Interview with Zach Oliver
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I think originally it was just having so much music always playing at my parents house. Then I watched the movie School of Rock for the first time and became obsessed with idea of being a musician. If I hadn’t gotten into music I still don’t think I would have a desk job or anything with a regular 9-5 — I really wanted to be a firefighter when I was a kid, so maybe something like that.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I really love getting active, whether it’s working out or playing sports or snowboarding that kind of thing. I do it more so for the mental health aspect so I suppose that definitely helps when I’m being creative, having a healthy mind. But I love hanging out with pals up north or wherever just experiencing new places with different vibes - I think it’s so important to live a life outside of music because it really gives me so much more to use in my songwriting.
How long have you been making music?
I started writing songs when I was 9 years old - (obviously they were terrible and probably should never be heard haha) but that’s definitely when my love for actually making music started.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’ve been living in Toronto on and off for the past three years which definitely has a heavy influence on my music. Not only is it a lively city but there’s also so much incredible talent here that I take a lot of influence from. But I do like to get away for a while and try find inspiration elsewhere - we just spent 3 months in Nashville writing everyday and that did so much for my music.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
Honestly I think my most memorable shows were when I did the Ontario Parks tour a few summers ago. I played over 20 shows in different Ontario Parks all over the province just living out a camper van and camping at whatever park I played in. Not only did I meet some really lovely people but I got to see so much of Ontario that I never had before. Highly recommend getting out and spending some time camping out at the parks we have here in Ontario.
What is your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I love playing at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. They are always so great to me and I’ve played some of my favourite shows there. Such a great room to fill up and just have a laugh.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
That is a crazy question, love it. I think a dream lineup would be John Mayer or someone like Stevie Wonder. Just because John Mayer is always so incredible live and I have never seen Stevie so that would finally allow me to do so hahah - plus I would dance my pants off to some Stevie.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
I think the best advice to give, especially to my younger self, would be to be yourself. There’s no use in chasing any other sound other than your own. There’s only one you and that as the best thing you have to offer as an artist. Be unique by being exactly who you are and staying honest in what you create.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I think I’d have to say either “Seaside” or “know myself” - Seaside because it holds a lot of sentimental value in my heart and it was kind of my first song that had some decent success and seems to relate to a lot of listeners. Know Myself because it really is my most self reflective song I’ve put out. Learned a lot about myself when I wrote it.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
My song “You and Me” probably gets requested the most and is also one of my favs to play. It’s just super fun and has the most simple hook ever haha so it’s a good one to get everyone singing along.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I usually start with a chord progression or a one liner I’ve had in my notes for a while. Then it’s a whole lot of free styling most of the time until it feels right. In terms of inspiration - It really can come from anywhere at anytime. It could be a line in a book I’m reading, a conversation I have with a friend, a movie or tv/show literally anything. Thats why I think it’s so important to really live a life because without experiences there is very little inspiration for me.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I really just want to make songs that people can relate to in whatever way they need it. Music can really heal or help people grow, at least that’s what it’s always been for me. So if I can do that with my music, even if its just putting people in a good mood for the day then that’s more than I could ask for.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Yes I have just released two tracks this summer “Coat Check” & “See Me Down” which I am super proud of. I made them in Nashville with some friends at the beginning of the year. I also have a show at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto October 17th so come and jam!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Yeah absolutely - you can find me @zacholivermusic pretty much across the board - Instagram and TikTok seemed to be the best with keeping up to date and getting in contact.