Zora is an American independent alternative/electronica music duo from Cleveland, formed in 2012. The duo consists of Zora Vechvyanna, known by her mononym Zora (vocals, keyboards, production, songwriting), and Darren Hausen, known by his mononym Xhausen (synthesizer, production). Together, they have just completed their debut full-length album, "Metamorphosis," set for release this fall, 2013. Influenced by the likes of Tori Amos, Björk, and Nine Inch Nails, this duo's music can be described as ethereal, yet edgy; a unique fusion of industrial, trip-hop and classic orchestral sounds married to haunting vocals and thought-provoking lyrics.
Currently, to promote their new album, Zora is playing shows in Northeastern Ohio and surrounding cities. For their live performances, Zora and Xhausen play alongside JP Pasternak on bass. A native of Cleveland, Xhausen is a producer, DJ and videographer. Also from Cleveland, JP Pasternak has been involved in the Cleveland music scene for the past fourteen years, having played in several bands and opening for famous acts such as The Killers and The Pixies, as well as DJing under the alias Sputnik. In addition to performing in ZORA, Xhausen and Sputnik have been responsible for successfully organizing the annual Pierogi Dance Party in Cleveland, drawing in close to 300 attendees and transforming Sokolowski's into Cleveland's biggest dance party; featuring cutting edge music, trippy visuals and delicious pierogi. Zora’s live performances also promise to be a full audio-visual experience; merging sound with cinematography - and art with technology.
Hungarian by birth, American by circumstance, Zora’s inspiration for music has been shaped by hardships she experienced early in life. From the sudden loss of her mother at an early age, to her years wandering the U.S. as a first-generation immigrant, Zora’s perceptive lyrics reflect not only the unpredictability of her own past, but her keen observations of the unsound world in which we live in today.
At the age of three Zora was separated from her father after he fled then-communist Hungary in hopes of finding a better life in America. This was followed by the sudden and tragic death of her mother. In turn, at the age of eight, Zora packed up her life in Hungary to reconnect with her father living overseas in America. Zora’s move to the U.S. was bittersweet. While it opened doors to an exciting world of new possibilities, it also left her conflicted and isolated. Zora spent much of her childhood years wandering and exploring the U.S. By the time Zora graduated high school, she had attended more than twenty different school districts throughout the country. It was during this time of instability that Zora turned to music for escape. In her bedroom, sequestered from the turmoil that ransacked seemingly every moment of her life, Zora found her gift, her passion; a voice with which she could channel anguish and make the world outside her bedroom fade.
Zora attributes her innate love for the arts to her artistically talented parents. Before her death, Zora’s mother dreamed of becoming a fashion designer in Budapest; while in Los Angeles, Zora’s father, a self-taught artist, successfully landed a gig painting props for numerous Hollywood blockbusters back in the early 90’s. But often the plight of ‘starving artists,’ the path to success is seldom guaranteed, and for this reason, Zora sought the stability of a college education with the intention of becoming a doctor. She earned her bachelor’s degree and was accepted into medical school. But it was here that Zora understood that her passion for music could not be suppressed. With no room for creativity in medical school as well as her increasing frustration with the medical establishment that exists today, Zora dropped out of medical school to pursue music full time.
At this time, Zora began experimenting with different sounds; learning music production, video editing and other creative modes of self-expression. When she met Xhausen, everything seemed to click. Their common love for both Rachmaninoff piano concertos and dark, industrial beats was a match made in heaven. The two began experimenting, and after 6 months of locking themselves away from the outside world, finished writing and recording their first album together.
When listening to Zora’s melodies, one would describe their music as a blend of vocal artistry and electronic fervor. On their new album “Metamorphosis,” each track’s seeming progressions of ambient inspired harmonies uncork a series of otherworldly emotions - but it is Zora’s delicate vulnerability, her soul-wrenching fragility, that subtly affects us as we listen. As Jeff Niesel of Scene Magazine says, "Zora's whispery vocals recall Tori Amos on tunes such as 'Alienation' and 'Cybergalatica.' A moody mix of electronic and organic instrumentation, the music sounds something like Portishead or Evanescence."
Having faced mortality both inside and outside of the classroom has given Zora a fearless edge. As she puts it, “What would be more daunting is looking back when I’m old, knowing that I did not take the chance to pursue the one thing that truly makes me happy. A path laden with obstacles only makes one stronger. And cutting into human flesh gives you insight and a new perspective on life. For me, it was the realization that I would rather die than to confine that free, creative spirit and voice that’s been itching to come out for so long. I suppose I’m a bit eccentric, but I’ve come to terms with that. I simply cannot, and will no longer, fight that uninhibited, 'bohemian blood’ that flows inside of my veins.”