Dallas indie-punk band Posival was pretty much dead in 2015. In the two preceding years, singer and guitarist Michael Zamora had written enough material to fill up three full-length albums and an EP, all released after the band members went their separate ways in early 2016.
It was in those recording sessions that Zamora met Justin Casey of The Delzells and joined them on bass. While the Delzells were playing Teenage Sexx's tour kickoff in August 2017, Zamora met bass player Adrian Raddons, and the two started meeting up to jam.
This meeting inspired what Zamora describes as a creative renaissance, in which he wrote all the songs for Posival's self-titled album, which will be released Friday through Barf Wave records. Posival is made up of 16 tracks of mid-tempo punk, reminiscent of Green Day's Lookout! production. Another album will soon follow, to be released at a later date.
"I think I finally found a solid collection of songwriting techniques that really gives me a clear vision of what I can expand on for the project," Zamora says of this time of creative clarity. "Modern Baseball was a huge influence on the song structure and also a little bit of FIDLAR."
These are songs of lost innocence and lived experience, filled with brutally honest depictions of depression and social anxiety, delivered at times with an awkward smile ("She said no") and at other times avoiding eye contact ("Red light") and still at other times with a giant "fuck you" ("Dylan song").
Anyone who struggles or knows someone who struggles with depression knows that what you hear is often a mask for the real story. Take the album's 14th track, "Dylan song," as an example. The parody of Dylan's style and Zamora's half-mocking country accent belies the intensity of what is actually happening in the song and the experience that inspired the recording.
"I was 19, living on my friend's apartment floor for about three months," Zamora says, "and in those three months I rolled into a depressive phase in my life. One night, I took 10 pain pills, and I left my girlfriend at the time a message at 2 o'clock in the morning telling her that nothing was her fault. She freaked out, came over and stayed with me the whole night, keeping me awake."
Zamora was looking back at that time in his life at the same point he was struggling with whether he wanted to get the Posival project off the ground, and he found the strength to move forward in the lyrics of Bob Dylan.
"I've made a conscious decision that I will never let myself get to that point again," Zamora says. "Bob Dylan had this 'fuck you' attitude. He had a lot of demons and a lot of darkness in his songs, but I think that that's what he really wanted to say."
Like "Dylan song," "Red light" is also drawn from the pages of Zamora's living diary. A song of loneliness and self-medication, "Red light" juxtaposes images of drinking alone with images of running as a way to cope with inexplicable feelings.
"I would say I was mildly obsessed with this girl that I knew," Zamora says. "We just connected on some level. I was on a run in February of 2018 and she was riding her bike, and I was running and we both stopped at the stop light. And I looked at her for a second and she looked for a second and neither of us said anything. She just kept going, and I just decided to keep running."
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Zamora is candid about his struggles with depression. While music and running have helped him cope with traumas detailed both on and off the record, Zamora champions organizations like Foundation 45 for giving those in need a place to talk out their feelings free of charge.
"I think that everybody, regardless of their background, needs to acknowledge modern society tricks us into believing things that aren't true," Zamora says. "I think that we should be able to talk about whatever our feelings are in an environment that is nonjudgmental."
Foundation 45 will be in attendance Friday night at Double Wide at Posival's album release show to raise awareness about their services.
"We need to talk about this," Zamora says. "People are killing themselves, whether it be through drugs or alcohol, slowly or taking immediate, drastic measures to alleviate problems."