is a musician residing in Sacramento, California
. He performs/has performed in numerous Pacific Coast based groups, including Hella
, Holy Smokes
, Nervous Cop
, and a diverse other range of groups including Team Sleep
(featuring Chino Moreno
), Goon Moon
, and The Ladies
(a duo consisting of Zach on drums and Rob Crow
on guitar). Zach is completely self taught, having started drumming around 1995.
One of Zach Hill's most defining characteristics as a drummer is his footwork. Many drummers are surprised when they realize that he only uses one bass drum and a single bass drum pedal when he plays. For example, in the song Imaginary Friends from Hella's Church Gone Wild
record, Hill employs his characteristic double-stroke bass drum method throughout much of the song, leading many to believe he is using more than one foot to do so, when he is only using his right foot. Zach Hill's set thus far had had generally very low-tuned tom-toms and floor-toms. When playing rhythms back and forth between his bass drum and these tom-toms, it often sounds as if it is all being created by the bass drum. His snare drum sound is often a contrasting highly tuned "crack" sound.
A unique aspect of Zach's style is his liberal use of unconventional sounding cymbals, often referred to as "trash" cymbals. His most commonly and characteristically used trash cymbal consists of broken cymbals (usually between 3 and 4) stacked on top of each other, mounted just to his right of his high tom. This setup produces a harsh sound similar to that of a China cymbal, but with much less sustain. This is easily heard on almost every single Hella release.
In addition Zach has a custom made cymbal with a very warped shape that can be heard on the Holy Smokes album Masculine Drugs (clearly audible starting at 1:36 on the song "Masculine Drugs (Tri-Duplex Edit)") the Hella album Church Gone Wild the Ladies' first album, They Mean Us and the Zach Hill & Mick Barr album Shred Earthship.
Zach also utilizes complex time signatures into his drumming. Zach has developed these time signatures through playing, and goes by feeling a beat rather than figuring it out "traditionally".
Another notable aspect of Hill's playing is that he is an extremely hard hitter. His equipment tends to wear down very fast due to the combination of the speed and power of his playing, which has been known to break lug casings and bend the top hoops of his drums from the sheer force of his technique.
In addition to music, Zach is also a visual artist. His art has been featured in the packaging to many of his musical releases. One of the most notable examples is his fully illustrated book Destroying Yourself is Too Accessible
which included the Zach Hill and Holy Smokes album "Masculine Drugs" Released in 2004 on TNI books and Suicide Squeeze Records. The cover art of the Hella album The Devil Isn't Red
, the artwork to There's No 666 in Outer Space
and the Bitches Ain't Shit But Good People
EP, and drawings in the Ladies They Mean Us
are all credited to Zach; as well as art direction credits on many releases such as Hella's debut full length Hold Your Horse Is
, the Hella EP Total Bugs Bunny on Wild Bass
, and the eponymously titled Nervous Cop record. He receives photography credit in addition to his many musical contributions on the debut Team Sleep album. He has also designed t-shirts and promotional posters for Hella and Team Sleep.
The Sacramento, California art space Fools Foundation ran an exhibition of Zach's art, titled "Poltergeist", from April 1 to April 29 in 2006. Parts of the exhibit are visible in the photos accompanying Zach's article in the August 2006 issue of Modern Drummer and on the Fools Foundation.
Setup and gear
Zach's current setup (As of June 2006, according to Modern Drummer Magazine)
- 6.5x14 Keplinger stainless-steel snare
- 10x12 Tama Starclassic Performer tom
- 16x18 Sako custom floor tom
- 25x26 Jenkins Fiberglass Surfboard bass drum
- 15" Paiste 2002 Sound Edge hi-hats
- 17" Paiste 2002 Wild Crash
- Spinmade (stacked) metal appliance cutouts
- 24" Paiste 2002 ride (with inverted bell)
- Spinmade custom metal cutout cymbal
- A variant of a china cymbal that consists of a multitude of old and broken cymbals that give a short and (trashy) sound when struck.
- Tama, including an Iron Cobra Power Glide bass drum pedal and hi-hat stand
- Remo coated Emperors on snare and toms, PowerStroke 3 on kick
- Crime in Choir CD/LP (June 25, 2002, Omnibus)
- The Hoop CD (2004, Frenetic & 2005, Moorworks)
with Holy Smokes
- Zach Hill and the Holy Smokes - Masculine Drugs CD / Destroying Yourself is Too Accessible Book (September 14, 2004, Suicide Squeeze / TNI Books)
- Holy Smokes - Talk To Your Kids About Gangs CD (September 26, 2006, Skin Graft)
- Zach Hill and Mick Barr - Shred Earthship CD (May 9, 2006, 5RC)
- Zach Hill and Mick Barr - Volume 2 LP (March 12, 2007, Rock is Hell)
- Aaron Stone - Cloud Farming CD (drums on "Long Time" - 2003, Sundial Records)
- Apotheke - Apotheke CD
- Cex - Maryland Mansions CD (November 18, 2003, Jade Tree)
- Damsel - Distressed CD/LP (October 24, 2006, Temporary Residence)
- Flössin - Lead Singer CD (November 10, 2004, Ache & September 26, 2004, Yacca) LP (November 10, 2004, Ache)
- Friend/Enemy - 10 Songs CD/LP (July 9, 2002, Perishable)
- Howard Hello - EP CD (July 3, 2005, Temporary Residence)
- The Ladies - They Mean Us CD/LP (February 21, 2006, Temporary Residence)
- Legs on Earth - Lasers and Saviors CD (1999, Para-Sight)
- Nervous Cop - Nervous Cop CD (November 4, 2003, 5 Rue Christine)
- Team Sleep - Team Sleep CD (May 10, 2005, Maverick)
- Scars on Broadway - Ghetto Blaster Rehearsals (2003, EatUrMusic)
- Toughguy Fantasy / Arctic Boyz - Thank Gods It's Friday / Louisiana Purchase 2xCD (January 17, 2005, Frenetic)
- V/A - Family Album (Hella "Friday the 13th")
- V/A - If The 21st Century Didn't Exist, It Would Be Necessary To Invent It (Hella "Been A Long Time, Cousin (Live)")
- V/A - Power Up! Mutations and Mutilations of 8-Bit Hits (Flössin "Castlevania aka Ascelitnava")
- V/A - Slaying Since 1996 (Hella "Meth Leper" & Goon Moon "Rock Weird (Weird Rock)")
- V/A - Sur la Mer Samp-le-Mer (Hella "Madonna Approaches R&B Blonde Wreckages")
- V/A - Thankful (The Ladies "Trapped in the Hobbit")
- V/A - Under The Influence: A Jam Band Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd (Les Claypool "Call Me the Breeze")
- V/A - You've Got Your Orders, Volume One (Hella "Dance of the Drunken Siberian")