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. :*

Chats with Ana of Hinds

Hinds. They appeared like all things should – suddenly and into thousands of loving arms. A few years ago two of the members (Ana and Carlotta) couldn’t play guitar, so the story goes. Now they’re pumping out hits all over the globe, grinning and chugging beers (and coffee) and being smart, confident, Spanish, and very very lovable.

I talked to Ana Perrote, guitarist and “second” singer. I wanted to ask more in depth-questions like “Do you guys wear lipstick in the daytime all the time?” and “What’s your actual favourite guitar tone?” and “Do you think more female bands have double singers because we’re taught to put our own singular desires aside?” and “Do you have any advice for me in my love situation?” Instead, the following is what I asked, and this is what she said, in a fluffy Skype call where I managed to hide that I was only in a midriff top, and Ana’s lovely face was mainly turned into a balaclava’d marshmallow thanks to a wobbly connection on the Birmingham side.

My advice is – go watch a few minutes of Ana talking on the youtubes so you can read this back in her voice…

A: Where are you at the moment?

Ana: I’m in Birmingham in the UK. Where are you?

A: I’m in Paris?

Ana: Paris?! We’re going to be in Paris in a couple of weeks.

A: Really? I’ll be here, I’ll come and see you.

Ana: Nice! Perfect!

A: What have the England shows been like?

Ana: Very good, very good. This is the first tour we do knowing it was sold out before, all the shows were sold out before we started so it felt like… We feel like queens, seriously, so so so so lucky. I mean there’s so many gigs, and every night it’s sold out and every night people are just so happy just because of us being on stage, like when we walk on stage, people is already happy! I dunno it’s just fantastic, it’s very exciting.

A: Has there been anything else you’ve done in your life that has been able to produce that? – Not for so many people, but where you’ve felt you can really change how people feel?

Ana: I used to be on a theatre drama thing and I felt that a little bit but it’s not the same cos… When you go to a theatre you don’t expect anything, you just go and suddenly feel, but when you go to a gig you’ve already felt something about the music, so when you come and you actually see it live, that makes you feel, like, stronger, you know what I mean? Just like you already have a feeling and suddenly it connects with another feeling you are having in that moment. An explosive sort of a feeling you know what I mean? It’s just stronger.

A: I read in interviews you guys saying that in Madrid the music scene you’re part of is pretty small and friendly. Do you think that that has changed how you’ve made music or feel about what you’re doing?

Ana: Yeah for sure! That’s how we started, with other friends helping us and telling us like “Ok this is a guitar amp, this is how you should set up.” We really started out of nowhere, really from zero so all these bands were helping us just because of friendship you know what I mean? Just because of love of art and new bands and stuff and they were like “Ok you wanna support us in this gig?” “I’ll help you..”

Like one of The Parrots, he’s the producer of our single and of our album – everyone helps each other just because of nothing, just because of friendship and art. So it’s definitely stuck in our brains and it feels like the way we would love the whole industry to work or something, like whenever we are touring with other bands we really start to get friends with them and we’re like “Ok I’ll send you my deemos for the next album” (“deemos” is the only time I’m gonna put in Ana’s bewdiful accent) or “Do you want to listen to this new song?” or “What should we call this album?”

A: That’s what it’s like where I’m from too, Perth!

Ana: Cool. Plenty of love.

A: What made you guys decide to write in English?

Ana: It wasn’t really a decision. It just came that way cause when Carlotta and I wrote our first ever song it was ‘Trippy Gum’, and we were pretty drunk and we were like, “Ok imagine, imagine, ok just be free be free be free be free” and when we write melodies we’re like “Wahwhwhwwahwahhh,” like we’re not saying anything but we’re doing a melody and you just could tell what we were saying in those melodies were in English.

I mean the music we do is the music we want to listen to, so it just makes more sense for our ears and it’s, like, better. All the music we listen to is in English you know what I mean, we’re similar to what we like, so it was just because of that.

A: I think it’s good because whenever you’re writing in a different language – even if you say something very simple – because you’re not expressing it in exactly the same way as a native speaker would, it always comes out more like poetry.

Ana: Yeah, yeah! It’s kind of like our own language or something. It’s not Spanish and it’s not English, it’s just like a Hinds vocabulary.

A: Are there any bands from Madrid that people wouldn’t know about that you wish people would know about?

Ana: Yes. I’m going to write in down in here.

PRESENTING ANA’S SKYPE LIST OF MADRID’S (AND FURTHER) GREATEST LESSER KNOWN BANDS the parrots los nastys baywaves lois miqui brightside John grey ex novios novedades caminha

Ana: Parrots, this is the band where the singer is our producer, and then Los Nastys, and err…

A: Your face is very fluffy

Ana: Oh really?

