An Interview with Henry Walton of Zulu Winter!
When I first saw Zulu Winter live, the music was enthralling and meeting the band was extremely exciting! I only saw them play a few songs and it’s still one of my favourite concert experiences. Their music is absolutely gorgeous and without a doubt, they easily rank as one of my all-time favourite bands. A key component of their music to admire has to be the ethereal and lovely guitar playing. I had the opportunity of asking guitarist Henry Walton some questions, so we spoke about Language, bought records, touring mates and more!
AMBY: I’d like to tell you guys, your gig in Toronto for NXNE was wonderful. So thanks for doing this interview, it’s a big deal for me! For someone who’s yet to have the absolute pleasure of hearing it, how would you describe your sound?
HW: No worries it’s our pleasure. Sound wise there a lot of different influences but we always place a lot of importance on creating really solid danceable grooves, with interesting atmospheres and harmonies. We’re always concerned about the song though. We like subtleties and hope that these come through on repeated listening. We don’t want it just to be ‘bam here’s the song! What you hear is what you get.’ We like layers and space and messing around with those aspects.
AMBY: Your newest album Language has a ton of great tracks. What’s your favourite song off the album and what was the recording process like on it?
HW: This will probably come as a surprise to Dom our keys player but my personal favourite is probably Small Pieces. We struggled with that song for a bit and it very nearly didnt make the cut but we stuck with it and were rewarded with a track I think’s really interesting. There’s a slight r & b vibe to it and it fits a solitary night in the city very well. I’m personally very proud of guitar drones on that track too!
Records wise it came in stages really. It was an older song but a lot more straight up. We recorded it like that but realised it didn’t really cut the mustard so we messed around with it on our own. That’s when the guitar hymnal drones come in and then Will came up with a new melody that meant the rebirth was complete. The process was quite bitty but sometimes that’s really satisfying because you’re not entirely sure how the song is going to turn out.
AMBY: What were the last three records you bought?
HW: I’m on a Talk Talk binge at the moment. Laughing Stock is an astonishing record. One of the finest recordings ever! I didn’t have that or Spirit of Eden on vinyl so they have been purchased. And the other was Electro Rapide by Jean Claude Vannier. It’s a collection of unreleased instrumentals and there is some ace stuff on there for sure.
AMBY: And you guys have been touring a lot lately! Who are the most fun bands you’ve toured with thus far?
HW: Either all bands are lovely or we’ve been really lucky as we’ve had a lot of fun with all our touring mates so far. Policia, Howler, Friends, Alt J. All amazing people…
AMBY: Speaking of tours, when I saw you live in Toronto you played a mesmerizing acoustic version of We Should Be Swimming. Will we be seeing “Zulu Winter the Acoustic Tour”?!
HW: It’s not something we’ve discussed. Maybe in the future but it would probably incorporate more electronics and sound scapes but for now we’re purely focused on full band stuff as it should be…
AMBY: What was the funniest or most bizarre thing that happened on your North American tour?
HW: It probably won’t seem that funny to you but on the drive from NYC to Toronto we started going a bit loopy from boredom and our driver from sheer exhaustion. Near the end of the drive we started seeing blue signs every couple of miles with only a question mark on it. People definitely started to lose their shit. Lots of manic laughing, shouting and pointing at the question mark desperately trying to get our tour manager to keep following them. Effects of too little sleep kicking in. I don’t think he was seeing the funny side which was fair enough seeing as he’d been driving for about ten hours straight.
AMBY: If the band happened to be stuck in an elevator with someone… Who would you like to be with, and who would you dread being stuck with?
HW: I’d like to be stuck in a elevator with Annie Clarke of St. Vincent and have a pedal geek out with her. She’s an incredible guitar player and beautiful song writer. I’m happily engaged so it would be on purely platonic terms obviously.
A person I’d dread being stuck with? Annie Clarke? I’d get very nervous.
AMBY: Lastly, tell us something nobody knows about you, yet…
HW: I’m pretty sure that I was a monkey in my previous life.
Their latest single off Language, Key To My Heart is a delight! So take a listen to it below, because it’s very easy to get addicted to this band. As I said before, they put on a great show full of beautiful harmonies and funky melodies so catch them on tour if you can and check out their tour dates here. Last but not least, thank you so much Henry, for giving me your answers!