As we enter the twilight months of 2011, our eyes naturally turn to the bright hopes we have for its successor, and the music that will be its soundtrack. Zulu Winter is one band that will have a firm place in our 2012 OST. The London-based five-piece are purveyors of an atmospheric pop that hints at an afro-beat –giving an idiosyncratic spin on a much tried formula. We spoke to singer, Will Daunt, just before the band was to leave to support Givers on tour, to find out about the band, its influences and when the debut album is due.
Dazed Digital: When did you start the band?
Will Daunt: We formed the band just over a year ago: locked ourselves away and basically wrote an album and purposefully stopped playing any shows until we were absolutely ready. Then we started playing live in June. We’ve all played together for a lot longer than that but it was only about a year or so ago that we decided to start taking it seriously.
DD: So you started writing straight away?
Will Daunt: Yeah we were playing together beforehand, but not really taking it seriously and thought that if we’re going to do this then we want to do it properly. We stopped playing shows as the other band and started writing in a different style.
DD: How big a change was it?
Will Daunt: Quite a big change. I think it’s very easy if you’re in a band to just do it and not think about what you’re doing. There are enough venues in London or around the country to be able to get gigs but we really wanted to take some time out and consolidate our objectives and look at our identity and work out what we wanted to do. We had to be as true to the five of us as we could be, without anyone telling us what was good or bad. Just completely removed from any outside influences.
DD: How would you describe the band?
Will Daunt: I’d like to think that we write interesting, slightly atmospheric, pop songs. The song itself is definitely paramount for us, we want to write records that have a good melody and pop sensibilities but simultaneously have something which has enough depth and character to appeal to people who are interested in sonic soundscapes, atmospheres and strange sounds. Essentially we want to tread the line between the two.
DD: Would you say that you’re influenced by anyone?
Will Daunt: All five of us are into quite different music but the most obvious one that we all have in common is Portishead. We’re more guitar-based than they are but their love of mood and atmosphere is something that we definitely share. We all love the Caribou record, again, I wouldn’t say that we sounded anything like it but it does share some common ground, it’s danceable but quite melancholic at the same time.
DD: What’s the story behind your name?
Will Daunt: I wish I could tell you an interesting story about a confused African who thought it was winter but it’s nothing like that! Within about eight months into our writing we were just bouncing words off each other and that’s how it came up.
DD: Have you written the album completely?
Will Daunt: It’s about 75 per cent complete. I think we’ve got one or two songs to write and whether they’re B-sides or go on the record we’re not sure. But we want to have a good selection of songs and we’re looking to release our debut in April next year.
Watch the video for debut single ‘Never Leave’ HERE