Nick Zoppo of California rock band Heart to Heart discusses the band’s new album, his wresting career as “The Outlandish Zicky Dice”, and what’s next for the band

Interview with Heart to Heart
By Emily May
Heart to Heart, an energetic California rock quintet that formed a decade ago and has toured North America countless times, is comprised of Nick Zoppo (vocals), Johnathan Hayes (guitar/vocals), Justin Bratcher (bass), AJ Wright (drums) and Alex Lulow (guitar/vocals). Even though the band cultivated a dedicated following and released two stellar full-lengths, Heart to Heart slowly receded from the music scene, laying mostly dormant the past few years. What made Zoppo put his passion on hold? His other passion: professional wrestling.  In 2015, Zoppo moved to Chicago to train with WWE Superstar Seth Rollins and ended up staying for 3 1/2 years.  During that time, the band still played a few shows and exchanged song ideas, but the distance was a challenge.  Once Zoppo moved back to California, the band started focusing more on rocking and rolling again.  Zoppo’s alter ego, the “Outlandish Zicky Dice”, took the independent wrestling scene by storm, landing him bookings all across the world. Inspired by his character, Zoppo returned to Heart to Heart with a renewed passion, and his fellow bandmates were just as excited to get to work.  The band, who recently signed with InVogue Records, have released their brand new EP Heartbreaker, a six-song release that’s as musically aggressive as it is inherently melodic.  “Heartbreaker is a new, completely different, mature sound for Heart To Heart,” Zoppo says. “This record means the most to me, especially lyrically. I think of real pain in my life that I connect to music, and that’s what I draw on when writing lyrics.”  This EP is their reintroduction to the world and the band couldn’t be more excited to explore their new sound.  You can follow Heart to Heart and stay up-to-date with upcoming band, music and tour news, as well as stream and purchase their music, via the following links:

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/hearttoheartca/

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/zickydice/

Twitter- https://twitter.com/zickydice

Spotify- https://open.spotify.com/artist/55VgJDsTdSrGZ9aVaa3az8

iTunes/Apple Music- https://itunes.apple.com/lu/artist/heart-to-heart/274343032

You will be releasing your new EP Heartbreaker on February 14th!  Having been on a bit of a hiatus musically for the past few years in order to focus on your wresting career, what has it been like to get back into writing and recording music for Heart To Heart?



You know that’s a great question, it’s like having an itch on your back that you haven’t been able to reach to scratch and you finally get that perfect spot that makes your arm wiggle like a dog. Yeah, it’s kinda like that.


Heartbreaker sees the band’s sound going in a different direction.  What inspired that decision, and had you guys been experimenting with new sounds for a while?  What was the writing and recording process like for the EP, having experimented with new vocal techniques, harmonies and guitar overlays?  Did you guys achieve everything you wanted to with the EP?


We experimented a lot on this record. We did a lot of things different and even took a different approach as to recording the album. Matter fact we recorded drums first and then went back and retract everything over the drums having vocals done completely last. We all went into the studio separately I rarely saw any of the other guys from the band during the recording sessions. It was mostly just myself and Steve Klein when I was there.


You have mentioned coming back to the band inspired by your wresting character!  How connected are your wrestling persona and your music?  Will you be injecting some of your wrestling persona into upcoming live shows? 


I mean, the only connection is that it’s me at the end of the day. I try and keep a little separation between the two but it’s hard not to have a crossover especially with everything that’s going on right now. It’s bound to happen.


What can you tell me about the past three years of focusing on your wresting career?  What are some of your main highlights from that time away from music and what led to your decision to get the band going again?

I learned a lot about myself during the break. I feel that it was very much needed at the time. I wanted toput my focus and energy into myself just to see what would happen. I trained with WWE Superstar Seth Rollins out of the Black and Brave Wrestling Academy, wrestled around the country, wrestled in South Korea, and have been building the Zicky Dice brand ever since. It’s a Zicky takeover.


The band recently signed with In Vogue Records.  What led you to decide they were a good fit for the band?  How has the experience been so far?


I really enjoyed what In Vogue was doing it just seemed like the right call and we couldn’t be happier with the decision we made.


You recently released your latest single and video for “Insufferable”.  What can you tell me about the making of the video and idea behind it? 


That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had filled me a music video. All the shots you see were shot by us and 1134 films. Most of it was done in a garage via green screen. We had an idea of it being like a dream where you see different sides of me. The video is one of a kind. Nothing much out there like it and that was our goal.


You guys have always run the band in a very DIY way.  Do you still operate the band in that way, whether fully or just with certain aspects? 

Certain aspects for sure. I will always have DIY mentality so it’s hard for me not to break from that.


You have said that it can be challenging stay afloat in a sea of other promising bands.  In what ways do you guys work to get your name and music out there and do you feel that things are different now then they were before your hiatus?  In what ways do you utilize social media?


I mean, we are the only band that has “Outlandish” Zicky Dice as a vocalist. The other bands can try and keep up with us.


You have talked about your struggles with depression and anxiety.  How do you feel that things are changing for artists in recent years, with regards to the national/international dialogue surrounding these issues in the music community? 


I feel there is more access to help than there was before. You see this topic being talked about more and more and it’s such a pleasure to see. I still struggle daily but it’s a fight I won’t lose. I work hard and bettering myself by the day and I’m thankful for music and wrestling to give me the outlets that I need.


You are also working towards your masters degree in special education and work in a special education class.  How long have you been teaching and when did you realize that you wanted to be a teacher?  What inspired you to specialize in special education and what is the most rewarding aspect for you?


I work with the most amazing people on this planet. Been in the field for 13 years now. You name it, I’ve done it. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m not too far from having my own title.


You are currently competing in the NWA World Television Championship Tournament!  What can you tell me about the tournament and how you came to be a part of it?


I can tell you this, that title will be mine. You need to watch every Tuesday at YouTube.com/NWA 6:05 EST.


What’s next for the band, as well as for your wresting and teaching careers?


Follow @zickydice to find out. Can’t tell all my secrets here. Outlandish.

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