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Zach Bury Full Festival Interview

Updated: Feb 6

By Chase & Jesse Chappell

Check out what Zach is all about by reading the full interview below.

Medium Baby: Tell us a little bit about “Zach Bury”? Where does your musical background come from?


Zach Bury (ZB): I can honestly say that I have been inspired by music for as long as I can remember. I became a bit of an observant kid as an only child growing up in the country with a family that wasn't always the most talkative. I guess the songs started to speak to me, bringing me a view into a different part of the world. My family was not musical but did put me onto a lot of good music. Most notably my Uncle Harry who had a passion for Blues and Rock & Roll that he would always be happy to talk with me about, Showing me his favorite songs and taking me along to shows when I was young. My Uncle was one of the biggest motivators for me to do music and without him I don't know if I would have taken it as seriously as I do today. Other than my Uncle, my Mother would burn me CDs. I have an early memory of being in my childhood basement listening to David Bowie's “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” Also my Aunt Linda would give me forgotten iPods that she found in lockers at the school she worked at and I would begin listening to them on the 20 minute bus rides to school both ways religiously. That and my experiences later on attending high school would introduce me to various different genres.

The style of music that impacted me the most at this time turned out to be Hip Hop/Rap. I was very impressed with the lyrical ability of some of the new artists I was hearing and that was what triggered my start to songwriting. I believe being inspired by rhythm and poetry in that way has influenced my lyricism for the better, or at least in a different way then someone who was strictly brought up by acoustic music or even classic rock might think to write a song. Although I had taken some guitar lessons in elementary school, as soon as I got out of high school is when I really started to seriously pursue music. My first release was a mixtape titled “Progression” that I had started writing in 2017 and released in 2019. The concept of the project was that it could show how I have progressed as an artist throughout those 3 years. *Eg the first song being the first I had recorded, the second song being the second recorded and so on. I think it was a cool idea and I felt pretty good about this project at the time. Shortly after the release of that project I began to collaborate on a hip hop project titled “Similar Differences” With local Hip Hop artist Dablock. That album was released in 2020. We played a few shows and had a lively stage presence people enjoyed but eventually I lost my passion for performing music of that capacity feeling that it was untrue to who I was as an artist.

I felt that I was acting “Hard” (fake) and ultimately could not continue because I felt legitimate pain in my heart one night performing for a small group of friends. Portraying that false image was taking too big a toll on my inner artist because I was not making the music I wanted to make and it was then that I knew I had to step away. That was when I knew that I had to pick up my guitar and start singing songs rooted in the absolute truth of my emotions. Something about making that change felt so unexplainably right and I haven't had a second thought ever since. Although I wasn't the most proud of my previous endeavors in Hip Hop/ Rap music I do not regret them because it gave me a chance to find where I wanted to take my sound and brought me closer to what I feel I am meant to do today (Acoustic). I am thankful for that.

Playing my guitar and sharing an intimate side of my life through song has been therapeutic and it has really helped me express the truest form of who I am in a way otherwise I would not have known how. I started writing my first acoustic album “Brash Suggestions In Adolescence” in 2019 and recorded it by myself in my basement throughout a few years leading to its release on October 19th 2023. This is the first project that I am truly happy with because again I feel the sound is true to me as a person. Since its release I have continued to play shows to promote the project, Sold and gave away over 100 CDs and have been writing a number of new songs that I plan to record in the near future. Getting involved in the St. Catharines music scene has introduced me to a beautiful community of like minded individuals as well as given me the opportunity to further progress my stage presence and further define my personality. I feel very good about what is to come this year! Thanks to anyone who has supported me on my journey thus far :)


Medium Baby: You seem to draw a lot of inspiration from acoustic driven genres such as Bluegrass, Blues, to even Folk Rock. What about these styles of music resonates with you?


ZB: I personally think that there is something different about the feeling you get from strumming a chord on an acoustic guitar. It resonates in your soul. I was inspired to play it just by the sound really. It has just proven to be more pleasing to me than electric. What I really love about the Blues is the soul and emotion that is put into it. It feels like you can really feel someone's pain wailing through the lyrics and guitar notes. A lot of music can be rooted in pain but in the Blues it just seems like it's an instrumental part of the genre. People's sorrows and troubles were deeply woven into their lyrics and performance. You could say Blues was the first form of music where people were free to express their pain, which if you think about it has influenced countless artists and songs being made up until this day. I think hearing that growing up has really inspired me to push my songwriting to not be scared to really put all of my emotion into it. There is something very honest about someone playing solo acoustic whether it be Bluegrass, Blues or Folk that I am just drawn to because I feel it's authentic, it's someone telling a story based off of how they feel. A lot of other music styles resonate with me. Honestly as long as I am intrigued by the melody, lyrics or beat I am happy but that being said, the Blues and Folk music will always hold a special place in my heart.


