OneRepublic's Zach Filkins
Zach Filkins, lead guitarist of the pop rock band OneRepublic, has always had great passion for music. He spent a majority of his childhood studying the classical guitar when he was in Barcelona, Spain. During his senior year of high school, Filkins befriended future bandmate, Ryan Tedder. After finding out each other’s musical interests, the two finally decided to form a band in 2002, initially called Republic. After a few changes made, Tedder decided to be the lead singer, Filkins played guitar and sang backing vocals, while welcoming new members Eddie Fisher (drums), Brent Kutzie (bass and cello), and Drew Brown (lead guitar). Despite being first signed with Columbia records, the group was eventually dropped before their album was scheduled to be released. The band decided to release songs on their MySpace page in order to stay on mainstream.
Their work would later grab the attention of rapper/producer Timbaland, who later signed the group, making them the first rock band to be part of Mosely’s Music Group. In 2007, the band’s first single, “Apologize,” was featured on Timbaland’s album Shock Value. The song was a major hit as it peaked at number one on the Billboard Pop 100 charts for eight straight weeks. The song, which was released on their debut album Dream Out Loud, was certified 4X platinum and receiving over 5 million digital downloads. Their debut album also had hit singles such as “Say (All I Need),” “Mercy,” and “Stop and Share.” The group also performed on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. They also toured with Maroon 5 and Brandi Carlisle.
The solid start was just the beginning as their second album, Waking Up, was released in 2009 to generally positive reviews. Hit singles such as “All The Right Moves,” “Secrets,” “Marchin’ On” and “Good Life” helped the album become a huge success. They have supported artists such as Pink, and U2, and have had their songs featured in several television shows such as Lost, One Tree Hill, and Gossip Girl.
In our exclusive with the band’s lead guitarist, he talks about topics such as how different their upcoming album will be, favorite places to perform, his favorite artists, and much more!
- Q: When will your next album come out, and how will it be different from your other albums? - Cur
- A: The release of the album obviously is still somewhat undefined just because of a lot of different factors. The album should be out probably the beginning of next year at some point. The first single might hopefully be out at the end of the year or early next year. The sound of it is something we are obsessing over because we talk about it a lot. We’re not gonna go off into crazy-land and go over everyone’s head. Things are gonna change. There might be a lot more guitar and take the extremes of our influences like movie soundtracks, hip-hop music—take the extremes of all that. Maybe accentuate that a even more. I think it’s also going to be more—I don’t know what the word is—a little more… emotive. I don’t know if the word is all that descriptive. These are kind of the elements that we’re talking about at the moment. There’ll still be the big choruses and things like that. Ryan will still write the melodies he writes so we’re not gonna lose that side of our influence. I think it’s going to be more defined. It’s gonna be the best album in our history of that I have no doubt about that. We’re gonna experiement a little more probably and stretch ourselves a lot.
- Q: What guitarists inspire you? - Trevor Barry
- A: Guitarists that inspire me—David Gilmore for sure. I’m kind of blanking out but the guitarist from Portishead, Adrian Utley. You know The Edge inspires just about anyone who wants to play the guitar in a different way. I think those are the ones who inspire me the most.
- Q: What was the most exciting moment of the tour for you? - Kristina Kluge
- A: Definitely the most exciting part of the last tour was when we were in Zermatt, Switzerland, and we all like to ski and snowboard. The promoter said we all had a day off after the show and the promoter said, “We’re gonna take you guys snowboarding and we might take you in a helicopter.” So we were expecting a short helicopter ride to the top of the hill, which was gonna be enough. But we find out the helicopter ride was a 30-40 minute ride around the Swiss Alps and literally a 360 around the top of the Matterhorn before they dropped us off on the top of the slope. By the time we got to the slope, there was no way—no matter how good the skiing or snowboarding was—there was no way that was going to top that experience—being able to fly around the Matterhorn and seeing all that and the glacier and everything from the bird’s eye view. But the snowboarding turned out to be amazing too. That was probably the best day we had out on the tour. There was no way of beating that.
