Zap Goes Pop! is a conceptual gypsy-fusion band based in Philadelphia, founded by Erica Daubert and Rab Speese in 2013. Their bold and exotic minor-keyed tonalities drive folk-inflected songs from aggressive fight anthems to melancholic dream sequences. As their sounds of yesteryear reverberate with echoes of the gypsy caravan, the carnival and the high seas, their evocative lyrics telling engaging stories, replete with humor, social consciousness and satire. Within their music, they have created and weaved together a conceptual post-apocalyptic dream world, in which there are often revolving themes of folklore, mythology and ancient monolithic societies. Though Daubert and Speese are the creative core of Zap Goes Pop! and often perform as a two-piece acoustic act, they also have a rotating cast of backing musicians that they bring in for different live performances, making each show uniquely different and surprising fans with a constantly evolving sound. Not afraid to mix things up, ZGP! delights in changes of tempo, time signature and key, deftly keeping things lively and interesting.
Alright, let's revisit Rab's broken guitar in 2012 one more time. Erica was walking down 5th Street around that time when she noticed an acoustic guitar in the free bin outside of Philly Aids Thrift. It was pretty beat up... it had obviously belonged to a child, there were stickers and sharpie drawings of milkshakes and butterflies all over it - but she decided to bring it home nonetheless. Once Rob looked it over, we realized the neck was warped and decided our best bet was to paint it and keep it as a piece of wall art. For four years, Womp Womp hung on the wall gathering dust... until 2016 when Rob decided to pull out the frets and fill them in with wood putty. After she was sanded down and fretless, he also added an additional two strings to match Anja, making her an eight-string. He didn't have any material to use for a plastic bridge insert, so he instead used a two-inch long, fine-threaded bolt. Because of that, its sound is reminiscent of middle-eastern Luts, and is tuned to the same intervalic pattern as a sitar. You can hear Womp Womp on our track, Ubuntu.
because so many people regularly contact us about our instruments, we decided to include them on this page :)
is an acclaimed Philadelphia-area guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. Fascinated by music from a young age, he began teaching himself guitar at just eleven years old, along with teaching himself sitar when he was sixteen. In his late teens, he began playing festivals and shows in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, often sitting in on live improvisational performances with musicians he had just met. Speese's impressive ability to
play a wide variety of genres including jazz, rock, reggae, ska, surf, funk and folk quickly lead him to being known as one of the most multi-faceted guitarists in Philadelphia. However, what is most defining about Speese's sound as a guitarist comes from his ustomized guitar named Anja, on which he often rotates between different open tunings. Since, he has customized several other instruments as well. Speese has a degree in CNC Machining and pulls a lot of influence from his work into his song-writing, often using different metallic objects as percussive instruments. With a naturally inventive mind and his mechanical background in Machining, he has recently began inventing his own instruments.
is an antique pump organ estimated to have been made in the 1960's. For those who aren't familiar with pump organs, she is made entirely of wood with no electronics in her whatsoever. She works with a system of foot pedals that pumps air through bellows which then passes through a reed that creates sound. Because of this, she is much lighter than the average organ, making it easier than you'd think to bring to shows. When we found her in an antiques warehouse in Port Richmond, she was in pretty poor condition. She was painted black, scraped up and covered in years of dust. One of the foot pedals were broken and some of the knobs were missing. We have been spending the last two years or so fixing her up. We still have a few knobs to fix and a reed or two to replace, but other than that, she is fully operational (Some of you may remember her from the gypsy show at Connie's Ric Rac). Erica has been painting her as of recently and the band intends to start bringing her to live performances more regularly.
Remember Rab's acoustic guitar that broke in 2012? It's death was not in vain. Through some trial and error, Rab has been inventing what he has dubbed "The Kalimbone" - or the baritone Kalimba. Using the body of the acoustic six-string, he has been making keys for it and plans to soon add sympathetic strings that will run along the underside of the keys. It's got a very "Swordfishtrombones" sound to it, if you're familiar with Tom Waits. We have yet to take her out live, but we'll be making an announcement as soon as we choose when to unveil her! click here to listen to a sneak peak.
In 2012, Rab found himself without a six-string guitar after an unfortunate accident snapped the neck off of his acoustic Ibanez. He pulled out his childhood 12-string Yamaha and strung her up like a six-string as a quick fix until he could afford to buy a new one. After a few days of getting used to his "new guitar", he felt that it lacked girth in the low tones. He decided to double up on the low E & A strings, making it an eight-stringed guitar. In 2013, Erica customized her with prints of classical composers and art from the renaissance eras. What was supposed to be a "quick fix" surprised us in becoming one of the key instruments in creating our sound, and if you've been to a ZGP! show, you've probably already met her.
pursue her dreams of singing and songwriting. Daubert has since built a name for herself as an innovative and polished vocalist, varying her style of singing between powerful rhythmic chanting, lyrical poetry and her trademark laughter-infused mischievous growl that fuses together dramatic theatrical elements with her playful and ironically innocent personality. She also plays a wide variety of instruments including piano, ukulele, pump organ, melodica, kalimba and percussion.
is a Philadelphia-area singer-songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist. Born and raised in South Jersey, she was heavily influenced by her grandfather, frontman and guitarist for The Four Kings. However, her journey began not in music but in journalism and spoken word poetry. She made the switch in 2009, when she decided to
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