Zack Kollar is unafraid of extremes. The West Saugerties 18-year-old has an ever-growing Soundcloud page devoted to his musical excursions, which tend to range from the sharp aggressiveness of metal to the placid interstellar introspection of chillwave.
“It’s good for me to work on both ends,” Kollar said. “Half the time I’m trying to make a more melodic sort of thing with harmonies and rhythms, and the other half I’m trying to make a cacophony of noises.”
Kollar grew up in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, immersed from an early age in music thanks to his father’s in-home recording studio. Though he might not have realized it at the time, those formative experiences planted a seed.
“I got FL Studio [digital audio workstation] on my computer and just messed around with that,” Kollar said. “I made video game music, almost, with 8-bit synthesizers and stuff. Then I moved on to sampling stuff and it got crazier and crazier, and I’ve never stopped.”
The transformation came after Kollar’s move to West Saugerties four years ago to attend the Hudson Valley Sudbury School, though the idea of education eventually lost its luster, if only temporarily.
“I haven’t been going to school for a while,” Kollar said. “I’m kind of a dropout. I’m thinking about maybe trying to get into [SUNY] Purchase, but I’m not sure.”
While he figures that out, Kollar is continuing to pursue his interest in writing and recording music, as well as web design. He’ll also continue recording as Barclay Heights, in tribute to the neighborhood where much of the music originated.
“I spent a lot of time there when I was making the music,” Kollar said. “Something about the suburban environment. It felt like it described the relaxed music. I spent a lot of time there in the fall sitting in the park and smoking cigarettes, not really doing anything and thinking about new ideas.”
Like his interests, Kollar’s music covers a fairly wide range. The electronic-based productions, which make up the lion’s share of what’s available on the Internet, is definitely rooted in the spacy chillwave movement, though it also shares similarities with more sonically-adventurous acts like Black Moth Super Rainbow, Suicide and Broadcast.
Kollar’s music can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/barclayheights.
What makes Saugerties unique?
I think it’s what makes it not unique. It reminds me of a lot of places. It’s nice that it’s located in this area. It has Barclay Heights, which reminds me of being in suburbia where I grew up, but it’s also got the uptown area and the mountains. It’s a nice contrast.
What is your favorite virtue?
The ability to enjoy life.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Definitely videogame design, on the software end. Maybe electrical engineering and circuit design.
What are your favorite color, flower and animal?
Olive green, a poppy flower and dogs.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Saugerties?
In all of Saugerties, I’d definitely have to say Connor Kennedy. He’s definitely one of the most interesting people I’ve met.
What is your idea of the perfect Saturday?
Coffee, waking up really late and sitting around listening to really loud music.
What qualities do you admire most in others?
Not being judgmental. Being relaxed and just floating around.
What is your idea of happiness?
Floating around and enjoying life.
What is your idea of misery?
Being trapped in one place and not having a thing to do.
What talent do you wish you’d been given?
I think the talent to sing. I think that would be a good talent to have. (Kollar listed a wide range of vocalists he admires, from the late Layne Staley of Alice in Chains to Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes to Chazwick Bundick, who records as Toro Y Moi). I like so many different kinds of singers. It really depends on if it fits the music.
What is your main fault?
I’m way too pessimistic.
For which fault do you have the most tolerance in others?
I think being a pessimist.
What is your favorite motto?
I don’t think I have a favorite motto.
Do you have any heroes?
[Beach Boys legend] Brian Wilson. If you’re going to put someone on your heroes list, it’s got to be Brian Wilson.
What character in history do you most dislike?
Probably Napoleon. He was a little stuck-up.
What is your present state of mind?
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear Saint Peter say when he greets you?
I have absolutely no idea.