A: You look like you’re wearing a riot girl mask. A balaclava.

Ana: Hahaa :)

A: Hahaa :) I can just see eyes and a mouth.

(More lols)

Ana: Yes. I think, from Madrid that’s mainly everything I really really love. But then there’s also, not from Madrid
there’s this band (mujeres). There you go, there’s my favourite bands.

A: Do you guys ever get worried that touring so much you’re not going to be able to keep writing, or you know playing songs a million times that it will lose any magical –

Ana: It already happened!

A: Really?!

Ana: Yeah it already happened last year – not losing the magic – but this version of our record wasn’t written when we started touring, like we just had five songs and then we started touring and touring and touring and touring and suddenly… We only write when we’re at home, and suddenly we stopped being home, at all.

So I remember we were in Christmas and we were looking to the calendar and we were like “Ok so basically we are recording the album in April so then there’s like 3, 4 months, and we have like 10 days in Madrid. How the fuck are we going to do it.”

It was very very stressful for us because writing music is not like studying or something, it’s not about how many hours you spend. Just like randomly maybe you’re going to write four songs in one day or maybe like you’re going to be one month without writing anything you like, so it was very very tough for Carlotta and I cause we had to stop doing the laundry, stop sleeping, stop watching our friends and family when we were home.

We were like “Ok we just gotta focus on this” and “Ok come to our place,” so I drove to her place we got drunk as possible and we were like “Ok next song, Ok what about this?” and “We gotta close the next song, and another one,” and “We gotta change this one! and “I don’t like it anymore!” and “Yeah but we have one month to do it!” It was so so stressful but we made it and we are happy with the album and we really really like it so it was worth it.

A: Well I mean it’s hard to say no when someone’s saying “Do you want to come to this beautiful country, have thousands of people cheering for you…”

Ana: Exactly. It’s hollywood. At the same time at the same time I seriously didn’t even realised the world was this big until we had this band. Like there’s places all around the world and people listen to music everywhere so it’s just like wherever we just say “Ok Australia, we just have like these five dates, we’re coming in May!”, people are gonna say “Why don’t you come to this city! Why do you go to that one?” It’s just like “Dudes please like we’re travelling so much you could travel a little bit for us if you really want to see us.”

A: Hahaha.

Ana: Like it’s so shocking for us!

A: But Australia’s big!

Ana: Yeah but it’s incredible that people all around the world wants to see us so we’re like “Ok, they wants to see us, we better go! We gotta go!” But then we can’t go everywhere and write and be healthy at the same time!

A + Ana: lols

A: But you’re happy with how you’ve chosen so far?

Ana: Yep. It’s like really one of the most tiring jobs in the world but at the same time it’s one of the most incredible and satisfying ones.

A: Do you think you guys will keep going for a long time? Til you’re 60?

Ana: I think so.

A: Really?

Ana: I really think so.

A: Hinds reunion tour, 2060.

Ana: For another couple of albums at least. We have a lot of things to say yet.

A: I know that you guys are very very proud of where you come from. If I go to Madrid what should I do first that people wouldn’t usually do?

Ana: You should go to this neighbourhood called Malasaña. Whenever we’re in Madrid we’re always in that area, all the clubs that we like are there, all our friends are always gonna be there, there’s so many cheap restaurants, it’s just so nice it’s like a little town it’s just four streets.

And I dunno there’s just something about the streets in Madrid, the weather is very good and everyone is drinking cans for one euro in the street and talking to each other and there’s so many great bars with great music that we love to go to.

A: Yeah do you ever drink anything apart from beer? I always see photos of you guys chugging brews! Never a coffee.

Ana: Yes! No, I have two coffees here! (shows them) Yeah we drink a lot of coffee cos we’re always very tired. Cheers!

clink Ana and Amber’s coffees across Skype

Ok, so we drink coffee in the morning, during the day we drink water, and early like coca cola, and then when we get to the venue we’re very tired cos we partied the night before so we’re probably going to have a Redbull, and then after soundcheck we start drinking beer and if it’s a crazy night we will probably have a tequila shot or a gin and tonic or a Bloody Mary if we’re feeling very fancy and they’re for free.

A: I’m gonna write a detox program for people based on that.

Ana and Amber: Hahahaa

A: Hinds detox “Wash it down with a tequila.” When you come to Perth, which is in May, in Australia, I’ll show you good bands and good places if you like.

Ana: Perfect, awesome.

A: I better let you go to the next interview. It’s nice to meet you.

Ana: Nice to meet you!