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Zula Interview

Posted by UnSpunHero


The experimental NYC psych pop band Zula sat down with us to talk about their roots, New York’s music scene, and what to expect from their upcoming album, Twin Loss.


New York, NY

Record Label
Inflated Records

How did the band form? What’s Zula’s origins story?

Zula: We (cousins Henry and Nate) have been informally playing music together our entire lives. Nate moved to NYC in 2010 – Zula started writing and recording in the Manhattan apartment where Henry grew up. Mike was an old friend of Nate’s from growing up in Ithaca, and Henry met Pablo when their separate improvisational musical projects shared a bill in Boston.

Since Henry and Nate are cousins, does your family play a large role in supporting the band?

Zula: We grew up playing music at our grandmother’s house – she was a church organist and piano teacher professionally and a huge source of inspiration for us as we developed our music. Our parents are also supportive of the band – but they don’t play a large role in our daily music routines.

I know family can be extremely critical. Have any relatives come out and openly criticized your music?

Zula: Some of our parents and aunts and uncles don’t really ‘get’ our music exactly, but are supportive regardless. Sometimes the repetition and electronic influence, particularly doesn’t translate. Last thanksgiving I had a textural loop cycling over and over prompting my aunt to scold me – ‘enough of that riff already!’ But they’re great sports about it all and our family shares love for roots and rock music.

As natives of Brooklyn, your city has seen significant shifts in style and has become home for great music venues such as Brooklyn Bowl, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Knitting Factory, and Barclays. Has it helped watching your hometown become this amazing location for growing artists?

Zula: Barclays Center doesn’t help growing artists in the slightest. The arena is part of an influx of new development in Brooklyn that displaces local culture with a more generic passive luxury experience. But those other spots are great – Knitting Factory, BK Bowl and Music Hall of Williamsburg are well-run venues that put on awesome shows. They’re a hugely important part of keeping Williamsburg a music destination. The thriving scene of artists here who are trying to push boundaries and experiment – you’re likely to find those acts performing at independent venues like Silent Barn, Shea Stadium, and Death By Audio. While I think that New York is an amazing place to play music now, bands here live with the romance of the city’s past – the sense of an explosion of cutting edge sound, and of intense artistic intimacy that this city had in the seventies and eighties.

There’s a dark and emotional tone lying on the surface of this album. What was your inspiration?

Zula: Many of these songs are love songs, or at least they are songs that find meaning in love, especially when things seem uncertain. This album is also colored lyrically by an impending sense of doom that our world has in 2013 due to growing inequality, social collapse, and climate change.

The album’s single, Twin Loss, sounds like it may have some influence from Radiohead. Is this something you agree with? What are some other influences?

Zula: Radiohead was formative to us as musicians, as the Beatles were. We are very interested melody lines, but we strive for the music to take on a spatial dimension as well – and that’s what brings in the influence of dance music, funk, and generally repetitive hypnotic form. We have a special place in our hearts for shuffley 1990 Manchester acid-indie-dance as well as krautrock – musical movements or moments where a psychedelic hypnotic state was offered up to the listener in a novel way.

Any last words?

Zula: We are excited to be releasing this material after a long development period. We tracked ‘Twin Loss’ over a year ago, and we learned a lot in the process – mostly about playing to the energy we create before anything gets recorded. We’ve been working up and road-testing lots new tracks since then, which is often what you’ll hear at our live shows. We try to keep things fresh. The process of discovering a space for ourselves is ongoing.

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  • Chris

    I hadn’t heard of these guys before, but if theyre from BK, I can get into it.

  • Tara F

    Totally sounds like Radiohead! Love it!



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