Nicholas Krgovich has had a prolific solo career since his band P:ano ended in 2006. In addition to collaborations with fellow Canadian artists Joseph Shabason, Chris Harris, Veda Hille, and Rose Melberg, he formed the band No Kids (with P:ano bandmates Justin Kellam and Julia Chirka), played in Mount Eerie and Dear Nora, and composed music for John Early and Kate Berlant’s Would It Kill You To Laugh?
Krgovich describes the impetus for the first new P:ano music in 17 years, which also pays tribute to fellow Vancouver-ites and Zum labelmates The Beans. (Fun fact: Beans vocalist/guitarist Tygh Runyan is an actor on the show Versailles and recently toured as bassist for The Pink Mountaintops).
“I got a note from George Chen that said ‘Do you wanna do a song for a new Zum Comp? 25th anniversary’ and I said ‘Of course!’ And then immediately in my head I was like ‘25 years!’ ‘What is time?’ etc. which has been happening a lot since turning forty last summer – it’s made my late teens and twenties feel very far away and alien and kind of fun to think about.
So, I texted Larissa (Loyva), Julia (Chirka) and Justin (Kellam) and asked if they’d want to get together and record a song for the compilation and they all were like ‘yeah! Why not?’ – so we did! We dusted off our stuff and made our first sounds together since our last show in 2006 which was kind of epically at the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona. Seventeen years ago! I know I keep harping on the passage of time and it happens to everybody and it isn’t really that special but I dunno! I am loving that the band I started with Larissa in high school has been getting together regularly after a seventeen year sabbatical and playing together and making new songs. Just for fun! And in a way just because George sent a DM!
We ended up recording a version of ‘Hollow Stars’ by The Beans off their Zum release Crane Wars. Vancouver was so different back then, the sound of The Beans encapsulates that time in a lot of ways. The Beans were basically the house band at the Sugar Refinery which once it closed in 2003 was a total end of an era for me. Nothing has come around to replace what that was and what that felt like in that specific way. But what a time to be a 19 or 20 year old making music in Vancouver!
Anyway! Happy 25th anniversary to Zum – and thanks to George for flipping this rock. I’m gonna see if I still have my brown Zum t-shirt and bookbag in the back of my closet at my parent’s house. Stay tuned!”
Zum started as a print fanzine but evolved into a standalone record label in 1998. Started in the Bay Area by siblings Yvonne (Xiu Xiu, Little Otsu) and George Chen (Common Eider, King Eider, KIT, Chen Santa Maria), they launched the Zum Audio compilation series and started releasing vinyl and CDs from upstart acts in California and as far away as Canada, Italy, and Australia.
“With Zum we released our first ep ‘Iceberg’, recorded in the rehearsal room towards the end of the ‘90s,” Giardini di Mirò’s Corrado Nuccini writes from Italy. “It was extraordinary news for us to think that our music could reach America and think that at the time there was no Spotify, Facebook, or YouTube. It was a real thrill.”
While Yvonne left the label to focus on her budding retail business Little Otsu, George organized all-ages shows in the Bay Area with the show promotion collective Club Sandwich.
After taking a break from releasing music in the early 2010s and relocating to Los Angeles, Zum returned to physical releases in 2019.
2023 marks the 25th anniversary of Zum as a record label proper. Zum Audio Vol 5 is a genre-agnostic double CD format, necessitated by the 2:20 runtime of these tracks. The latest iteration features legacy Zum artists GROWING, The Intima, P:ano, Giardini di Mirò (collaborating with SunnO)))’s Daniel O’Sullivan), My Heart, an Inverted Flame, Somnambulists, and Davey Harms (fka Mincemeat Or Tenspeed).
The compilation also shows new configurations by old friends like Exotic Gardens (Aaron Coyes of Peaking Lights), Curse All Kings (Rob Fisk of 7 Year Rabbit Cycle and Common Eider, King Eider), Jonathan Snipes (Captain Ahab, clipping.), Second Dinner (Colin Langenus from USA IS A MONSTER), Paul Costuros (Total Shutdown, Death Sentence: Panda!) in a duo with Marshall Trammell (Black Spirituals, Music Research Strategies), Chris Ando (Mikaela’s Fiend) as The Drivers, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Raven Chacon in a duo with Chicago activist/writer/musician Mark Trecka, Adam Hervey’s (Pehr Records, Timonium) instrumental rock quartet Eucalyptus, Portland ambient vet Marcus Fischer, and Kevin Gan Yuen of Sutekh Hexen debuting his project EERIÆRMOR.
The new blood includes Las Vegas warped synth punk purveyors Spring Breeding, Oakland dirge metal trio KIM, spastic hardcore from Trough, power pop post-punk of Baus, synth workout from Left Hand Path label founder Nihar Bhatt, Belgian visual artist and curator Wouter Vanhaelmeesch’s loner guitar exploration as Builenradar, a dance punk remix by Low Praise, noise rock jam by Saigon’s Rắn Cạp Đuôi, and a beatific cosmic-Americana contribution from Aux Meadows.
Cover artwork and packaging for this compilation was executed by Robert Beatty who has created iconic covers for Oneohtrix Point Never, Oh Sees, Kesha, and his own project Three Legged Race.
Zum Audio, Volume 5
Street Date: Aug. 18, 2023
Davey Harms – The Illegal Horns
Spring Breeding – Gina Sleeps All Day
KIM – Madam
Curse All Kings – Domestication
GROWING – Zebulon 1/15/23 (Excerpt)
Aux Meadows – Modern Nostalgia (Alternate Take)
P:ano – Hollow Stars
Builenradar – Ondankbaar Kind
Somnambulists – Gathering
Marcus Fischer – Night Paving
Marshall Trammell & Paul Costuros Duo – Blue Cube
Rắn Cạp Đuôi – Excerpt From Shanghai Community Radio Performance
My Heart, an Inverted Flame – The Ever-Expansion
The Drivers – For Oscar
Nihar – Mercy on Thee
Baus – Big Black Cloak
Trough – Vicious Tumors
The Intima – Public Secret
Low Praise – Forget That It’s Summer (Area Mann Disco Dub)
Exotic Gardens – Drugs & TV
Eucalyptus – Shade of Prey
Jonathan Snipes – Seaworthy
Raven Chacon & Mark Trecka – Simultaneous Extensions
EERIÆRMOR – Xiǎoxīn
Second Dinner – Kinda Pandemonium
Giardini di Mirò w/ Daniel O’Sullivan – Casa di Confine