Former AWOLNATION member Dave Amezcua is ready to rip it up again with his new alt-pop project ZIMINY. The LA native’s debut single, “She (Zoey Deutch),” is dropped on Friday, May 8th, via Battle Creek Recordings, and the sleek tune is sure to make some waves with its hooks, smooth-as-glass production, and perfect, ‘80s-summer vibes. Amezcua is going back to his piano-playing roots with ZIMINY, honing in on his innate songwriting skills while allowing his creative passions to drive his newest project wherever it may.

In honour of the yet untested limits of ZIMINY, Amezcua joins us for this Stereo Six feature to give due credit to the albums that made him into the musician he is today. Explore some classic records, soak up some sonic history, and sample the inaugural ZIMINY single, “She (Zoey Deutch)” – what it actually has to do with the Hollywood actress is still up in the air, but a little mystery never hurts.

1. Toto – Toto (1978, Columbia Records)

“This is the record that sort of started it all for me. In terms of blending keys, synths, groove, and a dynamic vocal range. ‘Hold the Line,’ ‘Georgy Porgy,’ ‘I’ll Supply the Love,’ ‘Child’s Anthem,’ and ‘Girl Goodbye’ are songs that shaped me as a bassist, keyboardist, and songwriter. I pretend to be a drummer but fail miserably. But had I become a decent drummer, this record would also be on my list!”

2. Chicago – 17 (1984, Warner Bros)

“I can’t say enough about this record and how much this band has influenced me. I was like 5 or 6 years old (basically when my ears developed) when my dad had this cassette in the tape deck of our family car, playing daily. I vividly remember hearing ‘Only You’ back in the family ride, and to this day, ‘Stay the Night,’ ‘Hard Habit to Break’ and ‘Please Hold On’ have a forever spot in my musical soul. ‘Once in a Lifetime’ is a guilty pleasure. Bill Champlin has always been a big influence on me. To hear someone rip vocally like that is inspiring. A little trivia: David Foster produced the record but he also played all the funky moog bass parts on it. People think he’s only this classical type pianist, but no, he’s funky as hell.”

3. Metallica – Black Album (1991, Elektra Records)

“This album was HUGE for me. Still is. ‘Sad but True’ should still be in the top 200! It ain’t an easy thing to master groove and swing, heavy tones, catchy vocal melody, and guitar licks like that. This song achieved what other songs in its genre only dreamed of. Clearly, why Metallica is the beast they are today. They earned it with songs like this. Obviously, everyone knows ‘Enter Sandman,’ but I also recommend checking out ‘The God That Failed.’ It’s one of those songs that just makes your head move back and forth, start to finish.”

Artwork for the album’s ZIMINY lists in this Stereo Six

4. Bee Gees – Main Course (1975, RSO)

“These guys were gangster songwriters. ‘Nights on Broadway’ was a big one for me. Everything from the super catchy vocal hooks, how the moog synth bass moves, and even the slow bridge. I just love it. ‘Jive Talkin,’ is another classic, as well as ‘Fanny.’ Much like Chicago, you can’t peg these guys just for one album, they have many great albums. But Main Course wins for ‘Nights of Broadway.’ Honorable mention is ‘I Started a Joke’ off their Idea album.”

5. Home Town Hero – Bitch City (2003, Maverick Records)

“So before I was ever in Awolnation with Aaron Bruno, he had another band called Home Town Hero. They made a record called Bitch City which ended up going unreleased. I still to this day don’t really know what happened, and why this record never saw the light of day. I think you may be able to listen to it on YouTube. Check out ‘Workin’ and ‘Daysleeper.’ This band eventually turned into Under the Influence of Giants, which I joined in 2005. So I kinda joined my dream band back then.”

6. Steely Dan – Aja (1977, MCA Records )

“Last but certainly not least, Steely Dan’s Aja record is one of the all-time greatest in terms of the musicianship that went down. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were on fire at this point, the bass playing of Chuck Rainey, the smooth grooves of Bernard Purdie… I mean, ‘Peg,’ ‘Black Cow,’ ‘Deacon Blues,’ ‘Josie.’ Come on, man. I don’t even know what to say. Just smoke a joint and listen. I don’t even smoke, but if that’s your thing, get after it.”

Artwork for “She (Zoey Deutch)” by ZIMINY