Here at The Horror Syndicate we take the time to acknowledge Indie-artists for our Indie- Artists Spotlight categories. We want to give back to all of those people who are up and coming and need recognition. This Month we have South Jersey native, Zakk Connor, director of the new music video Love That kills Me featuring The Horror Syndicate’s Bryan Enright as a cult member. Zakk has followed us to NJ Horror Con this year at the Show Boat casino where he photographed our booth and followed us as we were Live on facebook. The Horror Syndicate’s Jenny Marie recently had her October-Horror photo shoot with Zakk Connor and here’s what she had to say:
One day in casual conversation my girlfriend Jenn started talking about this up and coming photographer named Zakk Connor who was friends with her daughters boyfriend . She suggested I check out his work on Instagram . I instantly fell in love with his unique art . It gave me a 80’s vibe with a modern twist . I instantly reached out to Zakk wanting to do a shoot . However, I was too late his schedule was fully booked . I finally got to meet Zakk when he graciously agreed to be our photographer for Horror Con a couple months ago. He has a quiet, sweet, innocent demeanor and little did he know he was about to join the crazy train for the weekend with me and my friends. He reminded me of the young guy’s character in the movie Almost Famous. A brilliant artist making his way into the Rock N Roll world. Within the first five minutes of meeting Zakk you could see he definitely had the “it” factor . I hate saying cliche phrases but when you see someone who just has “it” you know they are going to be famous. I finally got to do a shoot with him and nothing makes me happier then seeing a artist work. He puts his passion into each picture . We chatted about how people interact with photographers and he pointed out that he likes to meet people before he shoots them because you have to have that connection to make great art . Not everyone has the guts to follow their dreams . To be a star you must shine your own light and follow your own path . The world is about to see the brightest star out there . Shine bright Zakk we are all rooting for you .
Now, I’ve known Zakk Connor back when we were teenagers before him and I even considered this industry a thought. How world’s come together sometimes is always a surprise. Zakk’s instagram has over 1500+ followers and he has already been on tour with The War Twins, Radhorror and Mickey James. I had the pleasure to interview Zakk Connor after all these years pick his brain and find out why he loves Rock and Horror! Here is our conversation..
Bryan Enright: So Zakk, you now have your first music video coming up called Love That Kills Me with the War Twins and your Instagram page is gaining a lot of followers and you are a traveling photographer with Indie Bands. So, thank you for coming here.
Zakk Connor: Of course, I’m Happy to be here
BE: Who are your inspirations as being a photographer and an artist?
ZC: You know, as far as just as artistic inspirations itself which I feel definitely comes through are writers such as Jack Kerouac, Edgar Allen Poe; painters like Salvador Dali his surrealism aspect is wonderful and Jim Morrison definitely as well. When I edit, when I feel inspired, when I shoot I love to use these inspirations and when something sparks I write them down in my notebook. That’s where my inspiration comes through as far as imagery is concerned.
BE: When it comes to film, who is your inspiration?
ZC: David Lynch has an unbelievable way of capturing an ambiance which I have always admired; such vibrancy such simplistic eternal deterioration. I watch his frames where something is so simple about it where you really wouldn’t give a shit if it was anything else but its just how Lynch captures it. I remember watching Mulholland Drive, they are standing outside in an apartment complex and I remember it provoked me to feel a stronger emotion for something so simple and I don’t know its just how he captures simple moments I think that really creates such brilliance.
BE: So, you just showed me the upcoming music video you directed for The War Twins’ called Love That Kills Me. Did you apply some of your inspirations from David Lynch’s films on purpose?
ZC: Yes, definitely. A lot of the time I was thinking ” how would Lynch direct a music video?”. Here is a song that is upbeat and on the happier side of things “how could I make this video dark as hell?”. There are certain movements that are intentionally uncomfortable, Ill leave certain things in certain frames longer than they should be it creates almost an internal awkwardness for the viewer which Lynch does in Blue Velvet. Those scenes are super uncomfortable, they’re awkward as hell but you can’t not look at it!
BE: Did you like Dennis Hopper’s performance in Blue Velvet?
ZC: *Laughs* Holy shit, he was a loose cannon! He was so believable, I wouldn’t be in room with this dude because I don’t know what he is going to do. Hopper was a trip.
