It only takes a few minutes of conversation with Zonnis to learn two things: the husband-wife folk duo seems adept at going with the flow, and they’re exceedingly friendly.
It’s those qualities that led the couple, on a whim, to record an album in Colombia at an American producer’s house back in 2020.
“We were there when the pandemic hit,” says Andrea Zonnis, one half of the duo. “We just brought our guitars and showed up. Music is such a wonderful way to meet people.”
While it’s not unusual for the pair to get a lead—or even an offer—for a show after a performance, this particular encounter was unique.
“[The album] is still unreleased—to be released soon,” says Adam Zonnis. “It’s almost ready to go. We spent two days: one day of recording and one day of mixing.”
The Victoria-based duo has amassed a collection of impressively diverse tracks over the years. Merging Andrea’s background studying musical theatre, her love of funk and old-school soul, with Adam’s penchant for tongue-in-cheek acts like Tenacious D—and spinning it together with a shared love of storytelling—they offer “a little bit for everyone,” Andrea says.
“We don’t usually make a setlist, but we have an idea of what direction we’re going to go in,” Adam adds of their live shows. “[The shows] have an arc to them. We start off fun and go through some meaningful stuff with rockin’ stuff at the end—a bit of dancing.”
They might pre-book some gigs in advance, but out road-tripping with their RV and son Zander, they’re also open to impromptu shows—like one that unfolded on a ferry ride.
“We took a ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert and on the ferry, behind the cafeteria, there was a theatre. We asked the lady at the desk if we could play and she said, ‘Yes, you can totally do that. I’ll make an announcement on the intercom and you can collect tips and sell merch,’” Adam recalls.
“We can be completely spontaneous.”
The pair’s return to The Point Artist-Run Centre in Whistler won’t be quite as spur-of-the-moment. Zonnis is set to play the Sunday Concert Series on Aug. 14 from 3 to 6 p.m.
“The Point is absolutely amazing and there were so many great people,” Andrea says, recalling the last time they were at the historic Alta Lake lodge for the 2021 Flag Stop Theatre and Arts Festival.
The unique venue hits the mark that Zonnis looks for in a show. While they’ll play the right city gig, they much prefer small towns, house parties, or other unconventional venues.
“We don’t want to play just a café or a bar in a city,” Adam says. “If we go to a small town, people bring their friends … A few years ago, we weren’t as experienced with touring and we’d play a downtown restaurant in Calgary. Then we were like, ‘Let’s just play our friends’ houses and everyone is super into it. It’s the same vibe as a small town.”