Premiere: The Chaos and Fury of J Hacha de Zola’s “March of the Hollowmen”

j hacha de zola © Miguel Peralta Jr.

Dark, driven and intense, New Jersey’s J Hacha de Zola describes his latest song as “a dirge – a march – a funerary march, almost – an ostentatious obscene lamentation full of noise & fury – anxiety – fear – grit.” Indeed, “March of the Hollowmen” carries within it a fantastic power that is as carnival-like and playful as it is possessed and cacophonic. Welcome to the circus of life.

March of the hollow men
trample through the garden
with inventive schemes
they color their veins
fire in the valley
avenues ascending
oh the world is full of horrible things
dreams dim imagery
which way to the gathering?
the declining sun fell so suddenly
into her lovers arms
a pair of ragged claws
over her shoulder he’s grinning at me
Listen: “March of the Hollowmen” – J Hacha de Zola


Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “March of the Hollowmen,” the latest single off J Hacha de Zola’s upcoming third album Antipacito, independently out 10/6/2017. Emerging within the past year through January 2016’s Escape from Fat Kat City and August 2016’s Picaro Obscuro, J Hacha de Zola’s ambition, prolific nature, and abounding talent becomes increasingly apparent as you digest his works. While influences include time’s many great rock and blues musicians, Hacha de Zola cites Lee Hazlewood and Leonard Cohen as major players on Antipacito, as well as Nick Cave, Perez Prado, and Herman Hesse.

Antipacito - J Hacha de Zola

Antipacito – J Hacha de Zola

Yet such a diverse cast only hints at what one can truly expect: With “March of the Hollowmen” and previous singles “A Fanciful Invention” and “No Situation,” we uncover a vibrant, ascending artistry coming quickly into its own, unencumbered by tradition and unafraid to challenge norms. This is seen clearly in Hacha de Zola’s new song: Is it the beautiful ramblings of a madman, or the haunting poetry of an oracle? Perhaps both.

“The title ‘March of the Hollowmen’ is a reference to T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Hollow Men,'” the artist explains. “Truly a timeless poem, it touches upon the absurd in the form of circular repetitive phrasing. The poem is very song-like itself. It’s a dirge, a funeral march almost. Belting out a good dirge, it just makes me feel better!”

sleeping in the ruins
the singing of the sirens
the great gilded horns bade strange harmonies
a fitting tune to everything
gradually descending
leapt out a window
and let out a scream

Jangling guitars caterwaul down with a loose swagger as the deep-voiced Hacha de Zola bellows a raw rancor. His passion is overflowing, his energy at a constant high. He builds this intoxicating world that, while difficult to enter, is even harder to leave.

j hacha de zola © Miguel Peralta Jr.

j hacha de zola © Miguel Peralta Jr.

Hacha de Zola’s stream of consciousness shares much about him, as well as his music. He calls his new track “unhinged – a firing of all pistons – both in terms of the barrage of instrumentation/percussion-voices- and words lifted from some of my favorite modernist-apocalyptic poetry – literally stolen – or “borrowed” – “eye wink.”

“The difficulty of ‘hope,'” he continues, “in maintaining hope in times of absurdity and a blatant disregard for logic or rationale- times of “belief” – “of affiliation over morality” – in times where facts seemingly have very little influence or meaning – seemingly – it takes work – effort to maintain any semblance of “hope” – a summoning of Dante’s third and fourth cantos of The Inferno in which limbo is described, the first circle of hell – beginning of the end… Call me twisted, but I also find a little bit of romance in such a notion – all things must pass – not to get political or anything, but perhaps we are observing the beginning of the end of things? I don’t know – but there is certainly a global feeling of malaise and discord in the air – we might be closer to midnight than we may know – I don’t know, about you but belting out a good dirge – bellowing – it just makes me feel better.”

March of the hollow men
trample through the garden
with inventive schemes
they color their veins
fire in the valley
avenues ascending
oh the world is full of horrible things

J Hacha de Zola shows no remorse for the way in which he lifts lines, etc. “Not only do I ‘steal’ musical ideas – lyrically – I like to also steal/borrow from some of my favorite influences – if I see something or hear something I like – I steal it – and I do it un-apologetically. All the greats have stolen! I have a funny process in which I come up with lyrics – it’s a bastardized form of William S. Burroughs “cut up” method – it’s a method that I started using to come up with Picaro Obscuro – and I have now perfected for this new record – and “March of the Hollowmen ” is a good example, I guess…”

His words may wander to and fro, but they show the immense thought that goes into every move. Hacha de Zola comes to us as an everyman wanderer, hellbent on expressing his understanding (or lack thereof) of this topsy-turvy, crazy world. “How do I introduce this sense of seeming randomness that is as lyrical as it is interesting or unique?”

“March of the Hollowmen” culminates in an incredibly picturesque guitar solo – picturesque, in that it captures the moment only too well with vibrant wails and spine-tingling screams. J Hacha de Zola leaves us with a rush echoing in our ears and our bodies. We wonder: Is the end really is near, or is it just our imagination?

With their souls of patent leather, they come down the road. Hunched and nocturnal, where they breathe they impose, silence of dark rubber, and fear of fine sand.

Experience “March of the Hollowmen,” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

— — — —

Antipacito - J Hacha de Zola

Connect to J Hacha de Zola on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
photo © Miguel Peralta Jr.

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com