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….
firstname.lastname@example.org for all enquiries….