Zs' Sam Hillmer on Hating Skronk, and the Possibility of Disappearing Completely

Categories: Interview, Zs

The Kaufman Music Center's Ecstatic Music Festival began last weekend, and it runs through March. The performers, which include Deerhoof, Julia Holter, Laurel Halo and the JACK Quartet, were selected because they occupy the "fertile terrain between classical and popular music." Among these so-called fertile-terrain-dwelling artists is Zs, the New York experimental group whose virtues include malleability and disruption.

See also: Q&A: Sam Hilmer Of Diamond Terrifier And Zs On Booking PRACTICE! Gigs At Zebulon, "Zs" As A Genre, And Not Being Jazz

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Q&A: Northern Spy Records' Tom Abbs and Adam Downey On Guitarist Tom Carter, Working At ESP-Disk' And Running Their Own Label

Peter Gannushkin/downtownmusic.net
Chicago Underground Duo play Roulette on July 15 as part of Spy Music Fest.
This week, the Voice sat down with Northern Spy head-honchos Tom Abbs and Adam Downey to talk about the second installment of the label's Spy Music Festival, which will engulf this city's landscape from Friday through mid-July.

But in typical unselfish fashion, Abbs and Downey weren't in a self-congratulatory mood over their ascendant label, the impending celebration, and the lineup of killer shows. Instead, Abbs and Downey were not only intent on fixing the wrongs they encountered at their former label, ESP-Disk', by paying back decades-old royalties to that label's artists, they were itching for the same rep AUM Fidelity label head Steven Joerg has: to be as completely fair to their artists as possible.

That righteous ethos extends into being there 100% in support of musicians in need like Brooklyn guitarist and N-Spyer Tom Carter, who is facing an uphill battle after falling ill while on tour in Germany. Read on for outtakes that didn't make it into this week's piece.

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Q&A: Ben Greenberg Of Hubble, The Men And ZS On "Cyber-Dread" And "Shred-Fi," Playing Guitar On His Bed-Stuy Rooftop, And Not Being A Boner

Ben Greenberg's riffs are so virtuosic, they prompt the young ax-dude to toss a Steve Vai quip as he transmits dizzying sonic waves from his Bed-Stuy roof .

Jokes notwithstanding, the tat-covered, mop-topped Greenberg geeks out and slays in his myriad projects including longtime experimental pioneers Zs, the recently defunct noize-punk Pygmy Shrews, and the Men, for whom he'll now be playing bass. But as of late, the bulk of Greenberg's playing has been as the lone member of Hubble, a minimalist one-man show of cataclysmic fret-hopping grandeur. The recent Hubble Drums (Northern Spy) is a shred epic—three massive, equilibrium destroying jams drenched in glorious delay and loopage action.

Sound of the City talked to Greenberg via email about Zs' duo show at Crossing Brooklyn Ferry and Hubble.

How and when did you think up the idea of Hubble?

Over the summer of 2010, I started to realize I wanted to make something more specifically guitar-based without other instruments involved. I began climbing up to the roof of my house in Bed-Stuy and playing guitar all day, every day. After a week or so, I started recording myself and focusing my playing. I don't remember when I started doing the militant stereophony, but I do remember seeing Rob Lowe roll up to a Lichens show on a bike with his modular synth in a messenger bag and thinking to myself, "I gotta ditch these guitar amps and start going direct!"

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Live: Dustin Wong And CSC Funk Band Let It Unfold At Shea Stadium


Alias Pail, Zs: Black Crown Ceremony, CSC Funk Band, Dustin Wong
Shea Stadium
Wednesday, August 24

Better than: The Mets' season.

The residents of the Brooklyn DIY outpost known as Shea Stadium, located on a blessedly unreconstructed stretch in the East Williamsburg Industrial Park, are having a far better go at it these days than the residents of Citi Field. On this particular Wednesday night, one of the Lebanese furniture makers across the street sits with the door open to the shop, languidly smoking a hookah. Everything else is deserted as far as the eye can see, an increasingly rare sight anywhere near a stop on the L train.

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Photos: The Locust, Yip-Yip, ZS at the Knitting Factory

Brooklyn's ZS. More photos here.

The Locust, Yip-Yip, ZS
Knitting Factory
November 21
all photos by Rebecca Smeyne
More flicks here

Brooklyn's ZS on the Howard Stern Show (MP3)

Yip-Yip. More photos here.

The Locust. More photos here.