ZZ Ward on Her Upcoming Album, ‘This Means War’: “The album is more rhythmic than I’ve ever been before.”

ZZ WARD at Forecastle Festival 2015 | PHOTO BY JASON GONULSEN

ZZ Ward has a new album to share called This Means War (Hollywood Records; due September 18), and perhaps you’ve heard its first single, “Love 3X.” And if you haven’t, the singer-songwriter-producer from Roseburg, Oregon has already made a video for it.

Let’s take a moment to watch that now.

We recently caught up with ZZ after her first-ever set at Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky on July 17th to discuss This Means War.

Tell me a little bit about the new album coming up.

My new album is coming out September 18th, it’s called This Means War. And today I think we played four songs from the new album, which is so fun because I’m so excited about these songs, and it’s amazing to see people that are getting into the songs and not even having really heard them that much. Like, I saw a couple girls on “Marry Well,” which is one of the songs that no one has even really heard, and they were singing the lyrics. (laughs) Totally amazing.

Your live show kinda goes a little bit in every direction.

Our show is kind of like a roller coaster ride. It’s a fun little challenge to play new songs live. You hear what hits. That’s fun. A lot of people are singing along to “Love 3X,” which is my new single. And it’s really been fun. But when we go on the fall tour, we’re going to have to put a lot of the older songs in, because my new album isn’t going to be out until half way through the tour, and even then people are just getting it, we don’t want to play too many songs they haven’t heard before. So, there has to be a balance.

How long did it take you to record the album?

Not a very long process to be honest. It’s so interesting…people ask all the time, “tell me about the album, it’s been three years…” (laughing) But I’ve been so busy. I’ve toured for like two and a half years on the first album! It just kept gaining momentum and it kept going and going, and the ride seemed to be so long, and even toward the very end of it we were just reaching the peak of it as far as being more popular. It’s a very interesting process.

The new album took about six to seven months to write and produce and to make. But I’m really excited about it. I worked with a producer, his name is S1. He’s produced for Kanye West, for Rihanna, for Eminem. He’s an incredible rhythmic producer, so the album is more rhythmic than I’ve ever been before, and I wanted it to be that way based upon playing live so much, and learning how people want to move. You really have to have rhythmic music, and it really helps to play live, so my new material hits really hard.

What was different about working with S1?

Well, I got into production on the album — I produced a couple songs by myself. It was really cool. I always used to sit in the room with the producer and be involved, but this was something where there were a couple songs on the album that I really wanted to have fun with them, and I wanted to see what it would be like to write the music and produce it and to just have it be my vision, and just to see what it would be like. And it was a really great experience, as was working with S1. He was an incredible mentor for me. He really took me under his wing and I could ask him so many questions about production, and he’s so confident in his abilities that he’s so comfortable teaching me about things and telling me what he thought about stuff, and guiding me with my production. He’s a really great guy. I got really lucky with him.

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