On the Record with Nathan Zoob | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

On the Record with Nathan Zoob

“If there’s something that unites the songs, it’s a love of genre across the board.”

Nathan Zoob is something of a fixture of the Pittsburgh music scene, as a member of Wreck Loose and singer-songwriter Mark Dignam’s band. Now he’s releasing his first solo record, as Zoob. The five-track album, Curriculum Vitae, showcases Zoob’s penchant for genre-bending, most readily bringing to mind ’80s-era Paul Simon. 

Photo courtesy of Chris Sprowls

Is there a concept behind the record?

I wrote these songs over probably three to five years, and they each kind of evoke a certain period in my life. But there was no unifying theme. I think one of the reasons I went with Curriculum Vitae as a title was that the only unifying theme was that they are my personal expressions.

Looking at the finished product, did any unexpected themes materialize?

The way they fit together is that they sort of evoke genre exercises. … If there’s something that unites the songs, it’s a love of genre across the board.

How did the range of genres emerge in a practical sense?

I always sort of consider myself a folk writer. … When I do solo work, it’s usually just me and an acoustic guitar. [In this case] I wanted [the songs] to live independently of … my own stylistic tics. I had a lot of people helping me and we sort of all explored the best way to flesh them out together. So I was surprised to find gypsy jazz and a bit of world beat, and influences like Radiohead and others that I love, but [of which] I don’t necessarily see myself carrying on the tradition.

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