Tagged With ‘Melbourne’

Welcome to Zanzibar Chanel….

Australian imports are at an all time high around  The Pool HQ. We’ve fallen for the bright and breezy aural tapestries of Andras Fox and have become sold on the lithe dance gymnastics of Bell Towers. Now we’ve found ourselves getting in full lather over the fierce and funky output of Melbourne’s own Zanzibar Chanel. To explain the ZC aesthetic would require one to consider watching a cross pollination between Ru Paul and William Onyeabor, or maybe think to think of a show that dabbles in the transgressive stage antics of GG Allin with a Jump Street bounce.

Their record label Ruff Records was touted by Dazed Digital as one of their 10 labels to push things forward whilst the guys managed to inject Boiler Room with a unique sense of the sublime and the absurd that can be viewed on their infamous performance in 2013. Part Sid Vicious, part Sandy Ninja the guys can be described almost continually it seems with neat juxtapositions.

However as is always the case it’s best for The Pool to stop its yacking and get the guys to tell all in one of our question and answer sessions…

Before we dive in to that we thought it would be nice for us to share some of ZC’s top moments from the web…

We kick off with a rolling slab of piano drenched house that chops you harder than a ruffled Chuck Norris. The video features the guys getting intimate with their instruments….

Nice live piece conducted for Wunce magazine, it’s hot and wet don’t forget…

The infamous Boiler Room…


1. Hi Zac! Welcome to The Pool. To the uninitiated bystander tell us what Zanzibar Chanel is currently?

Two Australians making tracks in a grandma house by the side of a highway…

2. And what was Zanzibar Chanel when it started? Has there been any movement away from this?

An outlet for suburban boredom and the frustration of being trapped at the end of the earth. I think if it had been a different decade we would have been a punk band, but we already had synths, an MPC and were obsessed with house. Melbourne is renowned for being a place where people are painfully self aware, pretentious and stand still at gigs.. but the club scene was the one place that seemed a bit more free and expressive. it also happened that there were some really amazing DJs and producers using the club platform to push interesting stuff, it felt exciting, vibrant and open to participation.

We started making simple beats with the same sense of urgency as a garage band, making 4 tracks in one sitting and performing them at art galleries and our friends parties. I would scream at the crowd to dance and not give a fuck, and they would… the more i screamed the more everyone would go crazy, even those who thought it absurd to have a fat person in drag screaming over funky tracks would eventually let loose and join in. dance is a pretty powerful tool of freedom and expression, it can break down social boundaries and create an inclusive space for people to engage with each other physically and spiritually….

Nothing much has changed, although the music has gone way further and reached way more people than we ever thought it would, we thought we were just making music for our friends and for our city.. we never thought anyone in the rest of the world would even hear it!

3. The production aesthetic of ZC- talk us through it. We’re feeling it’s one take machine music with keys and knobs…..

Yeh,  its about distilling melody and vibe into something thats tangible and not washed out with bullshit effects. We are just trying to create something unique and interesting with the tools we have, which are mostly crappy digital synths, keyboards and an MPC. its all about pressing the buttons and seeing what happens, feeling the vibe and being too lazy to over-do it…

4. Maybe this was a tongue in cheek reference but in a previous interview ZC mentioned GG Allin as a source of inspiration? Does ZC take inspiration from Mr Allin’s raw and visceral performances? Can we expect dung and fighting at ZC gigs?

Haha!! The only thing i like about GG Allin is that he had a micro-penis and still got naked on stage (see any live video for proof)… I’m into poo, but not into violence….

5. Aside from this can you pick out some other sources of inspiration for us?

for Luis i would say weed is the main inspiration.. for me its more about a vibe than any specific reference points, when there is a certain energy or feeling I want to create something and attempt to articulate it..

6. Zac we saw that you spent some time in Europe this year. What did you get up to in this time?

Yeh! i was trying to get into this European art academy but i didn’t get in! so i just spent alot of time reflecting and chilling.. I played some shows towards the end of the trip which were great, with my German pal Arthur Rieger filling in for Luis… It was pretty important for me to get some perspective on Australia and what is happening here creatively. It made me realise what rich creative communities we have and how great it is to be so far away from everything, its a really intense cultural microcosm… Looking forward to getting back to Europe and showing the world what we got!!

7. We’ve really loved both of the ZC EP’s released thus far and the recent remix on UTU was rather fine. Tell us what more we can expect from ZC in the future?

I’m running a record label called RUFF RECORDS, which has just had its 4th release and will be continuing with plenty of unheard Australian stuff and collaborations/ spin-offs of Zanzibar (of which there are many)… we also have a concept LP in the works called ‘Australian Graffiti’, an homage to this great photography book by Rennie Ellis… And a bunch of stuff that has yet to be properly released, which will hopefully make it out this year! so lots to look forward too…


So there it is….We are happy to announce that the guys will be touring Europe in April….

thomas@thepool-london.com for all enquiries….


Press, Zanzibar Chanel

New Roster Addition – ANDRAS FOX

To start off 2014 we’re adding more rising talent to the roster. First up we welcome hotshot Australian producer &  DJ ANDRAS FOX to The Pool roster.

