NO ZU & THE SPIRIT BEAT INTERVIEW
hello beautiful no zus
as soon as that heat beat clip came on, i felt the climate and landscape drying my mouth out. i was in paris and it was contemporarily nostalgic (continuity with change) to get that feeling. i liked watching the sweat grow on the brows of becky sui zhen and daphne and then drip down. where was it? was it really hot (can you prove this by an anecdote?) what did you eat between takes or how did you get there?
The Spirit Beat video was shot in Clunes, Victoria (near Ballarat), at a few locations, but mainly in the old mining ruins that dot the landscape there. It was really hot and there was nowhere to hide because ever since colonial invasion people have had a fetish for ringbarking trees and destroying the earth to find rocks n shit.
I love that you got that dry mouth feeling. That’s exactly what I kept banging on about to the director, Jack Peddey. “We need people to be thirsty!” The producer of the vid, Ruth Morris, mentioned that she had never bought so much water for a shoot. We and the crew were desperate for water the whole time. We drank the dregs from warm water bottles left in cars, from hubcaps and licked sheep skulls, then shifted plenty of tins as soon as the sun went down.
i loved those big topless men wrestling and dancing. it all seemed very 2016 australiana and also ancient. yes/no? who where they (the men) and how did they end up in the desert with you?
So did I…. and correct. The video is a collage of an Australian Hades, a very down-under(ground) ‘Afterlife’ (out now on Chapter Music ). The characters in the vid represent ancient myths and some new ones of our own. All of the vignettes are connected by the fact that the people are stuck together in the same post-apocalyptic land, forever doomed to perform pointless tasks in vain for eternity. Australia is an ancient land that has experienced particularly dreadful upheaval from 1788 on. Australia is an absurd place in many ways – full of ugliness and beauty.
The wrestlers included James, a real wrestler that is a total purist when it comes to old fashioned wrestling… and majestic mullets. The other guy (sorry I forgot his name) was sourced by asking around at the local pub the night before and agreed to do it for two slabs. I drove James to the shoot and I have to admit I was a little wary of the kind of character I would meet. Turns out we got along like a flamin house on fire and connected over a love of Oz-ploitation films, which our video definitely references. He also owns five chihuahuas.
it seems like your music is ancilliary to an artistic/thematic concept. is that tru?
No. We make our music by feel and without intellectualising anything. The heat beat is body music that has no time for the brain. I later mould lyrics, art, aesthetics and so on around the jams informed by their mood, my thematic obsessions and referencing other ZU world spirits that have been floating around since 2007. I’m obsessed with the heat beat, mortality, x-rated taboos, euphoria, transcendental experience, history (ancient/Australian/evolution) and many more things that humans are curious about – these things come to the surface cover us like shiney sweat when we perform and are possessed by the Heat Beat™.
remember when you came to w.a. for camp doogs? i do. when you played the ‘yiayia’ song everyone was dancing, and at one point my hands went straight up in the air on their own. do you have a desire for what types of bodily or spiritual reaction you want your music to inveigle?
This is it. I want all bodies there, including ours, to turn to rubber with brains and hips melting to the heat beat and then for us to all levitate together leaving only clothing and sweat behind.
did we seem like ‘country people’ to you, or sophisticated music lovers, or miners etc?
Sophisticated lovers mining our collective ZU hearts.
if i’m allowed to have a favourite person in your band, it’s the trumpet player who looks like woody harrelson. is he the molten core of no zu and that’s what i was sensing?
blushing I’m actually a Natural Born Killer and the NO ZU director. The only talent I have is drawing much much better musicians into the Heat Beat gravity than me though.
please tell me if you really believe in an afterlife, and also is your band’s spiritographical universe an artistic creation or based on some old time/new age ideas?
No. I wish I did, then I wouldn’t have this obsession with mortality, eternity, infinity and so on. Human brains can’t handle this, eh? ‘Afterlife’ is a reference to belief systems taking over lives, to colonial invasion, to the our first LP ‘Life’ and taking its vibe into darker nocturnal sex-dream territory and also probably many other things.
Our ZU universe is an artistic creation yes, but I don’t see a great divide between a creative life and the everyday. NO ZU is our very own pseudo-science belief set.
same subject: on your fb page you list star signs of the members. is this something you really believe in or are you just being cute?
Neither. I don’t think we have ever been cute or ironic. In fact I began NO ZU in direct reaction to things like that. We are completely sincere, but also a totally zonked idea and totally absurd.
Isn’t it weird how we all know our star sign and like to hear about our supposed character traits? I’m seductive yet emotionally manipulative apparently ….
there are lots of you in the band. what joins you together?
We have a bdsm dungeon that we are locked in each evening. It has an eight set of handcuffs. It’s also where we store our land clearing and land mining gear as they serve as fetish instruments too.
Go Pies. Comment?
Bloody oath m8y ubloodyripper kickagoalson chest mark daicossssss swannyyyyy. Brain washed young. Rats tail grew naturally from my head both in my youth and again now in my adult life because of my belief in the Magpie Gods and I frequent the church of the MCG often. Nice Facebook profile browsing btw ;)
if all your dreams could come true when you play here next, what might be included?
A stage set that looks like the most gaudy new style gym Australia can offer with hundreds of human history’s gods (including Peter Daicos) working out as we play our jam, Zeus Zam. The crowd’s and our ZU brains will melt into hot Heat Beat lava that will flow throughout WA and into the Afterlife. Our rider will include a two tonne container of protein powder, vodka and techno.
thanks you legend(s). we loved you last time and are looking forward to your return. :*