Blackpool native ZAND is an artist that refuses to be restricted when it comes to creativity. The neon-green obsessed ZAND has been turning heads recently with a sound that’s hard to pin down. Dark and brooding, ZAND’s new four track EP ‘UGLY POP‘ is an impactful exclamation mark on what’s been a tough but successful year for the rising star.

We caught up with ZAND just before the release to find out more about their inspiration, style and love for music.

What first inspired you to make music? 

I can’t pinpoint the first moment I knew, but I’ve been singing or whatever all my life. I started playing guitar at age 11, and learned some bass. I was obsessed with bands like Paramore, Gorillaz, MCR, All American Rejects, Taking Back Sunday, Linkin Park etc and my earlier influences were the likes of P!nk, Rihanna, Britney, Christina Aguilera, Kelis and Ciara.

I have countless influences spanning across all genres, composers like Hans Zimmer shaped my childhood and my love for sonically epic movie scores, then Imogen Heap took a hold on me in my teenage years along with Nicki Minaj. It would be a disservice to try naming every single artist that influenced me because there really are so many but they definitely all contributed in one way or another to what I love and write today musically. 

When did you decide or know that music was going to be something you took seriously? 

Probably about 2014 when I first got noticed for a cover I did on YouTube, that’s when I really entered the industry. A lot has changed since then. 

Your music is pretty hard to tie down to one genre, how would you describe your sound? 

Ugly Pop. It’s the term I coined for my own music anyway, like its own genre. That is also the title of my upcoming EP, UGLY POP. It’s kind of a double entendre because it can be like, ugly, dark pop with all different genre bending elements and industrial warped shit, but also the subject matter and lyrical content may touch on what many mainstream inclined folk might consider “ugly” or dark aswell. Like sexual assault, transphobia, mental illness, whorephobia, or even just me taking the utter piss, it goes on. It’s whatever I want it to be and definitely carries empowering and feminist themes for the most part, if that wasn’t already obvious upon listening. 

You’re always rocking some in your face green looks, what inspires your sense of fashion and… why green? 

I dyed my hair neon green in November 2018 (nearly 2 years ago now), found that it matched a neon green adidas long sleeve I had and that was it, everything i wore had to be color co-ordinated and matching. I dyed so many of my clothes. I have severe OCD so that probably contributed to it in some way… at least it’s positive though and I look good ha. I do wear other colours though like… black? As for WHY green I can’t even tell you, it just looks right and feels right when i’m wearing it, which is nice because before this, I never really had a solid sense of style. And now it feels like I do and it’s become a little part of my identity, so I like that. 

Finally, 2020’s obviously been a tough year for everyone but what’s the biggest positive you’re going to take away from the year? 

I spent the entire year holed up in my room working on my EP, UGLY POP, which is finally going to be unleashed to the world on 26th November.