- Q: Where did you come up with the name for the band? ps Orlando rocked!! - Rinascita Wellness-Center
- A: It evolved. It started out as Republic and the reason we wanted something like that is really just because it’s a universal word and it’s easily recognizable, it’s easily remembered. As soon as we heard it, and we thought about and we saw it written out on a map, that’s the name. We changed it to OneRepublic because for one reason, if you Google "Republic," you’re gonna get a few countries, a few banks, before a band like us would come to the top of the list. So there was so much to compete with. We were gonna get lost in the shuffle. We made it OneRepublic which means more to us than just Republic. So we added it for two reasons and that’s what we’ve been ever since.
- Q: Hey Zach! What's your favorite place to play in the USA and what's your favorite place to play in the world? - Kevin Tucker
- A: Favorite place to play outside of the U.S.—that’s a tough one. We have some great shows, some great fans everywhere. But at the moment, if we can play outside of a ski resort outside of the U.S., we’ll take that opportunity selfishly just so we can go skiing. Favorite place to play in the U.S. so far—hopefully we’ll get to play in Red Rock in Denver. And that will be our favorite place to play.
- Q: I noticed that your album names all have something to do with sleep, hence – "Dreaming Out Loud" and "Waking Up." Will the third album share the similar theme? - Madeleine
- A: That’s a good question. The third album will most likely not share that similar theme. Partly because the whole sleep thing was an accident that we didn’t think about later. And we’re like, 'Oh, wow that’s kind of a funny trick.' And we really didn’t mean for it to be a sleeping theme. If we were to do that in the third album, we’d have to fully commit to it, like Weezer has different color albums. We’d have to fully commit now, every album would have to be called something regarding sleep. So most likely we will not take that direction. Three times actually means you’re locked in for life.
- Q: What type of viola do you play on "Secrets" and a few of the other songs? Do you prefer an amplified acoustic or electric viola? - Brooke Eikenberry
- A: I prefer acoustic viola for sure. The viola that I play, it’s kinda funny—it’s a no-name viola that was given to Brent when he bought a cello. It was kind of buy a cello, here’s a viola kind of thing. It’s not extremely high quality because we play electric. So it’s not gonna be anything crazy. But I will say that I’m hoping to get one from Luis & Clark, which is a company that makes Brent’s carbon fiber cello and they make cellos as well. I hope to get a viola from them.
- Q: Who are your favorite artists right now? What's on your iPod ? - tonyj23911
- A: One of my favorites right now is Ghostland Observatory, largely due to the fact that we saw them live and they’re like a full psychedelic experience live. They’re music’s really cool and it’s really kind of Daft-Punk. So we definitely listen to them. I like Kings of Leon's new album. I like Radiohead, the new Girl Talk album. That’s it at the moment, that’s what I’m rotating right now.
- Q: What would you do during a zombie apocalypse? Where would you hide out? - Fiona Leuanglith
- A: [laughs] That’s a real big deal! I would be in a log cabin somewhere in Montana, I think. I’ve actually never been to Montana so that goes to show that I have a very realistic view of Montana. I just picture beautiful mountains with a stream and a log cabin and totally avoiding most of the destruction.
- Q: If this music business never happened for you guys, what do you think you guys would be doing right now? (And not, "We wouldn't be answering these questions.") - Julie
- A: Personally, I think would love to try acting but that’s huge, that’s like trying to play lottery. I have this thought that it would be fun to open up a whole personal wellness complex where there’s everything from a personal trainer to a therapist or financial planner. Basically someone could go in and just get all-around help with life. I don’t even know how that would work. There are a lot of different things that sort of get people down in whatever situation—whether it be financial, family, physical, health or whatever. It’ll be cool to have a place that could help with all that.
- Q: Do you plan to go back into modeling at any point? - Erik Meers
- A: I wouldn’t mind doing that. I think it would be much later when I’m retired. I don’t mind just doing Sears catalogues or something. Or if something came about and it was sort of attached to One Republic, I think that would be cool. I think I would do something like that, yeah. I wouldn’t rule anything out. It’s a different thing to do for a living. I think it would be fun. I definitely wouldn’t do some of the catalogue stuff I used to do just because If I have time, I’m doing other things. I don’t have time to run to the studio for half a day to take a few pictures. It would have to be something a little more interesting.
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