Zachary Ross and The Divine - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Zac of Zachary Ross and The Divine. We discussed one of his fondest memories from his time in Man Overboard, why he created his new project, writing his song, “A Light Over Massachusetts” in honor of Tim Landers, a favorite musical moment from the song, details about the band’s upcoming EP, signing with Smartpunk Records, the potential for a return for Man Overboard at some point, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

Absolutey, thank you for taking an interest.

Man Overboard and Transit had a meteoric rise in the scene that was basically happening at the same time. What’s one of your favorite memories from those days?

There are so many. It's jarring to try and think of just one. My fondest would probably have to be bringing the entire show back to this auto-shop in Lowell Massachusetts (I think?). It was after hours obviously and would just be a whole lot of underage drinking and whatever came with that.

You’re well known for your music with Man Overboard. Can you tell me about how you started this new project and what you want to accomplish with it?

It was started out of desperation to be honest. I thought I could handle just doing nothing while Man Overboard guys raised their families and accomplished their individual goals but I learned I can’t stay home and be quiet. I need a band all the time. I have to always be the singer of an active band or I do not feel like myself on this Earth.

Your song “A Light Over Massachusetts” has a lot to do with the passing of Tim Landers. Can you tell me about writing this song and where your headspace was when you wrote it?

Yeah, I mean that's really it. Tim is still the closest person to me to ever pass away. That shit messed me up so badly. When I found out I headed to the mountains alone and spent a day by myself where I came up with the concept of the song, maybe the chorus. Honestly after that though, I wrote the songs in fifteen-minute increments because it was so fucking depressing I couldn't work on it longer than that without crying. So it probably took me longer to write this song than anything I've ever written.

The song is really good. I think it has some elements of the songs you wrote with Man Overboard, but it sounds like you tried a few new things. What’s your favorite musical or lyrical moment from the song?

Thank you. Yeah, that was just a taste of the new style to be honest. I didn't wanna go overboard (no pun intended) on the band's first single, especially one memorializing my friend who died. But to be honest, in my mind this is never going to be a “pop-punk” band.

My favorite musical moment of the song is the bridge with all the orchestral instruments taking the lead because I have always wanted to arrange a part like that. Why not finally do it for Tim? I think it came out really beautiful. 

I also love using drum machines and synths and stuff and Tim was really into that type of thing as well.

You have an EP coming up. What can you tell me about it? How far along in the process are you so far? Who are you working with and what’s the recording process been like so far?

As far as the process goes it's done. It's being mixed and mastered right now. I can tell you that it sounds like Man Overboard, but it doesn't. It's just good ole me but I am not 22 anymore. It's catchy and it's rock music and it's pop music. I don't really know how punk it is…or if I care for it to ever be looked at as part of any subculture at all. This band is inspired by everything from Guns N Roses to The 1975. There are no limits or labels anymore in our mind.

You signed with Smartpunk for this EP. What made you decide to go with them for this release?

I talked to labels for months. Matt and Smartpunk were the last ones we met with.

I felt lots of labels were telling me what I wanted to hear and just gassing me up or straight up fucking lying to me to be honest.

Matt understood my vision and seemed real. I knew the first time we were on the phone that this could be my friend, not just the guy who runs my label. So I went with Smartpunk. I'm looking for actual people and personalities and brains. Not just money and clout.

Man Overboard was going to do some anniversary shows, but they got cancelled. Do you plan to do those shows at some point in the future? What are the chances that we’ll hear more music from the band?

Yeah, we absolutely have plans to reschedule them. There was covid, some people were dealing with health issues within their family. I personally really wanted to play those shows and was really upset when we had to cancel them.

Man Overboard will 100 percent be back, but if I told you that it was a priority to anyone in the band I would be lying. Hence my new band.

New song? Probably someday.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Zachary Ross and The Divine is an American pop-rock band. If you stuck with me since Man Overboard then I love you like family. Thank you

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