In Conversation with Zkeletonz

Hailing from Warwickshire, post-pop band Zkeletonz have been described by Louder Than War as having a “danceable, poppy…a very seductive groove.”  The trio released a new single ‘Don’t Be Lonely Now’ (in fact, the release was today!). We caught up with Zkeletonz to chat about the single, band formation and sound evolution. 

 

How did you come up with the band name? Was it a simple agreement on the name or did the band argue a little?

Choosing a name as an artist is such a big decision! You need something that makes a statement you 100% believe in and also represents you well with a unique personality.

Zkeletonz took a little time; we had to find our sound first. Then we visited a bar in London called Paper Dress for a long discussion and by the early morning, a few hours after midnight, we finally agreed. It signals that everyone is the same inside regardless of their race, resources or background.

We also enjoy being in a fairly exclusive club of ‘Z’ artists alongside ZZ Top and Zero 7! They need to watch out though; we’re aiming to be the biggest band at the very end of the Latin alphabet. I’d say that’s probably our main goal.

 

How was the band formed?

Ed, who produces the music and plays all of our beats and basslines live, moved into an apartment with me. In fact, we both still live together and make a lot of music at home. We had been collaborating on remixes from a distance before and meeting up in a few London nightclubs.

We recruited Will from my school because he’s an amazing musician who plays multiple instruments – violin, piano, guitar. The first gig was just a house party for friends on Halloween. It was fun, so we carried on.

 

‘Don’t Be Lonely’ is your latest single. What can you tell us about it?

We wrote it before the global quarantine, but the song’s messages suit now so well. A common theme for us is internal strength and self-empowerment because people should dance and believe in themselves! We will always be happy to help anyone out there build their confidence through funky, positive music. 

This track bursts with life and richly-layered synths. It makes fun of staying in your lane and doing as you’re told. Don’t be lonely now!

 

 

 

Who the recording process like?

Easier than usual. The vast majority, we recorded quickly. Not too many versions. What you hear on the single release is 75-85% the same as the original composition in our writing sessions, which we do down in Cornwall to get away from the city, for extra focus. Vocal harmonies took 2-3 hours at Blue Studios in Dalston, East London, with all 3 Zkeletonz critiquing and taking part. Technology today emancipates musicians from complex work, to be honest! It’s a lucky era to be creative in.

 

What is your creative process like?

Smooth because we try to cultivate an honest sound which stays close to our live gigs. We have always been a live band above everything else; it’s essential that audiences can feel a connection to our records when we play any venue. Every song takes a different journey from the initial inspiration to turning a simple scrap of an idea into real song-writing and then finally developing and refining it as a full live piece.

You have to be guided from start to finish by the idea itself and its individual spirit, that’s artistic honesty. Wearing your hearts on your sleeves as songwriters and performers too, which we believe is very important. We’re like the parents of these songs. You have to let your children express themselves a bit!

 

Do you feel there has been a progression in your song from 2016’s ‘Trouble’ to ‘Don’t Be Lonely Now’?

Wow, so much progression! Our records sound bigger and more immersive now. They’re more interesting and they have stronger dynamics. Emotionally they’ve changed less; ‘Trouble’ back in 2016 was about how I don’t really believe in passports or international borders. I think they’re just artificial man-made documents and lines on maps. I believe in shared humanity!

Since then, I’ve thought more about how some of the guilt and joy caused by my worldview plays out inside my own head and helps me relate to others, but my politics and my spirituality haven’t changed. I do feel more comfortable sharing those things in my lyrics and melodies now, so recently I’ve sung more about what I feel and things that I can directly change or control. 

 

How would you describe your music?

It’s a relentless rollercoaster ride through joy, love and hysteria with some hard, groovy beats! *laughs*

 

What do you want people to take away from the single?

You can carry on. You can change. You can express whatever needs to escape you and the things you desperately want to convey. Keep going. We’re with you and eventually, others will be too. If you haven’t found them yet, keep searching. 

 

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Aim high, we say! Drinking magnums on a riviera. Collaborating with Kanye. Touring as the support act to a hologram of David Bowie, and getting rave reviews from journalists who criticise the main event as crass and insensitive. Something crazy like that.

 

Do you have any message for our readers?

You rock. Be yourself and celebrate frequently because life’s too short.

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