Zach Jones. It even sounds like a smooth crooner’s name.

In the time since his As Fast As days, Jones has indeed been making noise, both with the release and cultivation of his solo debut, the pop-rock nugget “Fading Flowers,” and behind a disciplined touring and writing slate that he carries from Portland to Oakland (California, not Maine) and back.

As a disciple of Spencer Albee, he knows there’s no rest for the weary in this game, so he’s dialing up some new releases for the new year. GO caught up with the busy bee somewhere between the buzz and the honey. 

If I web wander on over to, what can I expect to find there over the next couple of months?

Leading up to the release of the “Never Easy” maxi-single on March 1, which will be followed shortly after with the release of a brand-new full-length album, I’ll be keeping the site up to date with information surrounding the new releases. I’ll also be launching a new look for the site with a few new goodies to complement the new album right around the same time. 

Why did you choose “Never Easy” for the maxi-single? What sets one ZJ tune apart to be made a single?

“Never Easy” is a track from my upcoming full-length album. At the moment, there are still less than 20 people who have heard the album in its entirety. When I’m playing a new record to friends and fellow musicians for the first time, I like to sit across from them as they listen so I can watch how they react as each track goes by. I had a different song in mind as the single, but “Never Easy” was the song that prompted the response “That’s your single!” from the most amount of people, so I went with it.

I wanted to give fans more than just one song, so I made it a maxi-single containing two bonus tracks. The bonus tracks were recorded at the same time as the album, but they will only be available on the maxi-single. 

What are some of the highlights of touring and promoting “Fading Flowers”? How has the response been?

This is the first time I’ve worked as a professional, independent musician promoting an album without As Fast As. The whole thing has been a learning experience, but it’s been a lot of fun, too. A lot of people seem to have connected with “Fading Flowers,” and that is what makes me the most happy. People have told me that they really enjoyed the album on their first listen, but after multiple listens it touched them on a deeper level. It’s a good feeling to know that my music has had the ability to do that for people. 

What lyrical themes will the new record touch on, and do these reflect your state of mind at the time you wrote them?

For “Fading Flowers,” I had specific ideas in mind when I sat down to write. For the new songs, I tried to write with more of a stream-of-consciousness approach. I just wanted to see what would come out. I’m still trying to interpret exactly what some of the songs mean to me, but overall this album became sort of an unintentional sequel to “Fading Flowers.” I’m still just writing about my life, so it makes sense that it would be sort of a continuation, but the new songs tend to get a little more surreal at times. 

Do you have a favorite place in the world (outside Maine, of course) where you can easily lock in and write really good stuff?

I lived in Oakland, Calif., for 14 months before I came back to Maine last March to release “Fading Flowers.” I have a small network of friends and musical connections in the Bay Area now that help me feel at home when I’m away from Maine. I’ve been ping-ponging back and forth since last spring. Both of my albums, for the most part, have been written out there. 

What’s the weakest part of your game, and how are you addressing it?

I feel very confident about my musical abilities, but as an artist you’re always gonna be your own worst critic. I’m still finding my way as a lead singer, frontman and writer. I’m addressing it by doing it as much as I can and trying to get better as I go. I’m also learning to trust people when they tell me that what I’m doing is good. I could sit there and second-guess everything that I do forever, but I’d never get anything finished. When people tell me it’s good, I have to believe them that it really is good. 

Which Portland acts knock your socks off?

There are a lot of Portland acts that knock my socks off. Even after working with Spencer Albee for all those years in AFA, he continues to impress me. The Space Versus Speed album is in many ways classic Spencer, but he’s taken it to new places that he hasn’t been before. “Mother Box” by Bass Box is another album I’ve spent a lot of time with recently. Solid pop tunes with interesting arrangements. I’ve always been a Gypsy Tailwind fan, and I’ve been enjoying the album “Grace” in particular recently. Also, The Lucid, Sarah Hallie Richardson, Grand Hotel, Billy Libby, Amanda Gervasi, Pete Kilpatrick Band; the list really just goes on. 

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.


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