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In advance of a week-long tour together, Nate Terepka of Zula and Dan Arnes of Leapling took some time to (Google) chat about their approach to songwriting and unveil a collaboration with Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez of fellow Brooklyn-based band Ava Luna.

The collaboration is called Fluff, and its self-titled track came together in a matter of hours after Arnes assembled the group at Gravesend Recordings, the Silent Barn studio of Fader and Hernandez. Give a listen below.

Zula and Leapling hit Rock & Roll Hotel tonight (with locals BRNDA and Brushes) in support of Zula’s forthcoming album Grasshopper and Leapling’s recently released Suspended Animation. Tickets are available here.



Nate Terepka: I’m listening to the Fluff recording right now. Haven’t heard it in, like, a year. I’m trying to remember if it was you or Carlos [Hernandez] on drums.

Dan Arnes ‘Twas Carlos. Julian [Fader] is on bass and vibes

Nate Terepka: Carlos has a great feel.

Dan Arnes: I did the same thing the other day. I hadn’t heard it in forever

Nate Terepka: What gave you the idea to initiate that session?

Dan Arnes It was a catch-all of: a) wanting to do something super casual that wasn’t Leapling; b) wanting to do a thing with you for forever; and c) wanting to do something in Gravesend [Recordings] for forever. And it kinda snowballed into what it ended up being, which is great. I thought it would just be messing around – not a pretty efficient tracking session with both Julian and Carlos involved.

Nate Terepka: Yeah, the messing around came after we made this track, but I remember this coming together very suddenly and efficiently.

One thing that really struck me was how fast you “wrote” the lyrics for this. We tracked your vocals so that you wouldn’t forget the melody that popped into your head, but we ultimately just kept it exactly how it came out, stream-of-consciousness.

I’m wondering if that is typical of your writing? Do you often use that “first thought best thought” approach with Leapling material?

Dan Arnes: Well, look at Mr. Music Journalist.

Errrm, yeah typically it’s first draft best draft for, like, 60% of the lyrics, and the rest I finesse into actual words that fit the mood/narrative with the stuff I put down very quickly.

Is it the same with you?

Nate Terepka: Similar approach, yeah. I think when I improvise melodies and record them, it’s a little more gibberish than I saw you do with Fluff. It’s more like first vowel, best vowel. And then I see what words emerge over time. But I often find that the songs I write the quickest tend to be the best.

Dan Arnes: Always the case

Nate Terepka: It’s been real nice chatting to you, Dan, but I gotta go finish my laundry before we hit the road.

Dan Arnes: We should probably talk about that show at Rock & Roll Hotel.

Nate Terepka: Yes. We should. BRNDA is great.

Dan Arnes: I’m really looking forward to it.

Nate Terepka: Should we wrap it up some other way? Or just end with “eh” “lol”?

Dan Arnes: Let’s give em the big finish.

Nate Terepka: I’ve never given anyone the big finish. You’re gonna have to guide me through it.

Dan Arnes: Buy Asshopper by Zula out on Inflated Records August 26!

Nate Terepka: It’s actually called Grasshopper.

Dan Arnes: Oh my mistake. I thought it was Asshoper, literally until today.


Dan Arnes: Two months-ish, actually, which is like 4000 years in record time.

Nate Terepka: Onto the next one ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Dan Arnes: Yes, quite literally.


Leapling Zula Tour Poster