ZASKA serves up a feel-good blend of
modern funk, neo-soul, and jazz
Max Zaska is the guitar-wielding songwriter and arranger at the helm of ZASKA, a supergroup of talent that started with Hozier, the band’s original vocalist.
The love of a deeply funky groove and jazz improvisation blend with modern neo-soul influences and Zaska’s blues-rock roots to create a sound that doesn’t fit neatly into a single genre. You’ll hear influence from Vulfpeck, Snarky Puppy, Steely Dan, and Stevie Wonder.
ZASKA’s 2019 debut album, It Takes A Village features more than 25 performers from the Irish music scene and was released to universally stellar reviews. It came on the heels of ZASKA’s 3rd EP, 2018’s Stankstrumentals, featuring instrumental funk-jazz songs.
Max Zaska has a B.A. in Jazz Performance from the prestigious Newpark Music Centre in Dublin and studied with jazz legends in Brazil, Italy, and Canada.
With a reputation for high-energy live shows, Max was named one of Ireland’s best guitarists in 2018.
“You’ll be hard pressed to find a more joyous musical experience in Ireland in 2019.”
“As impressive as the Zaska experience is on record, the live show featuring his earth-shaking eight-piece band is an incomparable experience and one not to be missed.”
“This was such a fun night! Jamming with these banger merchants again.”
“…his live shows are a force to be reckoned with.”
ONWARD TO 2020
In 2020, Max Zaska is building on the incredible success he has achieved over the previous 14 months.
- On a writing hiatus in SE Asia, from November 2019 through to the end of January 2020, Max plans to release new music throughout the upcoming year.
- In Ireland, Max will bring his high-energy, 8-piece, big band experience to main stages and evening slots at select festivals.
- There are plans afoot for a return to London in 2020 with additional dates in the UK and Europe.
- ZASKA’s next live appearance will be supporting Vulfpeck’s Cory Wong in The Button Factory on 28 February 2020, a follow-up to the two shows they played together at The Sugar Club in February 2019.
Sep 2018 – Oct 2019 :: ZASKA played 24 shows in 14 months including the band’s first headliner outside of Ireland and first tour.
- Headlined 3 festivals
- Headlined Whelan’s for the first time
- Headlined first London show
- Headlined and sold out Button Factory (550 cap)
- Played 8 shows at Guinness Cork Jazz
- Supported Vulpeck’s Cory Wong over 2 nights in The Sugar Club
- Supported hip hop royalty The Midnight Hour (Ali Shaheed Muhammad/Tribe Called Quest & Adrian Younge/Kendrick Lamar)
- ZASKA led and backed the GoldenPlec all-star concert that included Hozier, Loah, God Knows, Melina Malone, and more
- Max Zaska’s ability to arrange his music for a diverse array of band configurations was put on display in 2019, with shows that included:
- acoustic duo
- instrumental 4-piece
- 5, 6, 8, and 10 piece bands featuring vocals and horns
Singles & Featured Artist
3 ZASKA stand-alone singles, each with a video
Santa Don’t Come to Everyone (feat. Carly Coonagh & Niall McCabe) – (11/2019)
Rear View (feat. Tolü Makay) – (10/2019)
Move On Up (Extended Live) – (09/2019)
- Rear View continues to make a solid impact on Irish radio
- Ongoing plays on RTÉ 2FM and 2XM,Dublin City FM, WLR, SPIN 103.8, 98FM, Flirt FM, Raidió na Life 106.4, and more.
- New track of the week on Across The Line (now ATL Introducing) on BBC Radio Ulster & BBC Radio Foyle
- A loop of Rear View was made the ongoing bed track for BBC Radio Ulster/Radio Foyle’s revamped ATL Introducing
- Internet radio plays on 8 Radio, The Irish Jam, and new track pick on PlayIrish
- Plays on NPR (USA) and Eastside FM (Australia)
Time The Healer (feat. Fehdah & Zaska) – Danny G & The Major 7ths – (11/2019)
The Last Mixed Tape
“… a musically and sonically vibrant song that moves and changes with an infectious urgency” (Rear View)
“Zaska brings the funk with a little help from Tolü Makay.” (Rear View)
LIsten To Discover
“Zaska’s solo is complete perfection.” (Time The Healer)
“One of the most unique and exciting albums in recent memory”
The Last Mixed Tape
“It Takes A Village is a simply charming album.”
