J Hacha De Zola’s recorded”Escape From Fat Kat City”, leaving Rahway, New Jersey and the shadow of the maximum security prison that literally loomed over him while recording that record, then headed across the country to a tiny studio built in an old boiler room in Portland, Oregon. It’s there that he was joined by the rest of the “Fat Kat” band, as well as some legendary players in the form of Ralph Carney and David Coulter, to record Hacha De Zola’s second full-length album of 2016, Picaro Obscuro, arriving on August 12th. Influences on the sound of Picaro Obscuro according to Hacha De Zola include: Perez Prado, Captain Beefheart, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Danil Kharms, Arthur Rimbaud, Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Syd Barrett.
“He’s like a codeine cough syrup dream on the train to Zurich,” is how legendary sax man Carney describes Hacha De Zola. Carney, who made his bones with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The B-52s, They Might Be Giants, and Frank Black (and who is also the uncle of The Black Keys co-founder, Patrick Carney), makes his tenor and baritone horns an omnipresent force on Picaro Obscuro.
Multi-instrumentalist Coulter is everywhere, as well. Coulter, who has recorded, performed and toured with artists as diverse as Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, Laurie Anderson, Kronos Quartet, Yoko Ono, and Beck among many other notables, shares a common compatriot with Carney in Waits. Carney performed on the Waits album The Black Rider, a collection of the songs from the theater piece of the same name for which Coulter served as Associate Musical Director.
The first single from Picaro Obscuro is “Bubble Gum,” which Hacha De Zola describes as “a song about distractions, escapism, confusion, and detaching from reality in pursuit of confections. The world might be burning while we’re caught up in our trivialities. Ultimately, it’s not a criticism; it’s just an observation, as I’m right in it, too.” Picaro Obscuro, the second album (and second of 2016) by J Hacha De Zola arrives on August 12th, 2016.