Andras drops us an absolutely killer mix and took time out to chat to us about what he’s upto right now..

– How was your New Year? The Animals Dancing line up looked pretty special. Did you play at that one?

I played some records before Jonny Nash which was a pleasure. Susan Kraft played a really excellent set after that and Lovefingers spent the day monkeying with the tempo slider whilst peopleʼs backs were turned. With niche music scenes like this, itʼs always humbling when you get to meet people youʼve dealt with online for a long time.

– We enjoyed The Embassy Cafe Lp. Can you tell us more about the Vocalist you worked with, super soulful, we love it. Are there more works with Oscar in the pipeline? and any chance of a future live show?

Oscar Key Sung moved into a warehouse I was living / working from in West Melbourne, and we naturally gravitated towards studio / table tennis sessions together. Oscar has a lot of dramas with the ladies, which is great songwriting material. We laid down the cassette demos and didnʼt think much more about it until it was ready for release. We play live on the odd occasion together, and weʼve got a couple festival shows coming up in 2014.

– Do you have any releases forthcoming?

Thereʼs a follow up LP to Embassy Cafe called Cafe Romantica. You can probably see a theme developing. Itʼs pretty much ready par a few vocal re-takes, and will be out during the first half of 2014. Iʼm also working on a couple solo releases, which are taking a new-age / modern soul kind of direction.

– Did the Red Bull Music Academy participation in 2010 play a big part in your maturation as an artist?

I was very green when I went over to London. All the staff, lecturers and participants are some of the best people you could ever meet. Of course, I learned about studio techniques and gear and technical stuff, but itʼs mainly a “life lessons” kind of place. I met long-term partner and collaborator Sui Zhen at the Academy, so at the very least I got some romance out of it.

– Are you beginning to rely upon samples less as you develop or does it vary between productions?

My last few records are completely sample free. I still respect the raw, repetitive sampling of people like Ras G and certain ghetto house producers. But for me, thereʼs no point in sampling Black American soul records – itʼs not from my own culture, itʼs not something that makes sense with my own identity. I might return to some Australian themed edits, and work with licensed material for a few re-issue labels in the future, but iʼm going to keep playing my instruments for now.

– The Australian scene, especially in Melbourne seems to be very healthy at the moment. How does it feel down there, is it a good time for home grown talent, or do you feel Australia has always produced some great stuff?

Itʼs a good time for home grown talent, and itʼs fantastic to see friends and collaborators doing well overseas. Weʼre at the end of the earth, so I guess things will always have their own flavor down under. Only recently have I started to dig deeper in the Melbourne musical past – and there are some truly mental records from back in the day – see the Asphyxiation LP “What is this thing called Disco” for a good example.

– On the Australian scene of old… have you ever come across a band called Tully?page1image30160

Yes – I first fell in love with their soundtrack to the surf film Sea of Joy. So refreshing to hear a surf soundtrack thatʼs full of percussion, repetition and eastern influences rather than screeching guitars. Richard Lockwoodʼs solo home studio demos are pretty deep too.

– We listen to your radio show in the office, tell us your musical ethos when presenting / playing tunes if you have one? Congrats on the show by the way some great stuff!

Iʼm interested in “world music” in a kind of backwards sense: most “world” music attempts to incorporate an eastern, orientalist sounding solo with a banal trip-hop backbeat. Itʼs too literally ethnic. Iʼm like non-western interpretations of western music – the Ghanian dudes with $10 worth of equipment trying to imitate Michael Jackson. The Soviet Era synth disco experiments. Itʼs a confused meeting point of world travel, record collecting and Australiana. There are some great radio shows out there that already have the guest mixes covered (see: NoiseInMyHead) so iʼm just doing my personal thing. I do the show live every Sunday from the RRR studios, so I try to keep in mind the average bloke driving along in a ute, as well as the nerdy record collectors overseas, etc.

– Can you tell us a bit about the mix you recorded for us? (Sounds like summer time to me)

I tried to give you an honest impression of my dance-orientated sets. A mix of familiar chicago sounds alongside some Japanese, Australian and Indian moments.Thereʼs a bit of a PPU flavor too, I really respect their output (both past / contemporary).

– Do you eat Vegemite?

Truthfully, thereʼs nothing I crave after a big night out more than fresh bread, butter and Vegemite. Itʼs made from leftover brewerʼs yeast, which is kind of appropriate too.

– What would be your ideal pool party? ( Guest Dj, Grill Chef, Cocktail Waiter)

Basso, a record dealer of sorts would be playing records – i think last year he even made up a new DJ name “The Breeze” specifically for his cocktail-by-the-pool mixtapes.

On the grill would be Anthony Bourdain – he knows how to cook (and enjoy) good, simple food – turning a few charred fennel prawns or some grape molasses quail.

Lastly my Dad would be serving drinks because he wouldnʼt understand a request for anything but water, beer or whiskey.

Andras will be touring Europe/UK – April 2014.  contact : rob@thepool-london.com


Greg Wilson