Zach Tillman sounds relaxed, eerily so, as he’s about to head into Canada with less-than-ideal luggage.

“We’re in the breaking equipment part of the tour,” he explains. “It happens. You just kind of work through it — I just made a trip to Home Depot. It was a really great one this time though — we broke everything.”

Perhaps the calmness can be attributed to West Coast living. Tillman — who grew up in Maryland but now calls Seattle home — admits that the laid-back atmosphere is partly responsible for the sweet and sun-drenched, contently melancholy sound of his new project, Pearly Gate Music, and the album of the same name. “I think seeing a transition from East Coast living and then experiencing the West Coast vibe really did shake me up and influence the way I approached music,” he says. “Everyone’s so damn relaxed over there, it’s amazing. They’re just kind of unflappable.”


As for the haunting, vaguely hymn-like quality to the album (not to mention the “pearly gate” reference),Tillman claims it’s a combination of simple chords and lack of technical guitar skills as opposed to a religious reference. Growing up in a Christian household, however, he wouldn’t be surprised if it snuck in — and doesn’t necessarily mind. “I think people who have had a Catholic or Protestant upbringing feel kind of alone — but it’s funny, like 80 percent of people have that,” he says. “The historical figure of Jesus Christ is still very present. Whether or not he’s the literal Son of God or the creator of the cosmos, that’s up for grabs, but this icon has a lot of sway in culture.”

Pearly Gate Music

with Frog Eyes

Saturday, 8 p.m.

Mercury Lounge

217 E. Houston St.

$12, 212-260-4700

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