BE: RIP Dennis Hopper, one of my favorite movies with him was Super Mario Bros where he played King Koopa
ZC: That was a thing? That’s awesome
BE: Yea, That movie was appreciated by some, hated by most. So you have worked on The Dark Military, tell me what it was like being a part of that movie.
ZC: That whole weekend was a mess because i was in the studio recording 2 days before that. I saw a post from a mutual friend Tom Schmidt, looking for an extra to be in the movie where we grew up in Clayton. It just ended up working out, I was like “shit, why the hell not when in Rome” I was an extra like a zombie not sleeping for two days definitely made sense for that. It was wonderful to see behind the production, it was very inspiring. Loren was really focused and paying attention to details.
BE: So you were in a Band, tell me about that:
ZC: Yeah, it was me, my brother Nico Connor and our friend Montel Burt. It was very rock and roll how it started up. My brother is an unbelievable guitarist and Montel is a awesome drummer and my best friend so the chemistry was really awesome. The music style was very punk rock-angst mixed with a bit of 80’s hair metal inspiration. I enjoy song writing more so which is why I wanted to step back from performing because when you’re performing it becomes very social and that becomes very difficult at times. It was fun, I love rock and roll with a passion but I definitely enjoy song writing more as an aspect than performing in front of people.
BE: So, when you are starting out pursuing your passion in your art does it take a toll on you when you have family and friends who doubt your art.
ZC: Thankfully, I’m blessed with an unbelievable support system but at the same time there are going to be doubters and people who don’t understand. While that is hindering in some places I find a lot of inspiration in it and you really can’t listen to all of the external noise.
BE: So how did you discover The War Twins, the ones who brought you on board to direct your first music video?
ZC: My brother actually told me about them and he’d seen them multiple times before that and they were doing a residency at Dobs on South Street, which is sadly no longer there. My brother told me “check out this band, they’re gnarly” at this point I was thinking rock and roll was dead but then I saw them and their performance was explosive, James is one of the best drummers I’ve seen in my life and Gaetana has an unbelievable stage presence and they really just rock. They made me happy to realize rock and roll isn’t dead. It was cool and I was happy to get involved and we continued to stay in touch with them after that initial interaction and they hired me to work their second album cover and we progressed from there and it’s become what it is.
BE: You have a pretty big following on Instagram. What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to get to the point you are now with the notoriety and getting well known and of course getting the models?
ZC: Well I don’t like to think that anybody is more important than anybody else but as far as like a following goes, it’s just built over time which is pretty cool that people actually enjoy to see my work and what I do. It’s very humbling. I just appreciate the support more than anything else. I appreciate the models that are willing to work with me. It started out as people, when I first started out, I was in no place to be charging anybody. People wanted portfolios and these are girls that are really close friends of mine beforehand so it’s really cool to build something with that same content. Building their portfolios and they’re helping me progress as an artist and photographer.
BE: If you had to remake a horror movie (laughs) Say if Jason Blum gave you a million dollars to make a horror movie, any kind of horror movie, what would the horror movie be? Who would you cast as the lead actor?
ZC: (laughs) lead actor? Million dollars is a pretty small (?) for that. We were talking about it before, I’m gonna stick with the fact that I’d like to remake a bad horror movie. When A Stranger Calls, I think, is perfect for that.
BE: Are you talking about the 1978 version or the 2008 version?
ZC: I’m talking about the 2008 version. It’s really bad. I could definitely make a gnarly, gnarly twist and turn on that with a million dollar budget. I guess the lead would be an actress in that right?
ZC: So who would do that for under a million?
BE: Probably Martha Stewart. (laughs)
ZC: (laughs) Martha Stewart maybe? Yeah.
BE: Yeah you would have Martha Stewart?
ZC: Yeah, I think that would be cool. Would be a little unnerving, a little perturbing. Like why is Martha Stewart in this weird ass film? No but yeah, I feel like people are remaking too many good movies and they think you should just let the magic be as it was. you know? But also at the same time, not to bring a recent picture into this but A Star Is Born is pretty remarkable. They remade that twice and it’s awesome. But there are other scripts out there too. I think people should take more initiative into creating something of their own.
Zakk’s social media pages can be found here!
Wartwins social media pages can be found here
Are you an indie artist, filmmaker or musician who wants some time in the spotlight? Message us at Thehorrorsyndicate@gmail.com