2012 Artist Survey: Zulu Winter
Will Daunt, Dom Millard, and Henry Walton Reflect on the Last Year
Feb 11, 2013
For Under the Radar's 10th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2012.
Pick up the print version of the Best of 2012 issue to read responses from the following artists: Alt-J, Fred Armisen, Bear in Heaven, Camera Obscura, Chad Valley, Charli XCX, Choir of Young Believers, Clinic, CSS, Dan Deacon, Desaparecidos, Django Django, Efterklang, Egyptian Hip Hop, El Perro Del Mar, Grimes, Halls, Richard Hawley, Hercules and Love Affair, Ladytron, Liars, Lord Huron, Lower Dens, Mount Eerie, My Morning Jacket, The Mynabirds, The New Pornographers, of Montreal, Peaking Lights, Porcelain Raft, Laetitia Sadier, Tame Impala, and Tegan and Sara.
Then download the digital version of the Best of 2012 issue to read all those surveys, as well as bonus responses from the following artists: !!!, Clare and the Reasons, Codeine, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Esben and the Witch, The Fresh & Onlys, Get People, Islands, Kwes, Lost in the Trees, NZCA/LINES, OFF!, Plants and Animals, Still Corners, Violens, Xiu Xiu, Young Dreams, and Zambri.
We are also posting additional web-exclusive artist survey interviews to the website. Here are responses from Zulu Winter.
Top 10 Albums of 2012
1. Tame Impala: Lonerism-Aside from the production being incredible, what struck me most about this record was the odd melancholy of the lyrics: they speak of appreciating being alone, but are also aware of the sadness that solitude brings. It's a brilliant, psychedelic, contradictory listen.
2. Bobby Womack: The Bravest Man in the Universe-This is a beautiful album. The combination of Damon Albarn's dubstep-esque production and arrangement with Bobby Womack's classic soul voice gives the record a beautifully timeless quality.
3. Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas-I couldn't believe how good this was when I first heard it. It reminded me of how brilliant the later Jonny Cash records done with Rick Rubin were.
4. Four Tet: Pink-We've been a fan of Kieran Hebden for a while. He makes dance music with humanity and a sense of the organic; a difficult feat.
5. Spiritualized: Sweet Heart Sweet Light: although this doesn't quite live up to the seminal Ladies & Gentleman record, it has that unique balance of fragility and rock that only Jason Pierce can master.
6. Roy and the Devil's Motorcycle Club: Tell it to the People-True psychedelic blues from the Swiss brothers, whose guitar playing has no parallel these days. We've never understood why these guys aren't bigger, although they're on tour with Spiritualized at the moment.
7. Dan Deacon: America-Beautiful and immaculately produced electronica.
8. Alt-J: An Awesome Wave-We played with these guys quite a bit earlier in the year, and loved their sense of space and rhythm right from the off: they fully deserved the Mercury [Prize]. Also, the keyboardist Gus and I have been battling on iPhone Scrabble for most of this year. I lost a game yesterday.
9. Django Django: Django Django-This record was a wonderfully modern take on psychedelia.
10. Tripwires: Spacehopper-As yet unreleased, but due out on Frenchkiss later in the year. This a beautiful guitar record, with traces of Ride, Spiritualized, and early Radiohead.
What was the highlight of 2012 for either you personally or for the band?
Will: Playing in Mexico was amazing for us, but on a personal note, two of us got engaged. It's been an eventful year for sure.
What was the low point of 2012 for you?
Will: Missing our family and friends has been tough throughout the year.
What are your hopes and plans for 2013?
Will: Writing another record is all we want to do in the first half of 2013, then back on tour.
To what extent did the poor world economy affect your ability to make a reasonable living as an artist in 2012?
Will: I'm not sure the poor world economy has made that much difference; it's always been hard earning a living out of music.
What are your thoughts on the 2012 U.S. presidential election?
Will: I'm no expert on U.S. politics, but as far I can tell: if Obama had lost, the world would have been exposed to some pretty far-out political ideas.
Steve Albini criticized Amanda Palmer for recruiting musicians to play in her backing band for free. Was he right to do this and was Palmer right to change her mind and pay her musicians?
Will: I think the answer to that question lies in the fact that she decided to pay her musicians following the criticism. If she was doing nothing wrong, she would have stuck to her guns.
What pop culture phenomenon from 2012 would you most like to erase from your memory?
Henry Walton: Trolling. It needs to disappear quickly.
Were you affected by Hurricane Sandy? Do you think that climate change was partly responsible for the hurricane?
Henry: We have friends in New York who we were a little worried for—they're all fine. The experts say that climate change and extreme weather are linked, so you could say it's partly responsible. It's definitely something that needs to be taken more seriously. The weather will most likely be the end of us, so perhaps we should pay a little more attention to the things that have an effect on it.
Tell us about the most memorable fan encounter you had this year.
Henry: We played a show in Mexico and a fan throw us a flag tied up with a rubber band. They had drawn our logo on it and wrote "Never Leave Mexico." "Never leave" is a song title. Very cool of them. It's now up in our rehearsal room.
What were some of the rejected names for your band?
Henry: The Prawns was the main contender. We were going to call our debut "Prawn In the USA." Still think we should have.
Tell us about your first kiss.
Henry: Mmmm... I can't really remember it. I think it was from a girl called Stephanie when I was about 6. I think I ate a worm to impress her, but then got a love note from her and a cheeky kiss, so obviously the worm eating worked.
Would you survive a zombie apocalypse? Explain.
Henry: Yes. I've given this a lot of thought over the years, so I feel pretty confident. I've also watched a lot of zombie films and they should be quite easy to avoid, as they're so slow. The only real problem is numbers.
What artist or band deserves far more acclaim than what he/she/they are currently receiving?
Dom Millard: Braids. We played a few shows with them early in the year and from the moment I watched their soundcheck, I was hooked.
What most scares you about getting old?
Dom: Old people.
Which song, other than one of your own, most tends to get stuck in your head?
Dom: "When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman" by Dr. Hook.