Medium Baby: On the topic of influences, what bands are currently in your daily rotation? Anyone on the Vertigo billing you’re personally excited to see?


ZB: Right now my daily rotation consists of mostly 60’s and 70’s R&B and Soul actually. I would say those are the decades I am inspired by most mixed in with a few newer artists. I'm just going to throw out some artists I love and listen to quite frequently. Muddy Waters, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Gil Scott-Heron, Paul McCartney, Todd Rundgren, Jim Croce, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Frank Ocean, Steve Lacy, Umi, Daniel Johnston and Laufey.              


As for Vertigo, I am intrigued to see Mvll Crimes. They recently released this song “JUST LIKE HEVVEN” that seems like it will be fun to dance to. But honestly, I am most excited to be featured alongside local friends like Gravely James, Days On Parade etc.,


Medium Baby: Here’s a philosophical question for you. Why have you been listening to these artists? What draws you to them and their music?


ZB: Well I think to some capacity it has to do with the lyrics and if it has a captivating instrumental but ultimately I think it is authenticity and their ability to be vulnerable. The ability to draw you into a different world, To make you feel good, To make you feel and think, To inspire you to be a better human, To motivate you to see more sights and live more life, To be relatable. 


Medium Baby: Have you played any festivals in the past? What drew you to perform in Vertigo?


ZB: Although I did play at the sunflower festival last year, Vertigo feels like it is my first official music festival. When I was approached with the idea it was a no brainer and I feel grateful to be included. I also like the idea that it's at a school. I'm hoping it can get a few new younger ears listening and that will put some more people on to the local music scene. I am making an effort to take my music to the next level this year so I was of course very interested in performing at the festival. I feel that it will be a good start for what's to come this year!


Medium Baby: What song of yours would you consider personifies “Zach Bury” and why?


ZB: That's a tough question to just pick one. I'm going to give the first 3 that come to mind. The first one I thought of is “Here To Stay”. The main message of that song being self love (as well as freedom and understanding) also touches on my anxiety and my stepping away from weed and alcohol. I love the sound of how the lyrics are placed over the melody. It just feels so right to me to end a show with that song. Another song that means a lot to me is “Better Way Than Yesterday”. As the title suggests it's about making today better than the last. I think that song shows a lot about my outlook on life and I hope it is positively inspiring to others. The last song that came to mind is “Shine Thru” off of my album. This song speaks to letting the most authentic side of yourself shine through for all others to see. feeling free to be yourself and not limiting your potential by being scared to speak up and show who you truly are. 


Medium Baby: What is your creative process when it comes to penning a new song?


ZB: Most times it will start with a melody or chord progression on guitar and then I will add lyrics over top that I feel fit with the vibe and work with the melody. I have to be in a certain mood to start the process at times. But other times I have pressured myself to write new material for a show that is coming up and that actually seemed to work pretty well. I have three songs that I like from that process and one that I threw away. A sad vibe can definitely help me get a song out at times. Times where you are feeling very introspective, Times when you feel like you need to leave your mark on this world. Times when you are working through something and you need to let it out somehow. Those are the times I feel compelled to write a song. There have also been a few times when I have written out the concept of a song first and put it to a melody later. Actually with “Here To Stay” I wrote the opening lines in my journal and left them there for a few weeks. Then I just decided to throw them on top of a melody I had been working on and it all came together. My work for the most part is very feeling based so when the right feeling arises I know it's time to get out the journal. Most often I try to not try too hard on it and let whatever flows out naturally become the lyrics.


Medium Baby: Vertigo Fest is almost here! Are there any mantras, rituals or prep work you abide by to ensure a performance meets your personal standards? 


ZB: Well on the day of a performance I like to journal, meditate and get out into nature for a while to ground myself. I also like to arrive at the venue early to not feel rushed. Just a few things to clear my head of any distraction and make me feel at ease. Also I like to practice my set once a day everyday (if i can) leading up to the performance. I wouldn't say I have any specific mantras. I just try to stay positive and feel that the show is going to go really well.

Medium Baby: What impact do you foresee Vertigo Fest having on your future musical journey?


ZB: I hope that it shows people that I am a serious artist that is not out of place being featured on a festival lineup. I hope this gives me an opportunity to connect more with the local scene. I hope some new ears are able to appreciate my music. I hope that many more festival opportunities come after. 


Medium Baby: After Vertigo is all said and done, what are your plans for the remainder of the year? 


ZB: I am feeling very good about what this year has to bring. I plan to focus on my music by playing lots of shows and getting back into recording. I also plan to focus on being creative everyday whether it be music, photography or drawing. I want to manage my time better and waste less time consuming media. I just want to leave my mark on this world everyday within my art as well as positive interactions.


ZB: Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this :)


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