Working on Zombies, Run! we’re lucky to have a very dedicated, creative and overall lovely fanbase. We try to celebrate that whenever we can, so we’ve been talking to some of our fans and would now like to introduce the first of our fan interviews!
Today we talk with Emma St. John about music, fanworks, and top tips for using Zombies, Run!
What got you into Zombies, Run!?
I actually got into ZR on the recommendation of a friend, about six years ago now. I was just about to finish up high school and the season for my sport of choice was ending, and I was looking for something to help keep me active. She suggested the app, and while at the time I was wary because I wasn’t super into zombie media, I gave it a shot.
I wound up loving it so much that I wound up going out on more and more runs more often, up to the point I was using it four times a week and getting into the ZR 5K trainer! It totally turned me from someone who always hated running to someone who seriously loved it.
You mentioned that you weren’t really a fan of zombie media. Do you think there’s something about ZR that makes it appealing, even to people who don’t like zombies?
I do think there’s something about ZR that makes it appealing to people who don’t/don’t usually like zombies – I do think there’s something very special about it. I mean, to start, I do think one of the things that helps it be more approachable that most other zombie media is the lack of visuals – there’s a slight level of disconnect from the elements of horror that are usually implemented in zombie media, because there’s no actual visual gore or blood with ZR – it’s all done through audio storytelling.
There’s several other aspects to it for me, but the biggest ones I’d say for sure are the stories and the way it’s written, and the characters. The story was absolutely what got me sucked in when I first started playing – I wanted to find out what happened next so badly it really motivated me to go out on that next run. The overall themes of hope and teamwork and unconventional skills being useful in the apocalypse is something that really appealed to me as well. And then the more I learned about and got to know the characters, the more I totally grew to adore them. They’re so diverse and inclusive, it really felt like there was someone for pretty much everyone to look up to/get attached to.
How do you prepare for a run? Do you have a special routine?
I wouldn’t say I have any sort of particular routine, not really. I try to make sure I run about three times a week, with a few extra walks sprinkled in. I usually get up, prepare myself an ice water for when I get back, feed my dog, and grab my gigantic armband for my phone and head out!
What’s your favourite music to run to?
I definitely prefer energetic music – a good tempo keeps me moving. For every season I usually wind up building a new playlist to suit the tone of that season in particular. My ones for the earlier seasons were all very upbeat, and as they seasons go on the music I wind up picking as increased in intensity to match the seasons themselves.
I’m in the middle of working on my S7 one now, actually, because I just wrapped up Season 6. So far it’s being centered around “Champion” and “The Last of the Real Ones” by Fall Out Boy.
Your playlist is really cool! How do you go about deciding what songs to centre your playlists around?
I usually look for lyrics that I find fit the theme or mood of the seasons – for the ZRS6 one, for example, ‘Werld is Mine’ is one I really liked because I could sort of find bits of different characters in the lines for the chorus. “Ghosts in Empty Houses” from ‘Interim Semper Currans’ I thought was a great foundation because it felt like it could even possibly be from the perspective of Runner Five.
And then for the one I’m working on for S7, both “Champion” and “Last of the Real ones” had lyrics that made me think of Five and Abel; “If I can live through this/I can do anything”, “You’re the last of a dying breed”, “There’s been a million before me” – all little things like that that just give off a ‘ZR vibe’ are things I like to look for.
You’re involved in making fanworks. Do you have any fanfic/fanart recommendations?
Of course I do! I’ve always loved the art and fic this fandom creates. Some of my favorite works include Typelikemad’s Season 1 Epsiode illustrations this drawing of Sara by tumblr user Thaumivore (though sadly I think they’ve deleted their blog) and this super cute Hoodie 5 by illustratedacorns, and some of my favorite fics are “Scavenger” by Straydog733, this post-Season 3 Fic about Jamie, Maxine, and Five being bros by Puptart (big S3 spoilers warning on this one) and “Wolves” by TheTalkingCrocus (season 4 spoiler warnings)
What is your top tip for using Zombies, Run!?
Honestly my top tip has always been just ‘have fun’! ZR is something that I’ve loved very, very dearly, and I’ve always loved the attitude the creators have about making fitness fun, because that’s what ZR did for me. I’ve been using it for ages now, at every level of fitness – there were times at my most fit where I was running five miles/8 km per mission, and there were times where I just listened to it while walking my dog because that’s the most I could manage. And it’s always been something I’ve wanted to come back to, something that’s made me enjoy getting out and moving and made me want to do it more.
To me, ZR really a really fun, unique experience. It’s something I love sharing with my friends and with the fandom. It’s always been a very important spark of joy in my life.