Interview: Zulu Winter
Our songs are melancholic and also danceable. But come find out for yourself.
Emerging British band Zulu Winter has just announced two Australian shows this April. Under the same management as The Cribs and Crystal Castles, despite the fact that Zulu Winter has yet released an album, they've already toured the UK and Europe with Foster The People earlier this year and the five-piece guitar-dance band will soon play South by South West. Language, their debut record, will be out this May. The first single to appear off this recording – 'We Should be Swimming' – has already garnered rave reviews, and within two days had received over 100,000 views on YouTube. We caught up with bassist Iain Lock from the band you're about to become very familiar with.
Tara Rivkin: You guys have had a meteoric rise considering you only came together and formed Zulu Winter at the beginning of last year. How did everything happen so quickly?
Iain Lock: I'm not sure if it's meteoric yet. But it is amazing that people seem to like the music. I think the main reason that things are going well is that we decided to write the album first before letting anyone hear it. It's the way the industry works at the moment, everything moves so quickly that if you're not ready for it, you get left behind. Also it is a lot to do with the team around us. We are really thankful for all the work they put in. I think when everyone is into the music and it's right, things just seem to work.
You've been likened to Wild Beast and Friendly Fires and described as 'tribal pop' and 'post-Coldplay rock'. How would you describe your music?
It's really nice to be likened to such good acts, however I think being put into boxes with other bands can influence what people think of your music. I don't like describing our music to people – I prefer people to see us live and make up their own minds. If I'm forced to, I suppose our songs have pop melodies, with left-field atmospherics supported by a groove based backbone from the rhythm section. They are melancholic and also danceable. But come find out for yourself.
How come you decided to complete all of the songs for your first album before you'd even played any shows?
We wanted to get away from being pressured by the industry, and write songs that we wanted to, for us, so that when we played them to people we were ready to go. It put us in a great position to be able to concentrate on the live show, without having to think about writing the rest of the album at the same time.
I love the moodiness and choreography of the video for your latest single 'We Should Be Swimming'. You shot it in Scotland and it looks seriously cold and a little creepy. What inspired the look of the video?
Scotland in January is very very cold ? I am surprised the dancers didn't get hypothermia. Primarily what inspired the video is the song. The dance element came from The Serpentine Dance by Loie Fuller. It is a beautiful piece with flowing movements that have a strong connection to water. As for the actual treatment of the film, that came from Cagoule, they are a great production company and the ideas they had seemed fit the music and the themes within the song.
You've been described as a book-loving, literate band – are there any particular writers or books you're all drawn to?
We each have our own influences; personally I'm a bit of a nerd and have a massive comic book collection. Will [the frontman] is probably the most literary. TS Eliott's poems have had a strong connection to the album. A book that we have all read and enjoyed is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, but as I said we all have different influences and are always recommending books to each other, and I think that is good to have individual tastes within our music.
When are we going to be seeing you here in Australia?
We are playing at the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne on the 16th of April. Then we go to Sydney and play at Oxford Arts Factory, on the 18th. We are really looking forward to it. I have never been to Australia before but I have some friends over there so it will be lovely to see them again, and hopefully to make some new ones!
Tickets to Zulu Winter's Australian shows (supported by City Calm Down) go on sale on Monday February 27. Tickets to the Melbourne show are available via the Northcote Social Club website, by calling 1300 724 867 and also at the Corner Box Office. Tickets to the Oxford Art Factory show can be purchased from Moshtix or by calling 1300 438 849.
Introduction: Ingrid Kesa