“Brooklyn Country”. That’s the words that Zach Williams uses to describe his band THE BELLOW. One might think that it’s somewhat of an oxymoron. When most people outside of (and even inside) NYC think of Brooklyn, they think of Jay-Z, Spike Lee, Jean Shorts, Graffiti and whatever generalization that gets engrained in their heads due to television & film. Here’s the facts, as a Brooklyner, myself, I can tell you that the tunes of Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars and Fleet Foxes can be heard in bars across the neighborhood as much as any other genre. Zach and his band are currently in the midst of navigating a record deal with a major label (we can’t disclose unfortunately). Our hope is that he blows up soon and this interview will become famous as one of his first of many to come.
EA: WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO BROOKLYN?
ZW: Plain and Simple: Music. There were about 15 friends of mine who all moved up here around the same time. All of us came to pursue various arts.
EA: WHAT WAS THE MOMENT YOU GOT INSPIRED TO START ZACH WILLIAMS AND THE BELLOW?
ZW: Prior to “The Bellow” I was in another band for four years with some hired gun musicians. It was great but it wasn’t completely fulfilling. A while ago, my grandfather had given me his old 48 Spaniard Gretsch and I just started to write story songs about when I lived with them on their farm every summer. On a trip with my wife, I wrote six songs. When I got back, I got together with a group of friends to just play them. It was magical. After that I just reached out to friends of mine who all were in Brooklyn and who all have a rural background. Brian’s a Redneck. Kanene is from Fredericksburg. I realized that my neighbors in Brooklyn were raising chickens in their backyard. I thought: “Country Music can live in Brooklyn.”
EA: HOW DO YOU THINK MEN’S STYLE VARIES FROM OTHER CITIES?
ZW: I think NYC men want to be a part of timeless things. Whether it be moments, things we’re creating, whatever. There’s this authenticity that’s important to our generation. I feel like men here are going back to what really defines a man if that makes any sense. It’s almost like…. Looking at your grandfather and trying to emulate him and that era. There’s a reason why barbershops are on fire in NYC right now.
EA: WHAT’S A PERFECT DAY IN BROOKLYN LOOK LIKE?
ZW: Wake up before my daughters and run through Prospect Park before the sun rises. Come back to read and maybe journal. Then once they wake up, make breakfast for everyone. I’d love to take my girls to the park afterwards and then just randomly run into all my friends who just happen to have their instruments with them and we’d make music together [Laughing]. Then that night have a family show at Rockwood where people just come up to stage and perform. Maybe fit in a Lord of the Rings Trilogy in there somewhere [Laughing]. Oh… then after, head upstate to the cabin in Margaretteville, NY and there’d be a room full of puppies we could play with waiting for us. [Laughing].
EA: CAN WE COME?
EA: DO YOU HAVE A SAYING THAT YOU TRY AND LIVE BY?
ZW: Be Actively Grateful
EA: IF A GUY HAD TO BUILD HIS WARDROBE AROUND SEVEN BASIC PIECES, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
ZW: A well made pair of dress shoes, a pair of boots that will get you through anything, a perfect pair of jeans that you may break the bank on but you just need to, a tailored white shirt, a good brown leather belt, a really good winter coat and a really great suit.