With P.S. I Love You available now and a remastered version of Sycamore on the way, Zhero and Matthew Cyr have continued to prove themselves to be a prolific and enigmatic duo. As they set their sights on what’s next, Hxppy Thxxghts caught up with Zhero and Cyr via email to discuss their catalogue, creative evolution and more.
Enjoy the full interview below.
You’ve referred to P.S. I Love You as the end of an era. Could you please elaborate on that?
Zhero: P.S. I Love You was the end of a 3-part story. Sycamore expressed the feeling of lust in a new relationship. Blue Roy expressed, I guess, the realization that the person or situation wasn’t exactly what you wanted or thought it would be. And P.S. kind of illustrated moving on and getting over that relationship all together.
With P.S. I Love You out now and the remastered Sycamore on the way, where do you see the direction of your music heading?
Zhero: Shit, that’s a good one. Conveying my emotions effectively has always been an ongoing focus of mine, I think the “sound” most times follows.
Matt: It’s really undetermined. I think we’re just trying to find what we’re into the most in terms of different sounds. It’s just been a lot of experimentation with no real barriers.
One of the most appealing aspects of your work is the poignant ways the art mirrors your life. What and where do you find the inspiration for your writing and the music?
Zhero: Transparency. I want people to see a piece of me in themselves. I try to offer a different perspective to shit.
Who decided to return to Sycamore and what is the goal behind reintroducing the project to the world?
Zhero: Matt. (laughs)
Matt: Sycamore was originally built on a whim of trial and error and we wanted it to be accessible on platforms that people gravitate to today with an easier listening experience.
Where and when did Zhero and Matthew first meet? And what was the catalyst to the now prolific artistic relationship?
Matt: I was invited to a friends birthday party that I knew nobody at. This tall mf’er walked in the room with “what’s good, g?” The rest is history.
Zhero: Unreal. Shout out Lynwood (laughs).
What’s the creative process like for you guys in regards to writing songs and creating the soundscape?
Matt: I think a lot of it has to do with Zhero and I will have long conversations just about life. In moments of inspiration, I try to write sounds that reflect what we’re going through, some of which can inspire Zhero to write lyrics and we elaborate on those ideas together until we’re comfortable releasing it.
Zhero: We’re both fans of music and are curious enough to play with different sounds, genres & things like that without paying much mind to it. We have unreleased projects that sound nothing similar to each other. It’s kind of tight.
In the 3 years that have passed since the original release of the EP, what have been some of the biggest moments of change or growth for you? Both artistically and personally.
Matt: I think we’ve just had a lot of personal growth in terms of maturing as adults and artistically trying to expand what we listen to and draw inspiration from the ever-changing industry.
Zhero: It took a lot of time for me to really welcome the idea of change until more recently with my sobriety and shit. I’m still learning though. Growing up still hurts.
Man, I remember when you first introduced yourself as Zhero. That roll-out stands as one of my favorite experiences – the storyline, the mystery, the depth that encompassed the whole thing. What are your thoughts now when you look back on the first moments of your story as Zhero?
Zhero: I think we did an alright job setting the basis and tone of who “Zhero” was then. A lot of that still holds true today but I think inevitably as artists – as humans – we grow, sometimes into new people…
Matt: When I reflect on that moment in time, it was one of the most pure and confident expressions we have released.
Can you shed some light on what the most valuable lessons you’ve learned or experiences you’ve survived through that have sort of shaped the person you’ve grown into over the last few years?
Zhero: Heartbreak, addiction, isolation – dealing with that.
This one is for Matthew – how was the process for you in returning to Sycamore and having to remaster an old project?
Matt: Returning to Sycamore was a goal I’ve had in mind for a few years and when we originally created the tracks, I had little to no knowledge of how to produce or engineer audio. Opening the original files with everything I know now was a scary experience (laughs). After taking a few years to refine my knowledge and skills, we figured now was as good of a time as ever to re-release it to complete Zhero’s vision of a trilogy.
What were your initial thoughts when you relistened for the first time? And what kind of emotions came to the surface during that experience?
Zhero: It was humbling listening to the inexperience in things – like my voice or my writing technique – but it, in the same breath, shows growth. We chose to use the original vocals from each session for that purpose.
Maybe most importantly, how are you doing – mentally, emotionally and all that?
Zhero: Trying to find a balance just like everyone else, man. Working on a lot of new music trying to keep busy. I feel good though, maybe even alive? (laughs)