Singled Out: Planet Zettler's They Came From Outer Space

01-23-2017
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Planet Zettler

Indie group Planet Zettler just released their debut album "They Came From Outer Space" and to celebrate we asked bandleader William Zettler to tell us about the title track. Here is the story:

Originally, "They Came From Outer Space" was written many years ago and was intended as a full-on Heavy Rock song with the working title "Visitors", inspired by the likes of Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver and Alice In Chains. I played in a couple of Hard Rock/Metal bands at the time and this song was rejected not once, but twice, by two different bands. On one occasion it was deemed "too poppy" and in another band the singer flat-out refused to sing the song because of the sci-fi themed lyrics (he only wanted to sing about 'real' issues).

I was living in Budapest, Hungary for a few years when I decided to finally record an all acoustic solo album and decided to rework this song. We had to transpose this track to another key to accommodate our singer's vocal range. Once we were in the studio and heard the Hammond organ it added a completely different vibe; I wanted an almost '60s type of feel to accentuate the sci-fi B-movie theme. Also, once Stefi [Pιnzes, guest vocalist] laid down her amazing, sultry contralto vocals, I knew we had something special! This was the first song she recorded in the studio for us and it made quite the first impression, to say the least! I pretty much decided then and there to make this the title track and do a video for this song.

I've always been a big fan of sci-fi; such as Star Wars, The X-Files, and Ben Bova novels, etc. Lyrically "They Came from Outer Space" was inspired by the movie "Contact," based on the Carl Sagan novel of the same name. I always thought that discovering we're not alone in the universe would be the coolest, yet most terrifying revelation mankind would ever face. Interestingly enough, when we were recording the album, the migrant crisis in Europe was peaking, and it dawned on me that the lyrics could be much more metaphorical than I had originally intended. When encountering others who look different than us, come from a different cultural, linguistic, religious/philosophical, ethnic background, we should always be hopeful and optimistic that we'll find common ground, but I think in many of us there is an underlying skepticism, or even fear, regarding their intentions. This duality of sanguineness and trepidation is basically the underlying theme of the song.

One slight little fun fact at the end, when the main theme returns after the guitar solo, I felt it was a little empty, almost anti-climatic. So on the last day of recording I decided we should have a short narration. Since I was the only one in the studio who had an American accent, I took it upon myself to do the theatrical voice-over. I quickly wrote a few lines and tried to do my best Orson Welles impression, channeling my best oratory skills. Hopefully, it's not too over the top!

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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