cambria and The Rolling Stones

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Inspiration for material comes from all over. With the tracks that were selected for the first LP (coming October 2023), it was drawing a lot from the feelings that I think we all dealt with during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It comes from real life - real joy, real pain, real creativity. This is probably why it takes me so long to write lyrics to any of the music I’m working on.

6. Where was your last gig?

Piano’s in NYC - Dec 2022. Was a great show with some of our friends in Winter Nights, GLDN. We’ve been taking a break from shows this year cause I just became a new dad and we’re focusing on writing new material to record over the summer.

7. Where would you like to act?

Brooklyn Steel is a goal - for sure. There are a ton of awesome venues around the Northeast that are pretty legendary that I think we’ll be trying to land in when we book our next tour.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

It's such a wide range of bands. I honestly think some of the newer bands that are making moves would be great to pair up with, more so than any national act. (Not saying we wouldn’t love to be asked on a national tour with some of our favorites like Thrice or Deftones). Bands like Soulblind, Off Road Minivan. More locally, we enjoy playing with our friends in bands like Modern Day Machines, King Like Mom, The Endless

9. Whom not?

Abstaining from this. We don’t want to make enemies (yet)

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

I’m sure that we all have at some point. Rob, Mark, and Mike also have a musical theater and acting background so I’m sure they figured out conquering those demons long before I did. I still get tongue-tied sometimes if I’m feeling some pressure.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

A lot of the bands that we already listed as favorites, for sure. In addition to them though, so much inspiration is drawn from our friends who are also around the local and regional scenes. There is so much good new music coming up out of the NY/NJ/CT area and it's always inspiring to share a stage with them.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

I’ll let you know when it happens!

13. What do you think of your fans?

It's a pretty small group of people at this point - but they’re the greatest. The most supporting and fun group of music lovers that we’ve been graced to see at some of our shows.

14. What do you think of our site? 

Love it. We enjoyed the last time we spoke with BTC too.

15. Something you'd like to add?

Our newest single “Horace” is streaming everywhere on August 15th. Be sure to give us a follow on Spotify, Instagram, and check out our page for more band updates.

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