Zombelle was nice enough to give us some insight into her music, and the L.A. scene. You can hear a few of Zombelle’s tracks below the interview. Look for an upcoming compilation featuring Zombelle that will be available for download from the site. Zombelle will play on Feb. 21st at the Show Cave, see flyer below.
s.o.t.r: Who are some of your influences musically?
Zombelle: There are definitely different levels of influence. On a production level: I am absolutely obsessed with girl group production and as a producer, Phil Spector has been a huge aural muse. Creating a wall of sounds is what I’m after. It actually comes first. Before a song is written I know exactly how I’ll want to produce it. Lots of smooth, warm reverberations. On a lyrical level: Robert Wyatt and Leonard Cohen have been heavily influencing me for years. Robert is a delicate creature with a very human message while Leonard is greatly rooted in romance. Both of these are topics I find myself coming back to. Human compassion, liberation, understanding, the spiritual self and an all powerful love. On a performance level: Yoko Ono, The White Widow, Gary Wilson, Tina Turner or anyone else who reaches inside to pull out another side of themselves.
s.o.t.r: How do you survive as an artist in L.A.?
Zombelle: The multi-verse theory applies to Los Angeles in this way; If you want it, you can find it. If you can’t find it, you can make it happen. Even for artists who are just starting out, it’s very easy to find your niche and run with it. There’s no fear or contempt when you’re following your heart. I survive by doing what makes me most fulfilled at any given moment.
s.o.t.r:I hear experimental aspects to your music mixed with a more structured sound, do you find it essential to be able to explore these two sides when making and performing music?
Zombelle:Most definitely. Obviously, these are very simple pop songs. But, when you add the element of disruption over and under you create another realm of sound. Most of the noises in the recordings are warm manipulations of random vocals. The idea is very vocal, actually. 40+ vocal tracks to each song, lots of little manipulations and one guitar track with maybe an oscillator or heart beat rhythm tom drum. The process is very minimal, but the ultimate goal is to create a place to hide, if only momentarily. A place to find and/or create balance.
s.o.t.r: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Zombelle: These are constantly changing but, yes. For sure. I used to freak out with horrible anxiety attacks before shows and then find myself crying after-wards. I don’t do this anymore. Before a show I try to find a quiet place to breathe and blank out. I like to be alone because I’m easily distracted. Bathrooms are great for this because the acoustics are usually pretty rad and you can warm up your voice or just sit in the dark. Smoking grass after this ritual/before stage is also a nice way to get into the groove. The vibrations of singing in themselves are a meditation so the entire thing is actually very ritualistic for me.
s.o.t.r: Do you have any musical recommendations?
Zombelle:This is like asking a dentist if he’s ever seen a cavity. I’ve been working in record shops for over 10 years now. Each time a customer asks me for a recommendation I completely blank. There are so many options! Having said that, though… I tend to lean towards the classics. Top 5 suggestions for ANY PERSON would be: The Crystals “Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound”, Bruce Haack “Electric Lucifer”, Clara Rockmore “The Art Of The Theremin”, Sand “Golem” & The Kinks ANYTHING PRE-72.
s.o.t.r: Can you name some of your favorite bands from within the L.A. scene?
Zombelle: HowardAmb, Bobb Bruno, Sun Araw, Yoga, White Widow , E&E, Carla Bozulich, Pocahaunted, Fancy Space People, 60 Watt Kid, Entrance Band. There are so many great things happening in LA right now. Venues I usually find the best entertainment are Club Ding-A-Ling, Echo Curio and Show Cave. They just have a different view on what people might want to experience. An open invitation to a fresh avenue of sound.
Zombelle: First things here, myspace.com/zombellemusic as well as myspace.com/livingtapes.
Living Tapes do cassette only releases which are limited to 100 copies. The Gurgle Beaste cassette is available in blue. It’s a fun label to be on because I’m familied in with some other great artists like Pharaohs, Ectoplasm Girls, VUM, Foot Village, Paint, Black Church and quite a few others. Most of the releases tend to be a bit moody, sometimes folky but always bizarre and unique.
As far as Gurgle Beaste as an album… Many of these songs were recorded over 4 years ago at a time when I was adapting to loneliness and finding my way emotionally. The gurgling relates to that underwater feeling that many of us have experienced at one point or another. The suffocation of the self. It’s the most frightening thing I’ve ever felt. Writing and recording those tracks got me through it and they’ve since become personal anthems to detour me from ever feeling that way again. It’s a very sarcastic emotion during performances at this day. The message I’ve gotten from myself now is that if you don’t start with yourself, you’re not be able to start anywhere else.
It’s all very personal. I’m a firm believer in the personal artist. People with dollar signs in their eyes have tried very hard to take the personal out of the artist via temptations of popularity and wealth. When I write and/or record it’s more-so a personal journey, an exorcism, if you’ll accept that. People go through their days not realizing why they feel stress or anxieties. I find that quite often it’s because they’ve not found their personal avenue for expelling their daily tensions. Some people do dishes, some people ride a bike, some folks dance and some folks sing or garden. Thinkers, dreamers and lovers alike. We as a people should support one another in finding that personal creative freedom rather than stifling it. Our own communities would benefit from that greatly. Just think of what it would become if we were all able to relax at the end of the day with a sense of fulfillment and beauty.
See Zombelle Live at the Show Cave on Feb. 21st