Brook Terrace is Californian (but with Italian origins) Zachary Vito, a man who, to make his debut album, quit his job and used unpaid leave in order to fund a plane ticket to the UK just to work with Bill Ryder-Jones, who had just announced he’d opened a home studio. Vito was involved in many from the San Francisco area, including Union Pacific, Sonny and the Sunsets, Blades of Joy and April Magazine. When he discovered Billy Ryder-Jones (co-founded of The Coral, and solo artist, writing both his own albums and film scores, as well as producing records for other artists) specifically his 2016 album, West Kirby County Primary, Zachary fell in love with his music which served as a soundtrack to the artist’s life. So, after seeing an Instagram announcement, Zach took a chance and sent over some demos. Ryder-Jones invited him to spend a productive week of recording sessions in his home studio. Vito found himself in the small seaside town of West Kirby, delicately breathing life into already beautiful songs alongside producer and songwriter Bill Ryder-Jones. Brook Terrace was born.
What Zachary says: “By the end of the first day, we had basic tracks for five songs completed. I’ll never forget when he offered to try recording a vocal harmony; it was surreal”.
“The lyrics touch on overthinking and apologizing too much when you get stuck in self-doubt. The song kind of serves as a mantra for reminding yourself to feel confident in letting yourself feel whatever it is you are feeling and to move forward through moments of self-doubt. The album was recorded at Yawn studios in West Kirby with the help of Bill Ryder-Jones. We were thinking a lot about the sound of Gorky’s Zyogtic Mynci and I can hear that now in some of the decisions we made like adding the weird keyboard sound in this song.“
His Mixtape: “Most of these songs are from friends I’ve made and that have been an influence on my own music.“
Bill Ryder Jones – There’s Something On Your Mind
I first heard this when I was in West Kirby recording with Bill who shared an mp3 with me. I remember one evening after recording I was listening to this while walking through the cobblestone sidewalks back to my aribnb, which is just a feeling that will stay with me forever. Bill’s songs have a way of making classic melodies sound fresh and interesting. This song is what I consider a classic and is one I love to play on guitar when I’m home.
By The Sea – Mt Pleasant
I met Liam through Bill during while in West Kirby and like Bill I also feel that Liam writes songs that stand the test of time. This song was sent to me in our group chat over the pandemic and I listened to it a lot while I was going through a rough time. I love the sense of optimism in the face of failure this song has. It’s also a top melody, the guitar solo is perfect.
Strikingly City – Squares
I joined a band with my friend Jeff in school. He is a brilliant songwriter, guitarist, painter and many other things. He had been writing these songs and together with his two roomates Aaron and Jaque, we formed a group called Strikingly City. It really sparked my love for crafting songs and the guitar part we came up with here is still special to me, as is this song. “Loving you through and through and through, it’s like a straight line, it never ends.”
Sagittaire – Garden So Slow
I started playing in Ivan’s live band in San Francisco after seeing him perform and becoming an instant fan of his songwriting. He was really supportive of me when I first thought about recording with Bill and I’m continually inspired by Ivan’s approach to crafting songs.
Ball Earth – Runtitled
This band is a group of musicians I became friends with in San Francisco. Most have relocated to Los Angeles make music in other projects like Harry the Nightgown. Sami, Spencer Meg and Ryan are all amazingly talented and we all played some Brook Terrace songs together for a gig in SF, which was really special. I feel like this album they made is amazing and this song I think puts all of their chemistry on display in addition to being another classic song in my book.
Palomas – Carry
I began playing drums in Taylor’s band Palomas while in San Francisco. I loved his songs since day one and he continues to be a really close friend that will always listen to my demos, which I’m really grateful to have. I admire his songwriting for bringing sophisticated elements together into earworms. I love this song for its beautiful arrangements and lyrics.
Blades Of Joy – Be Kind
Inna (Whitney’s Playland) and Anthony invited me to play bass for some live shows and I immediately loved their songs. This tune in particular is a classic for any fan of bay area music and reminds me of the Lemonhead’s cover of Be Kind, which we also covered occasionally.
April Magazine – Freeway
Peter cultivated a sense of community in San Francisco around music and art, providing a space and hosting shows. I immediately loved his band when I first saw them with Kati (Mister Baby) and this song captures the those I respect where music is about capturing moments in time, and this recording is one of those, which was during a rehearsal for a gig and Peter setting up his iPhone.
Worthitpurchase – Prospect Heights
Omar became my roommate in San Francisco and is a close friend that also lives in LA now. I remember playing this song for my mom in the car and she liked it so, if it gets mom’s seal of approval, you know it’s a classic!
Tony Jay – Castle Of Dreams
I met Mike when I was living in San Francisco and kept up as best I can with his many releases since that time. This song is an earworm for me and I love the line “You’ll find out, what’s within and what’s without.” It’s a great turn of phrase and that’s something I really like about songwriting.
Cindy – Falcon Heavy
Karina’s songs also have this classic feel to them, where they occupy a space that feels like it needs to exist. Another band I felt really inspired to play my songs with in San Francisco.
Hectorine – Another Life
I will always remember this period of time in San Francisco playing some early solo sets of Brook Terrace songs with Sarah’s band. The songs became familiar and would get stuck in my head all the time just from hearing them live. Sarah’s songs also feel like classics to me.
Slipper – The Crow
I discovered Sean and Rachel’s music on SoundCloud and for year have been inspired by the beautiful songs they’ve released individually. They write songs in a way that feel exciting and familiar and immediately inviting. Their melodies and lyrics are inspirational and reach deeper parts like listening to Connie Converse or Bill Fay. This song is from their band together and always makes me feel a sense of love when I listen to it.
Brook Terrace is out now. Look HERE for more information on Brook Terrace.