The members of Zlam Dunk formed in a dorm basement when they were college students at Texas State University in San Marcos (Texas State). Now the majority of the members live in Austin and have been going strong ever since. They recently had a show on March 2 celebrating the pre-release of their latest EP Balcones. Zlam Dunk’s guitarist Brett Thorne and drummer Daniel Vega chatted with UWeekly about the apartment complex behind the EP’s name, what exactly is a pre-release, and what happens when you mix alcohol and hatchets.
How did the CD release go?
Brett Thorne: It was awesome. I think it was pretty much everything we hoped it would be. A vinyl pre-release is what we’re calling it.
What do you mean by pre-release?
BT: We had a sign-up sheet where people could sign up to pre-order the vinyl and then we’re going to mail it to them when the vinyls actually come in. We also had free download cards for everybody, so everybody pretty much got a free digital copy of the album. The people who really wanted one pre-ordered the vinyl.
When is the album going to come out?
BT: I think we’re talking May 2 is going to be the digital release where we put it up for sale on Bandcamp. Then I’m not sure when the vinyls are actually going to be here. Like, two weeks or something?
Daniel Vega: Yeah, two weeks.
So after South by Southwest (SXSW)?
BT: Maybe right in the middle of SXSW, I think. My money would be on them getting here in the middle of SXSW.
If anybody wants to pre-order it now, how do they do it?
DV: Just talk to us. Email us or find us on Facebook. We’re pretty good at responding to a lot of things.
So tell me about this EP. I know it’s called Balcones which was an apartment complex at Texas State. What that a home base for Zlam’s early days? Why that name?
BT: Yeah, that’s exactly what it was. I think at one point all of us lived there for at least a year.
DV: We were all there. There was one apartment that, at one point, four members lived in at different times. There’s actually a room that Taylor lived in, I lived in, then Ross lived in. But yeah, we all lived in the apartment complex.
BT: Charlie was there. He was there for two years. We all lived in the apartment complex and we swiped the name, I guess, but it was definitely important as a home base for us. A lot of growth.
What made that place so special to Zlam? Did you write songs there? Have shows?
DV: Well, we did write songs there. I think for a lot of us, it was the first place we lived after the dorms or it was the first place we lived with other people. With that age, there’s always a lot of growth as individuals and then being so close to each other as a band. It wasn’t necessarily that we wrote all the time there or played. We played maybe one show there, but it was also that we were always around each other. It was like a two-year summer camp, but we’d write songs and do everything near each other.
BT: Which I think that is something that is partly a theme on the album. And community, I guess. I think that place is just really important for all of us, because we all lived there. We all learned a lot from each other while we were living there.
Now the apartment complex is gone. How did you take it? Because you weren’t living in San Marcos when that happened, right? You were in Austin then?
DV: Some of us were in Austin. Taylor was the last member there. He was actually the one that was living there at the time, but he got evicted or kicked out. That’s why we had that one last show where we destroyed everything because we could. We had hatchets and we were hacking the wall and spray painting. We took out the kitchen. We took out cabinets and then a friend showed up with an axe and went to town.
Did they know you were doing this or did you just show up and said fuck it, let’s do it?
BT: Yeah, I think it was a planned thing. We called it the “Balcones Destruction Party” or something like that. We knew going in, but I think it even got a little more ridiculous than we thought it would.
DV: Yeah, in a way, I don’t know why we didn’t think a destruction party would get so out of hand, but then it did. Any time you mix hatchets and alcohol, the results are going to be bad in a really awful way.
I noticed on the EP, one of your older songs, “Patrick,” is on there. What made you bring that out? Are there any older songs on this EP as well?
BT: That’s the only older one. The rest of them are brand new for anybody who’s ever seen us before. I don’t know how long we’ve been playing it, but it had been around for a while. We got a little more comfortable playing it and playing it at pretty much every show we ever played for those three years since we first recorded it. We kind of changed it up a little bit, switched some parts, just embellished some parts a little more. I think when we were choosing the track listing for the album, we thought we would give it another go around because we changed it so much.