In 2010, it looked as though Zeus were destined to become Toronto’s local Beatles – but a media blitz and heavily hyped debut retro-pop-rock album, Say Us, solidified their place in indie rock circles. These days, things have normalized for the Jason-Collette-backing-band as they work on a follow-up to last years’ acclaimed Busting Visions. And the band makes sure to find time to tour small-town Ontario. Zeus join indie heavyweights Stars, Hannah Georgas and Young Galaxy at the Mudtown Music & Arts festival (Aug. 9-10) in Owen Sound — and the lineup is no doubt worth a road trip from Toronto. Gearing up for the festival, Mike O’Brien and Neil Quin of Zeus kindly answered my questions on their alleged Northernness and what to expect on their upcoming album.
Have you ever played Owen Sound? Being from Toronto, do you get to see Ontario in its non-metropolis form very often?
Mike: (We’ve) never played in Owen Sound before but we all grew up north of Toronto. Our drummer, Robbie still lives in Barrie. This part of Ontario feels like home for us.
Neil: Yes, we are bona fide journeymen. We have seen more places than we can remember I’m sure. We recently took the “other” highway up to Thunder Bay. It takes you through Cochran. It’s almost arctic up there but quite beautiful.
Do you enjoy playing small festivals and cities as opposed to larger ones?
Mike: Smaller festivals are usually the best ones. There is a more tightly knit sense of community and when visiting you sort of get adopted into that community for a day … it’s a nice feeling.
Neil: We were just in Dawson city for the Dawson city music festival. It was a beautiful and heartwarming experience. We may seem like city slickers but you’re dealing with men of the North.
Rumour is you’re working on a new album for Arts & Crafts. Is your mellow new track “One Line Written In” any indication of what it will sound like?
Neil: We have an eclectic mix of material that we are still building on. All styles, all good.
Mike: The new stuff ranges from stuff like “One Line Written In” to more heavy to synthy dance … its sort of all over the place right now … and we have something like 23 songs in the works so it’s hard to say right now what the album will look like. As far as a release date goes we haven’t really gotten that far yet, but you can probably expect something in the first part of 2014.
Will you be playing any new or different tunes at the Mudtown festival?
Neil: That’s for us to know and you to find out!