Zac Brown knows the road. He's been on it for decades. These days, Brown is sharing the highway — and the spotlight — with two different sets of co-pilots, balancing his ongoing run as frontman of Zac Brown Band with a newer electronic project called Sir Rosevelt.
A collaboration with songwriters Niko Moon and Ben Simonetti, Sir Rosevelt mixes southern pop and dance music into the same package. It's a sound built upon experimentation and partnership. There are no rules. No boundaries. Instead, the three members of Sir Rosevelt embrace their freedom to experiment — whether that means fusing Brown's musical roots to a foundation of pop hooks and digital programming, or staging unique shows that reach far beyond the typical concert-going experience.
On August 7th, Sir Rosevelt will team up with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Cirque du Soleil for an out-of-the-box performance at 1stBank Center in Denver, Colorado. The show marks the pinnacle of the band's partnership with Enterprise, a company whose creative spirit mirrors Sir Rosevelt's own vision. Central to that collaboration is a unique approach to ticketing, wherein fans receive unique codes to share with their friends. Each code represents a ticket, and each ticket allows admittance into the gig. The show will mark the first time in history that a large-scale concert is ticketed solely by a band's audience.
We sat down with Sir Rosevelt to talk about the upcoming show, the innovative Enterprise partnership and the band's future plans.
You've been chasing down a new sound with Sir Rosevelt. What has that journey been like?
Niko Moon: It was during the making of Jekyll + Hyde that Zac started experimenting with electronic elements. It opened up a whole new world. He was coming from a more organic background, and now he had these new colors to paint with. We began talking about the possibility of doing something outside Zac Brown Band — something that was a lot more electronic. We met Ben when he engineered Jekyll + Hyde, and we learned he's a phenomenal programmer, engineer and songwriter. That's how it all got started.
Zac Brown: We started working together on a different project, coming up with songs and ideas for Jekyll + Hyde. Once the album was complete, we realized we didn't want it to stop. We wanted an outlet for freedom and musical experimentation, where you don't have to make apologies for the places you're going. We've got a lot of energy and music to put out into the world. The one project wasn't enough for me. It's fun to get to do both.
The band touches upon multiple genres. Is there a genre you're particularly excited to explore, but haven't yet?
Ben Simonetti: I'd like to get even more experimental with some of the drum sounds and main harmonic instruments. We used a lot of southern instruments on this one. I'm sure we'll do that moving forward, but we'd also like to expand the color palette of the synths and the drums.
What can fans expect as Sir Rosevelt continues to experiment and expand its sound?
ZB: The goal is to get people moving. Sir Rosevelt’s live shows are a lot different from what I do with Zac Brown Band. They involve live dancers and some performance-art elements that make them very dance-oriented. It's a different way of connecting with fans. The world of Sir Rosevelt is a different terrain, where you can drive the car on the road, or you can take it off-road completely. You try to bring people on that journey with you, and that ties into the idea of working with Enterprise. It's all about connecting with people and bringing them on a trip.
What drew you to the Enterprise “Share the Code. Hit the Road.” partnership?
ZB: Hospitality is one of the things I’ve built my business upon. Enterprise does that, too. We're using both of our brands together to create these unique experiences for fans. They treat people very well — they're number one in customer service in their field — and together, we can pool our resources and create something different than what anyone has seen. It's great to have a partner that cares about fans as much as we do.
How does the concert's fan-driven ticketing strategy reflect that creative spirit?
ZB: What you're doing is creating a story and an experience. It's important to experiment these days, because the way people communicate is always evolving. We're giving codes to a handful of fans, and each fan can give codes to three of their friends, and each of those friends can give codes to three other friends. It's a groundbreaking approach. I know the grind of touring — I've been doing it for a long time — and this is essentially a pop-up show with one of the greatest theatrical productions in the world. The fans that get to see it will never forget it. We want to pick people up. We want to allow them to literally pick up their friends, too, and bring them to the show. We're putting the power of ticketing into the fan's hands.
How does Cirque du Soleil fit into the picture? How does their involvement reflect the experimental spirit of Sir Rosevelt?
ZB: Getting to work with Cirque du Soleil has been a massive, immersive experience. It makes you feel something. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to have those elements of production available to us, and work with a cast of people who're open to experimenting and becoming part of the music itself. With Cirque's help, we can really impact a person's experience.
Beyond this partnership, what else is on the horizon for Sir Rosevelt?
ZB: Boutique touring, big festivals, new music and new albums. We're making music that'll take us all around the world.
Writer: Robert Crawford Photo By Diego Pernía/Southern Reel