Zach Norris, 17
What instrument do you mainly play, and why did it initially interest you?
I play guitar. I think it interests me because my dad played guitar when he was younger, and that’s the main kind of music I listened to. It’s our music in a sense, and it just seemed cool to do. I’ve never really known anything better, I guess.
At what age did you start showing an interest in music, and did you ever stop this progression?
I started to play guitar in second grade, but [the general interest] was probably way younger than that. My parents have stories where I would sing all the time, as a very small child, so probably the majority of my life. I took a lot of breaks. It happens a lot less now. There was a lot of reaching a point progression, then it gets too hard and you give up.
When did you know that music was something more meaningful to you?
Probably my sophomore year; that’s when it clicked. That’s when I started writing songs. I had been playing songs in a band for a while but I hadn’t sat down to write a song. It all started to click, you realize that you can filter emotions.
What message does your band try to convey?
I’ve gone through a couple phases. At this point, I’ve played in a lot of bands that have different messages. I’ve played in a band called Slog, where the message is resistance, fighting outer issues within yourself. My solo projects varies.
What’s the difference in being an independent musician, from being a member of a band?
Like I said with my band Slog, the writing process is collaborative. You don’t just sit down and write a punk song by yourself, everyone’s working together. It’s angry music, so we tend to get mad all the time. But then I think when I’m playing my own music, and I’m just in my room, writing by myself, I can do whatever the hell I want. [I can] change things, add things, right there. I think having that outlet of individual work is always a good thing to have.
What music do you listen to?
All, I’ve never had boundaries. I like what I like. Little pieces of everything.
Describe the moments when you feel especially inspired.
Probably when I’m listening to other music. I go to school downtown so if I’m walking downtown, music is all I’m thinking about. If an idea pops up, I’m always like, “I have to do that right now.”
What events or programs do you wish you had in Tacoma to showcase your music?
More places to play, because I can record all the music I want. Musicians are lacking, especially in places to play; places that are accessible to other people. There’s not a ton of all-ages venues. Coffee shops are hard to put on a show.
Would you say Tacoma represents young artists well?
I think it does better with young artists compared to Seattle, definitely. Everyone’s more equal here in terms of age. Everyone moves with each other. I think it definitely does a better job than other places.