My Head is a Moshpit, the new album from self-sustaining Canadian artist Verzache, combines a DIY ethic with a world-stage sound.
The term ‘bedroom pop’ gets thrown around a little too valiantly these days (I know I know, Happy Mag is guilty of it too). Yes, music production technology has become accessible to the point of ubiquitousness, but there’s still a legible difference between the average Joe writing music from their bedroom and someone like Verzache.
Fame doesn’t seem to be on the artist’s bucket list, though it has certainly found him. His music is a journal set to refined, self-produced beats, and in his own words, he wouldn’t care if nobody listened. He’d be doing this shit anyway.
My Head is a Moshpit is the long-awaited debut album from Verzache, a 19-track opus that blows his personal life across the last two years up into billboard-sized lettering. Though he may have agonised over every beat, the album comes across as an effortless piece of on-trend pop that dares to try something new with every other track.
We caught up with Verzache, real name Zach Farache, for a deep dive into the album. While plundering the halls of My Head is a Moshpit, he dropped more than a few pearls of wisdom surrounding the mystery of being an artist in 2021, from how to cope with a lack of direction to why creating for yourself should come first.
HAPPY: All the data right now says that if you want to crush Spotify and the other streaming services, you should stick to singles. With that in mind, what attracted you to a massive 19-track album?
VERZACHE: I had to entirely disregard that, just straight-up not think about that. Because I’d been doing that, essentially – for more than a couple of years I’ve just been dropping singles. That’s been the method I’ve been going for and I enjoy it, but it’s definitely been an entirely different experience as a musician to make a single versus a full 19-track album.
But I think I went for it because I’ve always wanted to do that, I’ve always wanted to make an album… I never wanted to make a 19-track album, per se, but it happened! You know, 12 goes to 15 goes to 19 and you have a bunch of songs. It just happened, I wanted to make a cohesive project and that involved making a lot of these different elements. I totally disregarded that cardinal rule of success in Spotify-land.
HAPPY: I think a lot of those rules should be taken with a grain of salt from an artistic standpoint, anyway.
VERZACHE: Totally, I’m with that for sure.
HAPPY: If you’re romantic about this idea of album then, is there something you think My Head is a Moshpit as a whole has allowed you to say that you weren’t already able to say on the four singles?
VERZACHE: I think the four singles were a bit of a precursor to the different styles that were going to be in the project, and easing people into this thing that I tried out. I looked at it as like a new challenge, or just a new thing for me to do. I know there’s people who listen to my shit who are listening for that one thing, like ‘I want that one style that he had’, so I was easing that in. I think [the singles] don’t fully represent the idea of the project, so when you listen to the whole thing together, you realise it’s a lot more than just those.
HAPPY: How much did you agonise over the tracklisting?
VERZACHE: Oh my gosh, a lot. It was so whack, dude. I’d constantly be going back and forth, I’d be at my girlfriend’s house, constantly on the Soundcloud reorganising and reordering, like ‘oh this could never be on the album’, and then it ends up on the album! It was just a lot of indecisiveness and we got to the point where my manager was like ‘you need to put the paintbrush down ’cause this is dragging out and you need to call it quits. It sounds good right now’.
HAPPY: I thought a few of the later tracks, Evil or Last Year especially, tie a really nice bow on the record. But they may also be the ones people listen to the least, how does that make you feel?
VERZACHE: I’ve thought about that a lot, but I think it gets to the point that I have to remind myself of the real reason I made the project. It wasn’t an intention for me to have everyone listen to every song a million times, because the truth is I’m going to be doing that myself. That’s for me, I made it because it fits where it is.
There’s those hardcore fans that are like ‘I’m going to binge the project a bunch because it’s the way it’s meant to be listened’ but most people will be like ‘next, next, next… oh I like this one, save’, then they repeat and put in a playlist the ones they want. Overall I’m not too butthurt about it, but I’m sure there’s going to be people fucking with certain styles on there, which is really cool anyways.
HAPPY: What made you want to extract a lyric from Evil in particular for the album title?
VERZACHE: We were coming up with ideas for the title, it was me and my friend George, and we weren’t really getting anywhere with it. But we listened to [Evil] and I was like ‘yo, that line really embodies everything that I’ve felt and went through, from highs to lows’. Just all of it was a mess, so it was kind of accurate to the last two years and what this project has been. For me it makes a lot of sense, but does it sound dope? Does it look good? Maybe! Let’s go for it.
HAPPY: It’s a good title. You said something before about adding and adding and adding, so what was the process of writing this? Because normally someone will write 30, 50, even more 100 songs before whittling them down to 12 for the album. But it sounds like you’ve done the opposite?
VERZACHE: Yeah. I made a shit ton of songs over the two years, in a lot of different styles. My Head is a Moshpit could have turned into a lot of different things. To be honest, it could have not even turned into My Head is a Moshpit – it turned into that because of all these styles and all these ideas I was going for. Over the time period of doing it, the theme and the cohesiveness kind of came out of nowhere, and the songs started to write themselves, I guess.
You start out without a direction and you’re thinking ‘what’s the idea?’, but then you hook onto something like a grappling hook and you start sliding down faster and faster until you get to the bottom. I didn’t fall off, I don’t think. Putting that many songs in a project felt wrong at first, but we did it in the end, so it was a cool experience.
HAPPY: Not having a direction can a be a direction!
VERZACHE: Exactly, you find the way.
HAPPY: Do you think you’ve become more comfortable trying new things?
VERZACHE: Yeah, in general, my whole career I feel that’s how it’s been for me to succeed. It’s almost like you have to do different things – but also because you want to and you enjoy it. It’s not like I’m here saying ‘you’re really doing the same thing over and over!’, I’m not kicking myself. I just get bored of this and want to do something else, I get bored so easily. What do I do next to make something sound good? It’s just fun.
HAPPY: There’s that skit track Own Yourself that talks about this – staying true to yourself as an artist despite fan pressure or what other people might think. How important was that mantra to the record?
VERZACHE: That was actually one of my best friends George, he would come over every couple of months or so, helping me with creative direction, a little bit of ideas and stuff like that. He came over and I said ‘I want to record ideas for skits but I want them to sound real’, so we basically set a recorder on voice memos and forgot about it. We ended up getting actual, genuine talks, and [Own Yourself] was George explaining how he feels about sharing art, and these are things we can all relate to.
As artists that’s important, knowing you’re not the only one who’s scared to show their shit out to the world. What I’m also touching on is more than owning yourself, it’s being able to put out without a care about what’s going to happen or what other people should think – it’s just for you in the long run, so you shouldn’t even care about the track that no one’s going to listen to. It’s all for you, and overall, good quality art prevails online. I feel like it finds its way.
My Head is a Moshpit is out now via Caroline Australia. Stream or purchase the album here.