Certified Jams: “Zest Pop” by Mustard Service


Chloe Fields

Mustard Service, a five-member band from Miami, Florida, have released three albums and a bunch of singles. Their sound is unique only to them and that’s because they created their own genre of music.


It’s called zest pop, and it’s uniquely fantastic but difficult to describe in a way that’s concise and accurate. In my best words, zest pop is like a beachy rock sound, mixed with a bit of indie bedroom pop, and a healthy dose of whatever is going on in Florida. It helps if you imagine the Beach Boys were born in the 90s and were also way cooler. It’s an enticing combination of sounds that scratch an itch in my brain.


The genre zest pop was first introduced to the world through the album with the same name, “Zest Pop.” It was released in 2017 as the band’s debut album, and was mostly made by founding member Marco Rivero Ochoa at the age of 19. 


More recently, the band has released new albums with every member contributing, such as “Fiddle Lake” and “C’est La Vie,” also a new single titled “Drink With A Friend.” I definitely recommend both albums and the single, but “Zest Pop” holds a special place in my heart.


“Taking Up Space” was the first song written for “Zest Pop” and it sets a kind of dreamy energy for the rest of the album. It’s about being hung up on someone, like they’re ‘taking up space’ in your head involuntarily. The song features a very fun guitar part and a slower pace creating a relaxed mood that conveys the attached emotions very well. 


Another track from the album is “Oh, Honey Baby.” This banger sounds like it was stolen out of a teen beach movie from the 50s. It’s a cute love song that has a violent twist at the end, with the lyrics “Oh, honey baby/ Oh, honey darling/ I’d love to kill ya / Load up my shotgun/ And you could kill me too /I could only die with you.” The contrast between the lyrics and the happy-go-lucky music gives the song an interesting vibe that you can’t find anywhere else.


“Homie” is by far my favorite off of the album. It has such a good feel to it, and it’s a great song to dance around your room to. The bass gives the song an energetic and full-of-life kind of feeling. And along with it, the guitar is exceptionally lively and fun, which meshes with the breezy feel of the song perfectly. 


Zest Pop’s closing track, “Bedtime,” is a satisfying way to end an album. The song is very pretty and soft sounding, which is a big contrast to the track right before it, “Oh, Honey Baby.” It ties back to the themes of love at the beginning of the album with “Taking Up Space,”  but in this song the singer seems like he’s had some closure and is now content with the situation. It really puts you in a mood and closes the album off in a fulfilling way.


Personally, I love this album. I think the genre of zest pop is amazing and creative, and this album is a great introduction to it. If you like Hot Flash Heat Wave, No Vacation, or any other indie-sounding bands, then I absolutely recommend Mustard Service.


Luckily, Mustard Service was kind enough to take time off from their busy tour and answer a few questions about “Zest Pop” over email:


Q: What influenced the creation of the genre (and album) of “Zest Pop”?

A: Well we’re Mustard Service and the only thing Mustard Service can play is Zest Pop, it is our blessing but also our shackle 🙁


Q: What went into creating your unique sound for the album?

A: First of all, thank you :’) Secondly, we don’t really know how to answer that question, we think anything anyone makes is unique. Even if you’re imitating someone else, the imitation itself is still your own, so I guess the best answer to the question is that we just kinda put what we thought sounded good into a record and hope people agreed with us.


Q: “Taking Up Space” was the first song written for the album, what was the inspiration and meaning behind it?

A: Sometimes you just have to be a simp and write a love song ya know?


Q: In what ways do you think “Zest Pop” is comparable to your more recent albums?

A: Zest Pop was a project Marco worked on with our friend and producer Armando Baeza, so the songs we’re mostly written by him when he was 19. After Zest Pop was released, we all finally came together as a band and started working and growing together musically and otherwise, arranging songs together to get a bit more of a blend of everyone’s personal tastes and style, letting us evolve and learn from each other to keep making cool s–t


Q: Is there anything you would go back and change about the album?

A: delete it all


Q: What is everyone’s favorite song from the album “Zest Pop”?

A: Leo: Flip Flop

Marco: Get F—-d

Nuchi: My oh Me Pt.1

Adam: Homie

Tuto: They’re all kinda cringe


Q: Anything you want to say to JAHS?

A: Drink water, take your vitamins, stay in school, don’t make any friends, don’t start a band, this town ain’t big enough for the both of us, be a doctor, my chest kinda hurts sometimes, help oh, also we’re coming to Ohio pretty d–n soon, so come to the show and follow the instagram.