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Interview for Frantic Sound webzine, August 2005

 

Introduce yourself and your role in the band.
I'm Spider and I play lead guitar and do a bit of vocal action here and there.
I'm Sebby and I play rhythm guitar.
Hi, I'm Pete. I bring integrity, charm and good looks to the band, by hitting things randomly at the back of the room, while these boys run around like idiots!

I'm Will, I sing songs and do some of the aforementioned running around like an idiot.

I'm the Giant but my parents call me a mistake.

 

You have just released your first album. How was the recording process? Are you happy with the result?
Spider: The recording was great- my first time recording with Zatopeks and my first real time in the studio except for one day demo sessions with previous bands.  It took longer than we expected to get everything recorded as we ran over on both sessions. Because we recorded in Rotterdam we had to travel over from England each time so the arrangements due to this meant the recording was much more spread out. It was top fun in the studio though, at times stressful but so brilliant to make the music sound how you want.  Everyone will agree we are very happy with the result- we think it sounds amazing!
Pete: I think recording this record was a lot of fun!

 

Are you being treated well on Stardumb Records, which possibly is the most notable pop-punk label in Europe?

Spider: Of course, Stefan is an ace guy and a great friend and he has worked really hard to put this album out.  Jerry Hormone from The Apers also gave us a lot of help in the studio throughout the recording.
Pete: Stardumb is great! I remember back when we first heard of Stardumb, through bands like the Apers, the Peawees and the Backwood Creatures - it was a revelation to us that European pop punk was so amazing! The fact that we're now on the same label as these bands (along with so many other awesome bands) is not only hysterically funny, but pretty damn genius too!

 

Where do you find inspiration for your music? I read somewhere that "it's like a cocktail of 50's pop and 90's Lookout punk rock mixed by Tom Waits". It's a different approach than most pop-punk bands seem to take on their music these days.
Sebby: That description seems pretty accurate. We started off like many pop-punk bands do, just trying to copy the Ramones and Screeching Weasel, but we all really liked 1950s rock'n'roll too, so that started to influence our songs more. Will brings the Tom Waits influence to the table to mix it up a bit too.
Pete: I think musically the thing that we all like is punk & pop-punk. But around that we've all got totally differing taste in music, ranging from Rock'n'Roll to jazz, from country to hardcore, from classical to weird things that perhaps no one should ever speak of, but still in lots of places we overlap.  I guess it's in and around the "overlap zone" where Zatopek inspiration exists.

Will: They should fence it off so we can't get out...

 

How has the album been received? Have the Brits embraced it or are you getting more recognition from the rest of Europe?
Spider: Well, everyone who has bought the album here (in Britain) and has told us what they think pretty much loves it!  A lot of those are people who we could call fans before the album came out but it's still great that people love the album. For reviews we have only had reviews from European web-zines mainly so far but there may be some we haven't seen.

 

You went from originally being a four-piece band to a five-piece band. Can you explain the reason?
Spider: The reason is because the rest of the Zatopeks heard there was a new kid (his name was Spider) in town who could possibly overshadow the existing Zatopeks gang all by himself so they thought if you can't beat him make him join!
Sebby: Originally we were actually a three-piece for the first show, with Will on bass. We soon realised that wasn't a good idea though, so we brought in Sammie,

 

How will you describe the current state of pop-punk/punk rock in Europe? Do you think we can compete with the Americans?
Spider: Very healthy! Well, we have played with a lot amazing pop-punk and punk bands in Europe, like the Accelerators, the Apers, Backwood Creatures, the Hunchbacks... and even the bands we don't play with but go and see them play in our home towns proves that there is a scene happening and letting the people rock n roll!
Sebby: Yeah, there's a great scene over here in Europe. I think people over here appreciate what we have more than the Americans cause the scene is smaller, and the American bands seem to get most of the attention.

 

Is it possible to live off the money you generate in the Zatopeks or do you have to work full-time?
Spider: Hell no.  We all have to work to eat, except for Will who is a writer so it helps if he is poor.
Sebby: The band doesn't really generate money. It costs us to be able to keep playing.

Will: Yes, I take my pain and turn it into art. If I can find a way to turn it into biscuits, that would save needing to find a job.

The Giant: I guess the money we make from this interview should just about supplement the costs of the upcoming tour....sorry

 

You have played in Denmark before and are confirmed for a show in August. Do you know anything about the Danish punk rock scene?
Spider: I know the 20belows but that's it.  I haven't played in Denmark yet but I can't wait to come and rock in August.
Sebby: The 20belows are a fantastic band for sure. There are some other Danish bands that I like too - Gob Squad, the Peachy Keens (RIP), Toybomb and the Play-Offs. A friend of mine also gave me 2 Strawberry Slaughterhouse albums which are really great.

Will: The gig in Svendborg was crazy... so was the party afterwards! We have 4 gigs in Denmark this time around so I'm looking forward to getting to know more people and bands.

The Giant: Yeah I can't wait to see the 20belows again and check out more of the countries bands.

 

The Zatopeks is a funny name for a band. Who came up with the name? Is there a funny story related to it?

Pete: I think Will wanted us to be a Czechoslovakian version of the Smiths. Heaven knows, he's miserable now!

Will: The Czechoslovakian athlete Emil Zatopek died at the time the band was formed, so the name came from reading his obituary. He was famous for winning races with his ugly way of running and was chucked into manual labour by the Russians for supporting the Dubcek regime in 1968. I wonder what he would think of all this... I hope at least he'd dig that we're carrying on the ugliness thing, even though we don't win any races. 1 out of 2 isn't bad.

The Giant: Funnily enough there used to be an ancient Aztec tribe called the Zapoteks, so sometimes (ie. once) the origin got mistaken.

 

I don't think I have more (relevant) questions. Thanks a lot for the interview. Anything you want to add?
Spider: Thanks to you for the interview and to anyone who bothered to read our ridiculous thoughts. And are the kebabs in Denmark as good as those in Germany? I hope so.

Will: Cheers, and can't wait to see Denmark again!

 

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