Behind the Music: Interview with Zulu

‘We’re all quite different people, so writing and recording music has shown different sides to each of us.’

Describe your music style in no more than 5 words: Upbeat, synth-led dream-pop.

Who/what influences your music?  We have a really wide range of influences as a band and all listen to quite varied music. However, there are definitely a lot of artists who we all take influence from collectively and you can hear elements of in our sound. Some of these include: Tame Impala, Mac Demarco, The War on Drugs, Moses Gunn Collective, and Shintaro Sakamoto, to name a few. A lot of inspiration for the synth definitely comes from 80’s music too. 

Who is in Zulu and what does each member bring to the sound? We’re a five-piece consisting of Fred Greaves (Vocals), Harry Mackenzie (Guitar), Harry McKenzie (Guitar/Synth), Matt Mcloughlin (Bass), and Daniel Langley (Drums). The two Harry’s write the bulk of the music, whilst Fred writes all the lyrics.

How did the name Zulu come about? To be honest, we just liked the name at the time. We were about 14! It is the one thing that has stuck with us from the start, and whilst we have changed in almost every other way, the name has remained constant.

What does a Zulu recording session look like? Initially, we decide which instruments and tones translate best onto the recording by trying lots of drums/cymbals/guitars/pedals out until we’re happy with the sound. Then after that it’s a pretty standard process of recording the song. Once everything is recorded, we mix the song and run the track through a tape machine during the mastering process to blend the sounds together nicely for the final version of the track.

What is the most random fact about Zulu that not many people would know? Aside from having two Harry’s in the band, both of whom share the same surname (although spelt slightly differently); we originally practiced in a shed belonging to a local church who we paid a fiver to use every week.

Who else is involved in the creation of your tracks? Aside from the band, we have quite a few people involved in different aspects of the music. Most notably would probably be Danny Woodward, one of the recording engineers at Whitewood Studio, who recorded ‘How to Love’ for us; as well as our mate Kyle, who recorded the promotional videos for the song.

‘In a perfect situation being able to express yourself would come with success.’

What has working in a band taught you about yourselves? We’re all quite different people, so writing and recording music has shown different sides to each of us. However, collectively I think we are all quite patient people. It has taken time for us to refine our sound, and patience was needed quite a lot.

’How to Love’ sounds beautifully accomplished – especially for a debut track. How does it feel to have it out there for all to hear? Nice one! We’ve been waiting for a long time now to put music out so to finally get our debut single out and have a positive reception was a big relief. However, we are definitely focusing our thoughts on the near future now and looking forward to getting much more music out.

Do you prefer performing live or recording in a studio? We all enjoy the excitement of gigging, and the opportunity it gives us to play to a new audience who wouldn’t have otherwise heard of us. However, I think it’s more important to us at this point to actually create music that people are going to continue to listen to and enjoy over time. That perhaps is the most rewarding thing that we could eventually achieve.

What has been your most memorable moment as a band to date? Well ‘How to Love’, got played before the match at Anfield yesterday! It was pretty cool even though unfortunately none of us actually made the match. That aside, we’re all heavily anticipating playing the O2 Academy in a couple of weeks’ time, supporting Monks – that’ll be a pretty big night for us. 

What are your musical plans for 2020? We’re planning our next release for sometime early in the year, which will be another single; and then after that, our main aim is to get an EP out and build a bigger fan base around the country and hopefully get some bigger gigs and shows in other cities.

When you’re not writing, recording or performing, what do you listen to? As mentioned before, we all have quite widely varying tastes. For example Matt has been getting very into Jazz recently, whilst Harry listens to a lot of shoegaze bands and Dan listens to a lot of 70’s/80’s style Japanese music. In general though, we’re all into a lot of dream-pop and psychedelic music; and we all enjoy listening to/going to see other Liverpool bands, most notably Monks, Shards, Cascaders and Samurai Kip.

‘Gig as much as you can and build plenty of live experience.’

What is more important: writing a successful track or having the chance to express yourself? In a perfect situation being able to express yourself would come with success. However, how relatable you are whilst expressing yourself depends on the success that you achieve. So, to answer the question, it is more important to be successful and to attract an audience, maintaining your integrity and individuality. 

And finally… What are your three pieces of advice to others taking their first steps into the music industry? The only thing we would say is when starting out just try and gig as much as you can and build plenty of live experience. To be honest, we’re probably not really the right band to be asking as we have only just put out our debut single ourselves! 

Thanks Zulu for chatting with Listen to Discover

Follow Zulu on: Facebook and Instagram
Listen to Zulu on: Spotify
Find out more about Zulu on: Track Review: Zulu: How to Love

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