Zola Daze marks the consolidation of multi-instrumentalist, Andrew Martin’s, diverse path in music. Mystical, textured, yet boot-stompingly fun, it fuses the world of rock psychedelia with oriental melodies, while being curiously steeped in the dramatic mountain scenery of the south of Ireland. It’s a project that begs and rewards repeated listening, as Andrew sashays through multiple personas to provide an unpredictable musical voyage.
Born in Cork in 1992 into a family of artists and musicians, his first introduction to playing music was but as a pup, as the drumming fixture in his older brothers’ dream of forming their own 90s rock trio. With a renovated barn house at hand, where his mother, Wishy, ran art classes and workshops, the homestead was a local focal point for all sorts of musicians and bohemian types. It was the perfect environment for a passionate kid to devote time to honing his musical skill and creative instincts. Like many musicians, Andrew gorged on the foundational rock feasts of the Beatles, Stones and Zeppelin, before mastering the wild worlds of Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd. Journeys into mercurial greats such as Jeff Buckley and Van Morrison soon followed; elements of which can certainly be heard in his Zola Daze work.
Eclecticism has been the rule rather than the exception for Andrew. His teenage years saw him cut his chops with such varied gigs as performing with sean nós singer Nóirín Ní Riain alongside Benedictine monks, all the way over to playing with local heavy metal band, Impurium.
Moving to Dublin for study ushered in even greater experimentation, as Andrew went in many directions: from Glam Rock drummer to frontman for a bestial rock band. Dublin, and university life, also brought added complexity to the equation. Living in a windowless basement beside a methadone clinic, alongside student excesses, provided fertile ground for a darker artistic palette. This unique living situation also had its benefits, as full-throttled band practice could continue into the early morning from this covert enclave in the middle of the capital.
After finishing his studies, he returned to the creative sanctuary of the Irish countryside. It was here that he crafted his own sound and underwent a process of rediscovery after the disappointing flat-lining of some previous projects. As Zola Daze, Andrew unleashes in the form of an ambitious work which draws upon three different versions of the self, represented in music which even for a sound based in psychedelia throws out plenty of intriguing musical curveballs. On top of this, Andrew tackled playing every instrument in this dense EP. Recorded between his home studio and at Orphan Studios, Dublin, where he worked with producer and engineer, Ciaran Bradshaw, this debut self-titled EP sets up Zola Daze as a fresh and talented new figure in Irish music.
~ Evan Musgrave