This is part of a series of interviews with local bands who are in the latest round of Volume Denver artists. If you've not already checked it out, Volume is a project by Denver Public Library to gather and share some amazing local talent. You can listen to full albums and songs, make playlists, and even download music to keep using your library card. Today we meet musician and producer Zak Sloan. You can check out his latest release, Nowhere, Mexico on Volume!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I started my adult life as a 4th grade teacher, then became a lawyer for abused children. After a medical scare that had me terrified that I would lose my hearing I recommitted myself to becoming a full-time musician. I now make as much music as I can for myself and help other musicians create records that represent who they are.
How did you get your musical start?
I started off as a piano player and gravitated towards the guitar over time. I began playing small town jamborees and talent shows before playing in every club that would let me in the door.
What did music look like for you as you were growing up?
Both of my parents are very musical. My mother toured Europe in a choir and my dad was a band director. They started me on vocal lessons when I was very young, about 8, and I was playing the piano at 11. They gave me a guitar when I was 15 but it didn't interest me at first. But after seeing Jonny Lang on TV the guitar became my immediate best friend.
What's your favorite Denver venue to play and why?
Lincoln Station Coffee, Pizza, & Music. They have a fantastic atmosphere and take music very seriously. They support local music by booking as many bands as they can and treat us very well.
What's been your most favorite show and why?
I got to open for Tim Reynolds when he was touring through Texas in the mid 2000's. The club as packed and the crowd was very responsive to what we were doing. The entire room was bouncing!
What's the story behind your band name?
After having various bands I realized that I needed to take more of a leadership role to move my career forward. I stopped allowing my bands to be a democracy. I write the music and direct the band on what needs to be done. I book the shows. I make the decisions. That doesn't mean I don't consider opinions but at the end of the day it's my decision. So I stepped away from a band and started the Zak Sloan Band.
Describe your sound in one sentence.
If you could open for any other musical act, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Thanks to Zak for the interview! Keep an eye out for musical performances at your local library.