The Irish Times
“This new record is a benchmark example of the talent that exists in this country.”
“Adopting a magpie-like approach, Zaska plunders the worlds of neo-soul, funk, hip-hop, rock and jazz, making for an enjoyably idiosyncratic listen.”
“It Takes A Village’ is sophisticated, nuanced, and very clever.”
Listen To Discover
“Showcasing sophisticated songwriting and ridiculously catchy hooks, it will be in your head for days.” (It’s Ridiculous)
“It’s downtempo, mellowed out funk at its very finest.” (It’s Ridiculous)
“This is a bright and breezy track which will have you toe-tapping in no time and maybe, just maybe, crack a few shapes around the kitchen or whatever room you’re in right now” (Cannot Will Not)
“A ray of sunshine during the dark winter, with its golden upbeat ethos.” (Cannot Will Not)
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Debut Album – (02/2019)
More than 25 artists including Wyvern Lingo, BARQ, Loah, Fehdah, and members of Gypsies On The Autobahn, Come On Live Long, Little Green Cars, Super Silly, and more
3 singles, each with a video:
My Body (feat. BARQ) – (04/2019)
It’s Ridiculous (feat. Louise Gaffney) – (01/2019)
Cannot Will Not (feat. Loah and Emma Garnett a.k.a. Fehdah) – (11/2018)
- It’s Ridiculous and Cannot Will Not both landed on the coveted Spotify New Music Friday UK playlist
- It’s Ridiculous secured a spot on the long-running H&M In Store Music playlist as well as a 2-month placement on British Airways inflight entertainment.
- It’s Ridiculous had radio airplay throughout Ireland + BBC Huw Stephens, 3FM (Netherlands), NPR (USA), as well as blog coverage and influential playlists in Japan and Singapore.
Max Zaska’s output in the last 14-months is staggering. As an independently released artist, he is acutely focused on building an audience both within and outside of Ireland. To measure the growth that’s been accomplished in this promotional cycle, it’s important to mark where it began, with the album crowdfunding initiative at the end of 2016.
Between July 2013 and April 2016, ZASKA released two 4-song EPs and one stand-alone single
November 2016: Debut Album Crowdfunding
Tapping into the support of his audience and collaborators, Max launched a crowdfunding campaign:
- Successfully raised a whopping €14,500 for his first album
- Almost 500 contributors
- The highest number of individual donors in a campaign and the 3rd highest amount raised on the Irish FundIt platform that year.
Online audience growth :: Sep 2018 – Oct 2019 (14 months)
With the release os Snarky from the Stankstrumentals EP in September 2018, the 14-month promotional cycle began. In that time, online growth has been substantial:
- Spotify streams: +276,000
- Spotify listeners: +79,000
- Spotify followers: +1,200
- Email list: +1200
- YouTube Subscribers: +500
- Instagram Followers: +1400
- Facebook Page Followers: +4000
- Facebook Page Likes: +3200
- Twitter Followers: +750
- Less than a month after his 2016 album crowdfunding closed, Max welcomed his first child into the world. Iza’s birth would influence the very core of the album, how he would present it to the world, and Max’s approach to work-life balance.
- The album was released in February 2019, and 5 weeks later, Max welcomed his second daughter. With his commitment to work-life balance and participatory parenting, Eden’s birth in the middle of a 14-month promotional push makes Max’s professional achievements during this time even more extraordinary, sleep deprivation aside.
Max took on two significant projects in the summer of 2019.
A 10-day campaign to raise €2200 to provide instruments for adults and children living in Direct Provision.
OUTCOME: Met the fundraising goal within 36-hours and raised a total of €4400+ over 10 days. Full recap.
A 28-day video and social media campaign with the goal to collaborate with Vulfpeck on a track. The campaign was designed to:
- Get Vulfpeck’s attention and start a conversation about a collaboration
- Tap into the Vulfpeck fan base (Vulfpack)
- Create a volume of video content that showcased Max’s talent and personality
OUTCOME: Contact from the band and ongoing discussions about a potential collaboration. Coverage by a Vulfpeck fan video podcast, mentions and praise in Vulfpeck fan groups and forums. Evergreen video content to showcase Max’s talent and personality to new fans. Full recap.