There couldn’t have been a better title for Zigadoo Monecylips’ debut album than Her|Story.
It takes its name from the only love song Zak Baker ever wrote, about the night he met his wife Leigh. And the story of how Zak (vox, guitar) met Leigh (vox, trumpet) is the story of Zigadoo Moneyclips.
“Since the project itself was born from a desire to make music together, it made perfect sense to call the album that,” Zak says. “Plus, ultimately, Herstory is History, Theirstory, and Ourstory. Women are what make the world possible. Try giving birth to yourself without your mother’s help.”
The genre-bending songs on Her|Story were written over the course of a few years, primarily composed without any thought they’d see the light of day. Zak looped guitar and bass parts, adding in lyrics after melodies. He would play back what he’d composed, over and over, and wait for inspiration to strike – some songs wrote themselves in minutes, others are still hiding somewhere on an old hard drive, never fully realized. And then there were the songs Leigh would write – the lyrics and melody would spontaneously hit her and she would record herself singing through the entire song, and later Zak would help her put chords behind them.
Zak’s approach was more synthetic, Leigh’s more organic – and that dichotomy is the thread that runs through Her|Story. Leigh is the primary songwriter on four tracks, Zak took the lead on the remaining eight. The balance and contrast of their styles – from the way they write to moods, themes, language – is matched by their tendency to float from pop to funk, ska to jazz, hip-hop to rock and back again.
Her|Story was recorded by Ari Morris primarily at Sadhana Sound Studios, a room with a history quirky enough to make Zigadoo Moneyclips feel right at home: it was Isaac Hayes’ spot to lay down the voice of “Chef” on South Park. Drums and acoustic guitar were added on the legendary tracking floor at Young Avenue Sound. “We brought in Paul Taylor (Amy LaVere, Jimbo Mathus) to track drums, because his studio experience in this town is through the roof,” Zak says. “He brought a lot of great ideas to the table for different setups and tambours on each song. One of the greatest things about playing music in Memphis is having access to the level of professionalism that was available with such role players as Ari and Paul.”
Completing the team with Zak and Leigh were Josh Aguilar (saxophone and raps), Adam Brooks (fiddle) and Jamie Davis (bass), as well as contributions from Dan Brown (vox) and Andrew Geraci (upright bass).
Her|Story- at its core, is an optimistic record. Somewhere right in the middle of that juxtaposition of Leigh’s songs – emotion, love, heartbreak – with Zak’s – observation, social commentary, fringe – lives Zigadoo Moneyclips. They’re funky and freeing, danceable, contagious, but smart – and, like Zigadoo Moneyclips, don’t take themselves too seriously.
Her|Story is out via all major digital retailers and at ZigadooMoneyclips.com on November 20.