Squamish Valley Music Festival Act of the Day: The Zolas

Like Halloween, when the early October fogs start to roll in, and Kanye West when he isn’t cancelling his shows the day they are supposed to happen, it’s starting to feel like it’s almost here.

Yes, we’re talking about the Squamish Valley Music Festival, taking place August 8 to 10 at the Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields. In anticipation of the big event—headlined by Eminem, Bruno Mars, and Arcade Fire—we’re spending the next few weeks rounding up local artists who’ll be playing the open-air party, and getting them to answer some important questions.

Like who they’ll be cueing up on the iPod for the Sea-to-Sky drive to the site, what they’ll be making sure to pack to make it through their set, the all-time dream-festival lineup, and who they plan to stalk backstage. Read on, but not before you pick up your Squamish Valley Music Festival ticket. The last thing you want to miss is today’s spotlighted act...

Featured artist

The Zolas have been spending a lot of time on the road lately, sharing the bill with acts including the Mounties and Hollerado on recent tours. Here in Vancouver, the hometown indie-pop heroes have played sold-out shows at venues like the Vogue, the Commodore, and the Imperial. 

Zolas co-founders Zach Gray and Tom Dobrzanski, along with bandmates Cody Hiles and DJ Abell, are next slated to play the Squamish main stage the same night as Bruno Mars. We challenge you to hear their live renditions of tracks like “Knot in My Heart”—off the 2012 record Ancient Mars—and not be left humming the catchy melodies for days.

Fans might also get to hear a new track from the band, which is returning to Squamish for the second time following a main stage appearance in 2011. The musicians have been in the studio working on their next album, which is expected to drop early next year.

Sea-to-Sky playlist

Cody:

The Clash “Magnificent Seven”

The Shirelles “Big John”

Lindsey Buckingham “Trouble”

Steely Dan “Dirty Work”

Mac Demarco “Chamber of Reflection”

Wings “Let Me Roll It”

Dennis Wilson “River Song”

Haim “If I Could Change Your Mind”

Michael Jackson “Human Nature”

SBTRKT “Wildfire” 

Not the most intense playlist. The Sea to Sky usually doesn't evoke cravings for Slayer and Metallica. Now I'm surprised there is no Enya on this mix. Shit.

Outdoor essentials

DJ:

Things I would need to survive an outdoor festival:

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sunglasses (preferably cheap ones because they will get lost)
  • Secret mickey of alcohol
  • Earplugs (so I can sleep through the annoying campers listening to AC/DC at four in the morning)
  • Fruit and fresh vegetables
  • Great attitude!!!!!
  • PHONE CHARGER

I’d love to hang with...

Zach: After years of Carmen San Diego-style near-encounters, this will be the year we finally meet Sam Roberts. It's not that he's my number-one guy or anything (though Chemical City is an album I keep coming back to every summer); it's that nobody has a reputation as a sweeter or funnier dude than him. Post-festival all my friends and family will ask me "So was Sam Roberts down-to-earth?" and I'll go "Down-to-earth? No. He's down-to-magma".

First festival experience

Tom: My first outdoor festival was the shitshow known as the first Pemberton festival. But, it was all the chaos that made it so memorable. Starting with the drive up, sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for two hours, but cranking all the bands we were about to go see with people walking alongside the traffic.

Once we were there it was so dusty everybody was covering their faces with T-shirts and handkerchiefs, but it made everybody stop caring about what they were wearing or how they looked and it made everyone bond together.

Musically highlights included Flaming Lips, and turning around and seeing my childhood idol Trevor Linden standing directly behind me. My lady snapped a photo which I'll admit was on my desktop background for a long time. Jay Z was next level charismatic and had the best backing band I've ever heard.

Coldplay was good, as you'd expect. And the number one thing I learned up there—people love Tom Petty.

What’s your fantasy festival lineup?

Zach: Cool, I'll make a dream bill but I'll try to do one that could feasibly be budgeted: Radiohead, Kanye West, Pink Floyd, Death Grips, Dolly Parton, Nicki Minaj, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The War on Drugs, Fiona Apple, Trentemoller, Bloc Party (as part of their Silent Alarm Anniversary tour), Tame Impala, Disclosure, Hot Chip, Mac Demarco, Caribou, Timber Timbre, Colin Stetson, Generationals, and then all my friends' bands like Pup and James Younger and We Are The City et cetera…

What’s your official rider request?

DJ:

  • Beer (anything but Wildcat...)
  • Jack Daniels (two bottles)
  • Fruit plate (if it is not fresh, Zach will throw a fit and tear the trailer apart)
  • Hand-made towels with our initials embroidered on them
  • Roomba
  • poster of Cody (needs to be life-size)
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • Shake weight
  • More beer
  • iPod dock (you always need tunes!)

Trivia time: what’s Squamish’s official slogan?

Tom:

Squamish: Just as close to downtown as Surrey, and we have the Chief.

The festival takes place at Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields. Quick—what’s your favourite logger sport?

Cody: I would say Chainsaw Art. Have you ever seen this action?! People takin a raw piece of wood and sculpting it with a chainsaw. It's pretty rad. There is actually a famous musician who is professionally involved in said sport/art. Her name is Cherie Currie. She was the lead singer in the Runaways, which was Joan Jett's old band. Right on!

The Zolas play the Squamish Valley Music Festival's Tantalus Stage at 3:25 p.m. on Friday (August 8).

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