Interview Firas Waez
Photography Daniel Evans
As I sat down with Zulu Winter they seemed reassuringly honest. Only forming earlier this year, they have received plaudits from the right places, and the assembled group of five friends were relaxed together, discussing their first bit of bad press. Seeing the way Will Daunt (vocals, guitar), Iain Lock (bass), Dom Millard (keyboards), Henry Walton (guitar) and Guy Henderson (drums) interact and talk, it’s clear they’re a clever bunch who bounce off each other’s different tastes and nuances. I felt like I’d walked into a flat at university and struck up conversation with a group of guys sitting around sharing a cigarette. For some reason this didn’t seem quite like an interview. They were discussing the current musical climate and the lauded-but-poisoned chalice of being called a ‘buzz band’. “Eye of the Tiger” was playing in the background as the waitress cleared up glasses in the smoky bar of their rehearsal studio in East London.
So you’re all London based?
Will: Yes we all live in London. We’re dotted around various parts everywhere from Finsbury Park to Dalston.
Henry: We’re from a mixture of the St. Albans and Oxford areas, we all went to different universities, we all met at school. We all went off to do our own things, messed around, came to London three or four years ago and started more messing about, and then Zulu Winter was born two years ago.
What music do you listen to?
Will: Beach House for one. Their sense of melody is unbeatable. We like good songs. We’re not so fussed what it is. I think we as a people have hit that stage. Caribou are a favourite at the minute. That was definitely a highlight. There’s quite a wide range of influences between us. It’s all about good music.
[Conversation then tails off to talk about Adele. The obligatory fat computer gag then rears it’s ugly head. Some of them hadn’t heard it so it was recounted again. We then get back on track.]
Will: I think taste-wise, our tastes reflect what we do in the band. Dom loves stuff with very interesting sounds in it, Henry likes guitars, Ian likes bass and beats, Guy likes beats and I like songs. I like writing songs.
Everyone has certainly broadened their horizons in the last ten years.
Iain: It’s an interesting one because if you were to ask someone what music they liked, it’d be strange to hear someone come out with one specific area of music. Bands are listening to electronic artists, and vice versa. It’s really healthy.
Is it really positive though? Because everything is so easily available you don’t have to make the effort to go get it anymore.
Henry: When it was hard to find, you had to maybe wait for a record store, make a journey. Also if someone told you a band to check out, there’d be a journey to get there. It’s the physicality. We’re guilty of it like anyone.
There’s a lot of noise nowadays. Stuff like twitter.
Dom: Some of us do it, some of us don’t. It’s like a constant Facebook status update. It is what it is. Brian Eno was interviewed with Jeremy Paxman and he talked about a new revolution with all these apps and stuff.
Iain: There’s no need to be a Luddite. You might as well get out there and use it. There’s an interesting book we’ve read all about sound and how humans have developed with sounds and it’s exactly that, there are lots of sound as regards to Twitter and stuff but then there’s the noise thing.
You’ve got Florence streaming her gigs online now, the potential is pretty amazing.
Will: People are catching up still. It’s like being a kid and being given loads of toys. When the dust settles it’ll be interesting. It’ll take a while for people to get their heads round it.
So how are you finding the gigs?
Henry: Well we’ve only played a few. To some students at a university. We played a load of songs and it was great. We did a show in Manchester and that was cool. London is always nice to play.
London is always noisy, a tough cookie for bands sometimes because we’re exposed to so much noise it maybe takes the dynamism away.
Will: You know when you have a crowd and whether they’re listening. If you feel their main focus it’s a good thing.
How is it looking release wise?
Dom: We’re working with Double Denim on our debut release. They are an amazing label and we’re really excited to release something with them.
And what next?
Will: A trip to Europe. Lots of nights in a van, driving, being cooped up. Getting out and playing. Loads of gigs in November, Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the UK. I think we’re going to settle down in December and get the record finished. It’s the most important thing for us at the minute. It’s nice to pay attention, it’s great to have the attention right now but we don’t really feel like we’re really there yet so it’s important. We’re hoping to have it done by the end of the year. It’ll be a nice thing to have it finished – we can play some shows next year and get the album out mid-next year. You get trapped in London. It’s a bubble sometimes so it’ll be good for it all to stop soon and we can have some time to go and focus.