It's an exciting thing, being in a band with your brother and sister. I don't know if anyone else could handle my musical expectations the way they do, or for that matter, put up with me the way they do...
Dave Zagar never set out to form a family band. In fact, after starting off playing solo shows, he added his brother Andy only because he was the only person he knew who could play the drums. Eventually they added Laura to the mix, and they became Dave Zagar Trio. “I’ve always been fond of the piano in rock music,” Dave says. “Adding Laura’s piano talents seemed like the right direction to take because we wanted to fill out the sound. What amazes me about the piano is how beautiful an instrument it is...and it also rocks.”
Distance has always been a factor for the band. All three are from the small town of Muskegon, Michigan, but Dave moved to Chicago to finish school just as the band had formed. Only after the move did they decide to record a full length demo album. Dave had been writing songs since high school, initially for the acoustic guitar only. While in Chicago, he’d send newly written songs to Andy and Laura back in Muskegon, to come up with parts for the songs. Then they would meet on the weekends at a recording studio in Indiana.
“Very little time went into preparing those songs for the studio,” Dave says. “More often than not, Laura and Andy would show up, hear a song for the first time, and make up a part right then and there. We had almost no money to be in that studio, and our busy lives afforded us no time to arrange these songs. We were clueless and inexperienced to the recording process, but we just wanted to make a record.”
In June 2011, Dave Zagar Trio released Caught in a Melodramatic Trance, a 13-track demo album, on CD. But the songs struggled to define a specific sound for the band, as almost every song had a different style. Some were changed from acoustic to electric, never intending to sound that way in the first place. Still, the band was proud to have completed a (demo) album in a recording studio for the first time.
“I think we’ve come a long way since our demo,” says Dave. “We’ve played lots of shows, and each time we get more comfortable and polished to the point where we don’t play the songs the way they are on the demo. This is the way they should have been recorded.”
In mid 2012, the trio recorded a new single, “In Dreams,” with engineer/producer Mike Council. They met Mike after playing a live community college radio station show he was in charge of. “In Dreams” was the new sound the band was looking for, and more accurately captivated the energy of a Dave Zagar Trio live performance. The band was beginning to dirty up their sound a bit, which is exactly what they were going for.
Shortly after recording “In Dreams,” the trio rented an SUV and embarked on a journey clear across the country to record a music video for the song. The project was produced, directed, and funded by Ryan Moran, an independent film director in Los Angeles, and friend of the band. While in Los Angeles, the trio played a show at the legendary Roxy Theatre on Sunset Boulevard. The music video was released in January 2013.
With the band’s new direction, Dave wanted their first official record to be written and recorded collaboratively as a band. Since all three members sing, they’ve also been focusing on writing more vocal parts to create vibrant and catchy three part harmonies.
The sound of Dave Zagar Trio is simple: guitar, piano, and drums. Although they have no bass, Laura fills in with low end keys. Their melodic style, use of the synthesizer and three part harmonies creates an upbeat fuse of indie rock-pop music.
DZ3 has been featured in the news as a rising local band and in the Chicago RedEye’s “Local Bands to Know.”
Whether Dave Zagar Trio is performing for capacity filled bars or seemingly empty venues, their style, chemistry, and energy show that they truly love performing music.