Words By: Erin Puccinelli
Where are you right now?
I’m at home watering my garden and trying to make sure my cat doesn’t jump over the fence. I’ve got a bit of a jungle in a small courtyard, which is my pride and joy, besides NOZU obviously. Both are very similar, got to keep them well hydrated.
A lot has happened since your February full-length release ‘Afterlife’, what have been some of the highlights?
It’d be hard not to say Europe. We went there after a really fun and exciting Australian tour. There are so many highlights; it was a really crazy time of the year for us. When we released our first full length record in 2012 it was all very DIY and very grass roots and we had to organise a tour ourselves and went around to a bunch of places in Australia. But after Afterlife, we kind of did things on a bigger scale and it was pretty overwhelming so we had to have a bit of a break after coming back so we did a single show in Tassie then chilled out for a while, so that’s what we’ve been doing before we head out again.
In Australia, it was definitely playing a show in our hometown of Melbourne, and that was a sold out crazy show with more people we’ve had at a Melbourne show and it just felt like a lot of love in the room with people who get us and get our weirdness.
Themes of astrology and astronomy are really prominent in ‘afterlife’. How did that come about?
It’s one of many things happening on that record. I guess myself, being the lyric writer and the person who comes up with the aesthetics and concepts behind the record, it’s just a metaphor for any kind of belief systems, which has kind of become and obsession with the NO ZU project and with me. Just kind of exploring superstitions, human rituals and also the existential context of human history. It suits the music because it’s quite a hallucination or a trance with spiritualism. It’s all quite natural.
Last time you where in Perth, I caught your show at Mojos in Fremantle. This is still my favourite show I’ve seen there not just because everyone was dancing their hearts out and sweating enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool, but because of how small the venue is and how big your band is and the energy that was feeding between the two. What’s the best part about being in an eight piece comparatively to making music on your own?
NO ZU is both of those things. In the creation process, sometimes its just me, sometimes it’s a few of us, but the full 8 piece thing is crazy when I think about it. It’s just like an out of control monster with so much energy. And it’s hopefully the same as how the crowd feels. When you’ve got so many people on the same page, and just trying to lose themselves in the music and connect with each other in the crowd, you can’t help but feel a really heightened experience which is just unlike anything else in day to day life. It’s sort of like a crazy dream for me because you can’t get that same kind of energy with a smaller group and it reflects NOZU’s philosophy of wanting to be inclusive and have as many heightened vibes around us as possible.
It was never a deliberate thing (to have so many people) but it was just like “man getting some saxophone in there would be great” or getting some extra vocals would be great, so we get another person and so on.
What’s your favourite thing about Western Australia?
I think we’ve only played in Perth once, but we’ve played Camp Doogs too so I can probably speak more about rural Australia than Perth. I felt a real sense of openness at Camp Doogs, which is one of our favourite festivals we’ve ever played. The NOZU/ Western Australia relationship is defiantly hot and steamy. It amazes me that we can travel that far and be greeted with such openness. All of our shows in Australia or internationally have been ones who are very open. We had that in Mexico, Manchester, Rennes, and Perth has been that same vibe which is cool because it speaks to a common human trait, like getting themselves get lost in the sweat and the ‘Heat Beat’ as we like to call it.
What can we expect from your shows in Perth and Fremantle in November?
You can expect our relationship to develop further with you guys. When we did Babushka, Mojos and Doogs, that was a really good first date, and I feel like we are ready to move onto the next stage. It’s definitely going to be a bit deeper, and we’ve got a couple new members in the group and a more unique vibe. Our new drummer and bass player are going to be temporary so its going to be a short lived era and well be making the most of our time there. So prepare to hear some interesting Heat Beat vibes we will be pushing as far as we can.
Lastly, What are NO ZU’s plans for 2017?
We have a couple of shows booked already, but the biggest thing would be getting out third album out. We’ll defiantly be looking to do an extensive tour of Australia and coming back to Western Australia, and probably go to Europe again. We’ve got a very exciting release coming at the start of the year, which I cant say too much about, but it features one of our favourite bands and one of the biggest NO ZU inspirations doing a re-recording of one of our afterlife tracks. It’s going to come out on a 12”, which is really exciting, but our main focus is on the third record and pushing things into deeper and darker territories and building on what ‘Afterlife’ was.
You can catch NO ZU at Jack Rabbit Slims on the 5th of November, or playing Fremantle Festival on the 6th of November at Kings Square.