9:30 Club presents at U Street Music Hall:
Tuesday Oct 24
7:00 pmU Street Music Hall
Since the release of their debut EP in 2014, Yumi Zouma’s evolution has been brisk and organic ‐ a shoreline reflecting the changing tides of its ocean. The band sold‐out their first EP twice‐over before itsrelease and before having ever played live, but each member’s disparate living arrangements meant that live shows or even further releases were unexpected. Having grown up together in Christchurch, New Zealand, they scattered after school, moving to Auckland, Paris and New York, collaborating over email to create Yumi Zouma’s initial material. However, the intense reception to these early tracks resulted in the group’s first practices taking place on arena stages, asthey were asked on tour by both Chet Faker and Lorde.
2015 saw the launch of their EP II, alongside multiple tours of Europe, North America, Australia and Asia, before a deluxe EP Collection 12” was released at the end of the year. These dizzying days on the road finally enabled the band to write together in the same place at the same time, and during a three‐week pause in Paris, they set to work on their debut album. Where the previous EPs were created in isolation, capturing the nuances of each member’s life half a world away, the new material was given a singular voice. After a week of mixing in Philippe Zdar’s Motorbass studio, the self‐recorded‐and‐produced Yoncalla was born.
“Yumi Zouma has always been an exercise in refining ideas and collaborating,” reflects guitarist Charlie Ryder, “but this wasthe first time we weren’t limited or protected by distance. With Yoncalla, the process was different, and it can be scary to present raw ideas to your friends ‐ but it’s also incredible to see songs evolve through the sparks of inspiration that bounce between people in the same room.” That intimacy is apparent on Yoncalla ‐ an album about being close to people, rather than miles apart. Yumi Zouma’s effortless waves of harmony have been redefined and the creative process laid bare to expose an act more unguarded and interconnected than ever before. To capture that concept, New Zealand visual artist Henrietta Harris was tapped to create the cover art, illustrating the band together on a front cover for the first time. Each member’s portrait is hand‐drawn, but without the individual characteristics that previously separated them.
Yoncalla is out 27 May 2016 via Cascine, Spunk Records in Australia and Rallye in Japan. Yumi Zouma are Sam Perry, Christie Simpson, Josh Burgess and Charlie Ryder.
“I’ve always believed in the idea that if you visualize or summon something, it will come true,” explains She-Devils vocalist Audrey Ann Boucher.
Alongside her friend and bandmate Kyle Jukka, she has summoned ‘She-Devils’: a channel through which Audrey Ann and Kyle explore the sensory world, actualize aesthetic fantasies and alchemize pieces of history into entirely new sensations.
Through primitive electronic gear, hypnotist vocals, and an “amusement park of sounds”, the duo’s album constructs a fun-house world of beautiful chaos. The music is built from original sonics inspired by everything from Iggy Pop to Madonna to T-Rex to Can, as well as the romantic longing of ‘60s yé-yé.
The pair met four years ago while living at a music rehearsal space in the Mile-Ex neighbourhood of Montreal. “We were like wild animals, kind of fearful and just surviving,” recalls Kyle, “But we had certain obsessions and needed to build something out of them, to transcend our lives and express our visions and inspirations.” In this state, Kyle and Audrey formed a friendship based on a love of the dreamy and the beautiful. “She-Devils is a ship we built to sail us away to a better place,” says Audrey.
The band played gigs for about eight months though they did not record right away. Making music together meant following their own rules and taking things one step at a time. “I never sang before starting She-Devils,” says Audrey. “I have to learn just by doing it, through intuition. I learned vocal warm-ups I found online so I could train the reflexes of my body, since it’s kind of like training my body’s ability to respond to intuition.” Following instinct is a crucial part of She-Devils’ identity.
Striving to make music that feels “as visual as possible,” the band hopes to strap listeners into a rollercoaster ride “with Audrey’s voice as the centrepiece to cling to.” The duo are inspired by the cinema and art of Gregg Araki, Yayoi Kusama, Andy Warhol, John Waters and Quentin Tarantino. They direct their own videos. Audrey creates the artwork that accompanies the music. Her self-taught style evolved by watching hours of Disney movies, The Simpsons and Powerpuff Girls. “Those influences are very present in my drawings and paintings,” she says.
Audrey is also musically self-taught. In fact, she had never even played music before forming She-Devils. “I’ve always seen music from the perspective of an artist or music lover rather than that of a musician,” she explains. “When I sing over a loop, I don’t feel like I'm in control of what I do, or that I am cerebrally engaged with making music, it's more like my subconscious is completely taking over my mind and it just comes out of my dreams.”
You only have to listen to the album to understand what Audrey’s saying. Dig a little into her lyrics and this entrancing quality becomes even more palpable. “There’s a place where we can go / Right here if you let me take you in / I know that this is for real / I saw the look in your eyes,” she croons on 'Never Let Me Go,' over Kyle’s woozy, layered guitars.
Elsewhere on the album, standout tracks include ‘How Do You Feel’ - a swirling fantasia about adolescent love - ‘You Don’t Know’, with its trebly jangle-pop, and ’The World Laughs,’ which hits a high of creepy rock ‘n roll psychedelia.
Kyle and Audrey think they fit together perfectly. “I try to use my ears to travel, and like a traveller I want to feel sonic emotions and hear things I haven’t before, that’s the excitement of it,” says Kyle, “The challenge is to make that into a cohesive work, but Audrey makes it so easy because she has this vibe as a singer that immediately connected with my imagination.” The connection of these two friends -- their tensions, harmonies and oppositions -- is probably the most crucial part of all. Their debut self-titled album arrives this May.
U Street Music Hall
1115 U Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009
U Street Music Hall
1115 U Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009