Entertainment Music

24 Minutes with Too Many Zooz

By Joe Leary

Too Many Zooz. (Frank Cohen Photo)

Too Many Zooz. (Frank Cohen Photo)

Based in New York City, busking phenomenons Too Many Zooz gained mass attention when one of their performances in a NYC Subway Station went viral. To say they’re on a roll is an understatement as evident by getting the attention of and working with the likes of Beyonce and Dixie Chicks. Prior to their appearance this Friday, May 19 at The Biltmore, Joe Leary spent 24 Minutes with trumpeter extraordinaire Matt Doe.

Was the plan of busking to gain attention, or merely a means to pick up some extra cash?

We were down in the subway for two reasons: to make extra cash and to make music. Over time we realized the inherent benefits that come with playing down in the subway every day and it became somewhat of an obsession of ours. Playing in the subway is paid rehearsal, free focus group testing, free advertising and also fun. There is nowhere else in the world that can offer all of those things simultaneously.

Is it weird transitioning from subway platform to a stage?

No. Before Too Many Zooz, all three of us were accomplished musicians in our own right, having performed on stages for years before ever trudging down into the subway. The subway is a grueling place. It is not forgiving. Honestly, the hardest part was playing down there. Our collective reemergence from the subways to the stages was rewarding and flowed naturally.

Obviously playing on Beyonce’s Lemonade was a pretty cool career boost. How did you get on her radar?

It was the power of the Internet. She saw one of our videos and wanted to work with us. Her people got a hold of us and we went from there. 

What did that exposure mean to you and was there an immediate benefit?

Working with Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks was an honour and a pleasure. We had gone viral a couple times over at that point so we we're really not thinking about the promotional side of things. It was simply amazing to be able to work with some of our heroes on a first hand basis and even more of an honor to know that they listen to us.

You’ve obviously become known globally and racked up millions of views (on YouTube). Is that hard to fathom considering what your origins as artists were?

To be frank: no. It's not surprising, at least to me it’s not. We live in a musical environment fueled by money. You are seeing more and more teams of writers crafting songs with a predetermined formula and more super group lineups being thrown together just to get people to stream and buy s--- records. Too Many Zooz is a breath of fresh air from what you're hearing on the radio. It's physical music. The audience sweats. We sweat. It's real.

Was there an original game plan when you started, or has the whole thing just snowballed beyond your expectations?

There was no plan. We woke up every single day of the year with an attitude, ready to go down and make music for the people of New York. New York respects the hustle, plain and simple.

What does your stage show consist of?

Our stage show is a little bit of everything. You'll hear things we play down in the subway as well as things you'll hear on our albums and EPs. You'll see Leo dancing a lot. You will feel crazy when you leave.

Have you ever been through Vancouver? What do you know about us up here?

Yeah we came to Vancity a couple years ago and rocked at the Fortune Sound Club. Fun place! But really we're still learning about Vancouver and hopefully will be experts after our upcoming visit on May 19th.