Minnesota pop-punks Vera Zero find chart success…in Australia?

October 8, 2008 at 8:01 am (Alternative Rock, Punk, Punk Rock) (, , , , , )

Interview by Julian Wilson

Vera Zero is one of the hottest indie punk acts in Australia. The only thing strange about that is they’re actually from the U.S. Based in Minnesota, the group (actually singer/songwriter Rob Kerr and hired musicians) break through the cookie-cutter grip of pop-punk with a higher degree of wit and intelligence.

Julian Wilson: “War & Peace,” the title track of Vera Zero’s latest EP, hit No. 2 on an indie chart in Australia. How does it feel to get your work recognized millions of miles away from where you currently reside?

Rob Kerr: I was very pleased!  We have a nice following down under and I hope we can get over there to play in the near future.

Wilson: As far as alternative music classification goes, Vera Zero fits squarely into the pop-punk mold. Are you an old-school punk rock fan? What affection does the genre have for you?

Kerr: To be honest, I never have been a punk rock fan,  I like melodic rock but I also like to go very hard rock like with the title track of the EP War & Peace. I think it’s this marriage of melodic and hard rock that gives me the pop-punk label.

Wilson: How long have you been at this? Has the style of Vera Zero differed from what it was like in the beginning?

Kerr: Yes! I have been working hard at this for over 10 years and Vera Zero is much more polished now. I really didn’t have much of an idea of what I wanted to sound like in the early days, and it takes a while to mature as a writer and producer and to come up with your own definitive style.  I feel like I have finally developed a “Vera Zero sound.”  

Wilson: Do your lyrics play a role in what the music will sound like? Or do you come up with the riffs first, then fit your lyrics into the arrangements?

Kerr: I usually start with the title and then the lyrics.  Then I get the guitar out and put it all together.  But it doesn’t always work that way; I was watching a football game on TV one time and the announcer mentioned that for one of the teams it was “feast or famine” and that led to the lyrics in “I Bleed.” And on another occasion I came up with the riff for “War & Peace” first and then came the rest of the song so there is no hard and fast rule to songwriting for me.

Wilson: What artists have had the biggest impact on you as a songwriter and musician?

Kerr: I have had many influences, but the biggest ones would be Paul McCartney and Gary Numan.



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