“Zephaniah,” the prophet of Album
Winfield Dray befriended brothers Jason and Josh Hopkins in grade school. They began spending a lot of time with one another — first writing cartoons, then playing music together.
Album is the band that they formed.
“On the mantel [at Dray’s house], there was a photo album, and it said ‘Album’ in a really nice font,” Josh Hopkins said. “I just thought it would be a cool band name.”
The band’s name has since become an inside joke, particularly when members name their albums and songs.
“Our first album was titled ‘Album the Album,’ and the first song was called ‘Album,’” Dray said.
Album’s second album, “Zephaniah,” was recently re-released on vinyl by High Roller Records, a German record label.
Drummer Josh Hopkins blazed the trail to the record label across the world.
“I sent them an email basically saying, ‘We’re your next band.’ I sent them the full ‘Zephaniah’ album, and one day I woke up and there was a review online,” Josh Hopkins said.
The surreal feeling of having reviews written, many in different languages, about their music overcame them.
“Before that, we really didn’t have anyone objectively listen to our music we didn’t know,” lead singer Dray said.
Members agreed that the worst thing they’ve seen a critic write about the band was a dislike of its name.
“The music part they said was really good, but they just hated the band name. It was like he was trying to find something bad to say,” Jason Hopkins said.
Jason Hopkins said the band’s live shows are energetic and fun.
“We play off of each other really well,” he said. “Around here, shows are energetic. I think we’re having more fun than anyone else in the room.”
Jason Hopkins said said performing live has taken a backseat to perfecting their songs.
The band members also remembered the first time they heard themselves on the radio: when Viking Jim played Album on The Wolf’s “Homegrown Show.”
“We wrote [Viking Jim] a nice little letter asking him to listen to us, and then we were all gathered in the van, and he was playing our songs,” Josh Hopkins said.
Dray said the band members have enough material for their next two releases, as well as a vault with plenty of bits and pieces to songs.
The three commented on what being in Album has done for them.
“I’ve become so much of a musician by writing. I can do stuff I couldn’t do otherwise,” Dray said.
“Yeah, it’s all about getting better about what we do,” Josh Hopkins said.
“I’m even interested in different music now. My 16-year-old self would probably be shocked,” Jason Hopkins said.
Dray said the content of their songs goes beyond the typical love story or romance that many bands write about. The market for those songs is “kind of oversaturated,” he said.
“There are so many other things to write about,” Jason Hopkins said.
Members also pay close attention to their songwriting so the same rhythms are not repeated.
“I feel like we make a conscious effort not to repeat ourselves. I hear other musicians do that, and I’m like, ‘Why? What artistic fulfillment is in that?’” Dray said.
Album is now practicing for the “Zephaniah” release show on March 23 at the Royal Oaks.