Hailing from Pennsylvania, Zadar is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Antonio Luberto. Influenced by acts like The Cure, Interpol and The Sisters of Mercy, Zadar has a gothic rock sound mixed with post-punk undertones. We speak with the talented singer-songwriter about his single ‘The Upstairs Room’, creative processes and favourite smells.
OSR: A little bit of a cliché question but how did Zadar come about and what inspired the name?
Zadar: Zadar officially got started at the beginning of the year but it was something that had been in the works for a while. The name came from a nightclub in Pennsylvania that used to play new wave music, post-punk, synth-pop, etc. My parents used to go there regularly back in the day and since they’re the ones that got me into those genres of music, I thought I would use the name as a homage.
OSR: What is the backstory to the single ‘The Upstairs Room’?
Zadar: ‘The Upstairs Room’ was one of the first tracks that I wrote for the album. I wrote it because I felt like I had something to say but I didn’t have the right words to express what I was feeling. I think that’s the case for most of the album, that’s why I made ‘The Upstairs Room’ the title track. I think it’s a good representation of the overarching themes and mood of the album.
OSR: Does it have a certain significance to you?
Zadar: ‘The Upstairs Room’, as well as the rest of the album, was written during a difficult time in my life so it definitely holds a certain significance for me. It was a sort of catharsis being able to express those difficult thoughts and emotions in an artistic way. I hope that anyone going through a hard time gets something out of it like I did by writing it. A lot of times, it can be difficult to escape those dark thoughts. ‘The Upstairs Room’ represents the “room” in my mind where my deepest and most intense emotions, thoughts, and memories lie and the effect they can have when you’re going through hard times.
OSR: What can you tell us about your upcoming album The Upstairs Room?
Zadar: The album will be out in early 2021 and it will be independently released. I may do a small run of CDs and/or vinyl depending on if there’s any demand. I’ve always been a fan of collecting the CDs and vinyl of my favourite bands so I want to be able to give my fans that same joy. My inspirations while working on this project are The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees, New Order, Glynn McCann, etc. These are some of my favourite bands of all time so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you can hear the influence a bit. Overall, the album has been a challenging but rewarding project to work on and I hope people enjoy it.
OSR: If you could change anything in the single, what would it be?
Zadar: Honestly, I wouldn’t really change anything about it. I really like this version of the song and I think it’s a good representation of where my head was/is at sometimes. However, I will most likely have the singles tweaked a bit for the album, mostly because my songwriting and recording abilities grew and evolved a bit from when I first wrote and recorded those songs. Also, the producer I’m working with for the album is excellent and has gotten the songs to sound just like I had envisioned them so I think fans of classic post-punk and gothic-rock will be pleased with the results once it’s out.
OSR: Do you think the Covid-19 pandemic will affect the music industry on a long-term basis?
Zadar: I think there isn’t a business in the world that won’t be changed in some way by Covid-19. The pandemic hit the music industry pretty hard but most societal shifts or major world events tend to bring about new ideas and innovations; I think this pandemic we are in is no exception. This will be an opportunity for the industry to figure out ways to bring artists closer to fans without actually bringing them physically closer and new ways to excite fans.
I think artists will start to gravitate to more artist-friendly streaming platforms because let’s face it, Spotify isn’t known for paying artists a whole lot of money for their streams. I think platforms like Bandcamp will continue to grow because it not only allows artists to earn a fair amount for their work but it also allows for closer interaction between artists and fans. In this time of quarantine and social distancing, I think that’s more important than ever.
OSR: What is your creative process?
Zadar: Typically, I’ll write the music first then the lyrics and vocals will come at the end. I usually start by jamming on the guitar for a bit until I come up with a riff I like. Then I’ll write the rest of the lead guitar parts before moving on to the bass and drums. Once I’ve got a solid demo recorded, I’ll go and write lyrics based on what I feel like I’m trying to express through that particular song. Once that’s done, I send the song to my producer so he can work his magic. Sometimes my process will vary depending on the needs of the song but for the most part that is my process.
OSR: If you weren’t pursuing music as a career what would you be doing job-wise?
Zadar: I’m actually almost finished studying for my Bachelor’s degree in Computing Technology, so most likely I will be doing something on the side in the tech field such as IT. I’ve always been drawn to technology, but my main passion is music so once I have my degree I will be able to devote more time and energy to it.
OSR: What is your favourite smell?
Zadar: I would say the new car smell is my favourite smell. It reminds me of the Robert Frost poem, ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’. It won’t last, but it sure is nice while it lasts.
OSR: If you could be reincarnated as a bird what bird would you choose?
Zadar: I’ve always liked Blue Jays so I would go with that one. One cool thing about them is that they live a long time compared to other wild birds. I read somewhere that the oldest known Blue Jay lived to be 26 years and 11 months old!
OSR: Do you have any message for our readers?
Zadar: My fans are what keep me motivated to keep on going through the hard times. They push me to make these songs the best I can make them. I want to thank the readers and fans for supporting the artists they love. We wouldn’t be where we are without you. If you’re interested in seeing what I’m up to these days, feel free to check out my Instagram or Facebook and say hi!