SUR channels violence, love, and nature in his debut EP.
California born musician/producer Zack Arnett’s newest project began after breaking away from the mind-numbing buzz of Los Angeles and spending time traversing through the wild side of California. This exploration, unbeknownst to him, would birth his debut EP, Savage Beast. Moving from bouncing beats to melodic odes to love throughout the tracklist, SUR doesn’t hesitate to show his range of talent.
SUR clues us in on how the project came about, and his inspirations for Savage Beast.
“Lean Back” is your first official release. What about that song propelled you to chose that as your first impression?
“Lean Back” had a placement on a video game called “Need for Speed”, and it happened organically like that. It was one of the first songs I’ve made too, so we wanted to come out the gate with something more hard-hitting, so it kinda organically came together.
I know you left L.A. to travel around California. What specifically pushed you to leave LA and travel, and what has that done for your music?
Shit, everyone’s gotta leave L.A. You gotta leave the city, and get out because your brain will just fry as you stay in the confines of the city, especially mine. My other project was just stale, and the music I was making at the time I felt was a bit stale. I wanted to try something new but I didn’t know what it was, so I just said “fuck it” and was able to hit the road with a friend and he had an RV. We put my studio in the back of the RV and we just rode around. We were making some cool, fun vacation music in the day and at night I was writing these songs, and that was how it was conceived.
When you first set out, did you have any expectations for yourself or did you feel any kind of pressure to create something super solid?
No pressure. I didn’t even know I was making a record, I was literally just making music as a form of therapy at the time. There was no standards put on, or expectations. It was just free-flowing.
What inspired the concept of the “Lean Back” music video? Where did that visions stem from?
I like to keep a consistent theme happening here. It’s violence, love, and nature. All of those things, that song is all of those things together. I wanted to show that visually, and I kept getting visuals of what would be the video as I’m making the song, as I’m mixing the song, things are popping into my head. There’s definitely going to be murder scenes, that was happening in my head at all times. Me and Philip Montgomery, the director, sat down and just banged out treatment and he really brought my concepts to life with his head. He switched some things up and came up with that and I’m super proud of it.
What made you chose that poem in the opening of “Lean Back”?
It’s something I was writing, it’s actually two poems put together. It’s just me summing up certain aspects of what people believe is heaven and hell, the devil and God, good and bad, and all that shit. The whole song is basically, it’s kinda is my point of view that good and bad is subject to perception, as well as heaven and hell and everything, including religion, is all a man made tale that we tell ourselves. I think it’s all a bit deeper, and I believe that heaven and hell exist currently on earth with us and we float in and out of it throughout our day. Some more so than others.
You have a very distinct sound. Where does that inspiration come from?
Keeping my ears open, being open to all kinds of genres of music. I’m a hip-hop head at heart, it’s always gonna really, the depths of it is really going to be drawn from that. I’m constantly subconsciously mixing a little bit of my hip-hop background with some rock and roll, it’s a little weird but I hope you guys like it.
Tell me about Stix + Stones. It feels like the perfect Cali road trip song.
Yeah, good job. That’s basically what that song is. It was written, conceptualized on the road and I just wanted it to feel,l not so much California, it was actually like, I don’t know I kept seeing cornfields and I feel like it takes place in like… it’s like a varsity blues scenario or something, I don’t know. This fucking place I haven’t even been, but I see cornfields and just the freedom of the country and a romance there but something, definitely a young romance of some sort, I’m not quite sure yet.
Where did the title “Savage Beast” come from?
It kinda sums everything up for me, the whole love, violence, nature thing. I feel like we’re all savage creatures and we act a certain way and put standards on ourselves, we dress and play a part but at the end of the day, what’s really happening inside of our heads is really animalistic in all ways. We’re trying to procreate and then some people want just straight power, and whatever your motives might be, good or bad, the savage beast is the most capable version of you at its core, stripped down. And I think everybody’s got it, whether they want to admit it or not. It’s in us.