PREMIERE: The Dead Zoo – ‘Mother’

Filled with buoyant guitar sounds and dream-pop beats, London-based band The Dead Zoo are set to share their debut single ‘Mother’ tomorrow on 31st July, but you can listen to it exclusively today on GIHE.

Released via Rock Noir Recordings, the track is a cover of 90s J-Pop duo PUFFY AmiYumi‘s popular single, and has been shared to help raise funds for the #saveourvenues fundraiser.

The Dead Zoo recorded and mixed ‘Mother’ whilst separated during the early days of the covid-19 lockdown period. Sung by front-woman Kaoru in her native language of Japanese, the track is a gentle “mood-lifter” with its jangly guitar sounds and sweet melodies. Kaoru and the band are keen to use this single release to raise awareness about the grass roots music venues who are currently struggling to cope under the restrictions of the covid-19 pandemic.

Kaoru explains the band’s motivations further: “Our version [of ‘Mother’] has gone down really well in our live shows to date. Without the existence of smaller venues and promoters, we would literally not have even been able to get a start. We mustn’t forget that pretty much every UK artist that we now know and love got their start in the sort of places that are now in grave peril.”

All proceeds from sales of the single on The Dead Zoo’s bandcamp page will be donated to the Save Our Venues fundraiser from The Music Venue Trust. You can also pre-save the track here.

 

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

EP Track By Track: Sit Down – ‘Nice One’

Having been blowing us away for a few years now with their immense explosive offerings, and with acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing, following their last single ‘Quarantine‘, Brighton duo Katie Oldham and Greg Burns – aka Sit Down – have now shared a brand new EP.

Having been sitting on these songs for about two years, Katie and Greg had been planning a full release of them just before the entire world went into lockdown. So, “throwing the rulebook out the window“, they’ve just decided to put it all online – no press, no campaign, no chance to play it live – name the collection Nice One (a bit of an inside joke as to how they felt when all their best laid plans fell apart), and see what happens. To help protect the live music scene in their hometown of Brighton at this time of uncertainty, the band have announced that half of proceeds from Bandcamp downloads will be donated to the Music Venues Trust crowdfunders of the beloved Brighton venues where they played their first shows.

Filled with the duo’s trademark thrashing beats and frenzied scuzz-filled hooks, Nice One offers four eerily doom-filled cacophonies that burn with a fiery passion juxtaposed with a driving, invigorating sense of fun. With the swirling gritty force of Oldham’s distinctive vocals, each track oozes a necessary raging energy, creating a perfect angst-fuelled collection for these times.

We were lucky enough to speak to Katie, who talked us through each track on the EP…

‘Told U So’
This one was so fun to make and features such an obscure sample at the start we’d be completely floored if anyone figured out what it was. Greg did such an amazing job with the production of this song, it’s so menacing and devious. Lyrically the song is based around the idea of opening night at a beautiful ornate ballroom and the story is told from the perspectives of two women, one who directed the show – “Last call now and we’re ready to go…” – and the other being the star performer – “Take me down where the world is mine, where the spotlights and diamonds shine…” For some reason in our minds we always imagined these being played by Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue, and you can kinda hear that reflected in the vocal stylings in the verses. The idea was it would be an intoxicating show that lures in rich evil predatory men, then the doors would be locked and they’re all trapped and the real show begins – “You say you want a good girl, this is what you got”. So yeah, I guess this song is about comeuppance, karmic justice and the continual mistreatment of women, through the visual language of Moulin Rogue meets Saw, haha. My favourite line is “I’m not the first and I’m not the only one but if you feel something then I got my job done.

‘Banana Split’
This is probably our most honest and autobiographical song… But also a piss-take of ourselves. Normally we bury the meaning of our songs in imagery and world-building, so it felt so funny for this song to be just a completely upfront list of mistakes that nearly led to our demise. The first verse “Picture this, two banana splits, sitting in a diner off the Route 66″ is about when we went to the US to shoot the music video for ‘Mothership’ a few years ago, and came back all gassed up thinking we’d made it. The second verse “Fast forward, internet explorers, searching for an answer but now things are getting awkward” is about when we suddenly went from getting bigger and better gigs every week to having to email everyone begging for a show. Verse 3 tells how after a string of bad gigs, we were due to play a local festival, and the moment we finished setting up and were just about to perform, we played the first note and instantly blew both the bass amp and the guitar amp simultaneously. It was the worst experience and so humiliating, and after about 30 minutes trying to figure it out with people in the crowd just watching us, we ended up just having to quickly pack up our stuff again and leave the stage. So that’s where the “Next gig, checking out the rig, a couple minutes later and we’ve busted up our shit” comes from. It felt like such a bad omen and we really thought we blew it and the band was done. But then the last verse is us questioning if we should give up or not, and that’s where the refrain “But who the fuck are we, if we’re not doing this?” comes from. It all sounds kinda heavy but for us it was like the death of ego, and learning not to take ourselves too seriously, which is why we turned all the mess into a song!

‘Promiseland’
So, you know how I said we have super complex backstories for most of our songs? This is one of the more ridiculous, haha! Years ago before we even started this band, for some reason one day we just started inventing this world; like as if we were writing a novel or creating a video game or something – over months and months, we came up with this fictional city that had history and industry and about 50 characters, who had jobs and relationships and interlinking storylines etc. I still have the document of it on my phone and when I get drunk enough I love to bust it out and bore people to death with it. But we imagined this city was out in the middle of the desert and existed in a pocket of spacetime that could only be accessed by certain people if they have the right intention. ANYWAY! Long story short, that’s what the lyrics are about – “Some people say it’s a promiseland, but most people just see the void…” and also in the chorus “And though they try, they’re never gonna find”. The sonic inspiration comes from a gig we saw in Brighton a few years ago where we saw this incredible artist supporting The Voidz. He had this incredibly industrial sound and had this infectious energy we were completely mesmerised. And lo and behold, his name was Promiseland – hahaha. We choose our moments to be subtle. 

‘Feel It’
I think this might be our only semi-serious song, and it sounds quite different to everything else we’ve put out. We actually finished this song and put it on Bandcamp in the middle of our grand aforementioned demise that’s detailed in ‘Banana Split’. We were totally lost and things had all gone to shit across the board, and it was just a bleak and scary time. But despite it all, the one that remained is how much raw power music has to heal us and bring us together. So this song is like a tribute to that special kind of magic, which is reflected in the lyrics “So move if you need it, scream until you feel it, we’re burning up our demons tonight.” I always think this would be our Pyramid Stage opener if we ever got to Glastonbury. Ooh, just the thought gives me full body goosebumps! Please stream our shit so we can get there, haha.  

 

Thanks so much to Katie for talking us through Nice One! Indeed, please do stream their shit! And in the process support local music venues. Stream on Bandcamp and Spotify