Indie rock’s dead? Not quite. Oxfordshire newcomers Zulu Winter might only have formed at the beginning of last year, but they’ve already released their anthemic debut Language, packed with shimmering sound-of-summer tracks. They’ve even inspired a Fuck Yeah, Zulu Winter tumblr (Ryan Gosling, who?). Wonderland chats to Zulu bassist Iain Lock about bra-throwing fans, music video princesses and life as the newly-dubbed Vaccines…
First off – what’s with the name?
We were just knocking words together! We had an idea about being called Nine Winters, because we’ve essentially known each other for ten years. But then we thought it was a bit depressing. By that time, we’d gone through so many names that had been vetoed we were tired of the whole process. We were tentatively called The Prawns – that was a particularly bad one.
So how did Zulu Winter get started?
I met Guy, the drummer, when I was 16 at a drum ‘n’ bass rave at the Millenium Dome at New Year’s Eve. The rest of the guys all went to school together and a couple of years later, Guy said, “Ian, do you want to start jamming together?” About two years ago, we decided to form Zulu Winter and start doing it properly.
I heard that the band actually recorded an entire album before you even started performing together – is that true?
Yeah, we locked ourselves away in studios for the best part of two years and decided to get everything in place before telling anyone about it. I think if you release a song and there’s hype around it, people want you to follow up with something. If you haven’t got anything there, then you’re old news. Unfortunately, the attention span of the public and the industry is about 30 seconds.
Weren’t you worried that nobody would like it?
There was that fear at first. But even if nobody likes it, you’re still in the exactly the same position you were when you didn’t put anything out. It was something we wanted to do and we’re extremely proud of the album. That’s why it’s so good that the album’s coming out and we’ve got so many shows, primarily to show our nearest and dearest what the hell we’ve been doing for the last two years!
Speaking of live shows, what’s this we hear about fans chucking underwear at you?
Someone did launch a bra onstage at Camp! I don’t know whose it was. Hopefully that means someone likes us. I suppose it depends on the state of the underwear – if it’s £400 lingerie, that must mean you’re a great band. But if you get chucked some stained boxer shorts…
The band’s been likened to Wild Beasts and The Vaccines – The Guardian even called you “post-Coldplay”. How do you feel about those comparisons?
I’m not sure who we sound like. We’ve been told we sound like some 80s bands, bands that we’ve never even listened to before. We’ve got the same management as The Vaccines, but the person who compared us to them has either never listened to us or The Vaccines! We’re nothing like them.
The new video for Silver Tongue is great – how much input did you guys have with that?
Henry had been watching Vertigo quite a lot so it’s quite Hitchcock-inspired. We wanted that eerie, hyper-real sense of hallucination. It even features Henry’s sister, she’s the girl in it – she was the blonde princess in Hellboy 2, incidentally.
How would you describe your sound in five words?
Groove-based atmospheric pop – wait, good groove-based atmospheric pop. That’s five, right?
Zulu Winter play NXNE in Toronto on Friday.
Words: Zing Tsjeng