Interviews

A surreal stroll through the human zoo with Dave Weir

A few weeks back, when we first stumbled into the hallucinatory sonic world of Dave Weir, we weren’t quite sure where we were. It was a world not quite like the one we were used to—it was a jungle of sorts, an epic mind-bending zoo.

Weir’s latest release, a 14-minute one-track EP titled ZaZaZoo, is a textured and expansive slice of music, and if you haven’t already listened to it, go do that now. Hot off the EP’s release, we caught up with the artist himself to chat all about it.

Fresh off the release of his brilliant new one-track EP ZaZaZoo, New Zealand artist Dave Weir walks us through his surreal sonic zoo.

HAPPY: Hey Dave! What are you up to at the moment?

DAVE WEIR: I’m listening to Terence Mckenna’s Adress to the Jung Society as I begin to answer these questions.

HAPPY: We’re loving ZaZaZoo! How did a conglomerate journey like this come about?

DAVE: Well each song within The ZaZaZoo (in psychedelic black) is actually very old. These days I sort of work from my own wake, so to speak. and I care less and less about what the music industry, or any industry for that matter, seems to think about how people should be making art. So… I’ve been doing these collages. Deeply coded concept album collages that come with no key or disclaimer to help anyone understand the art or the concepts there in the art.

HAPPY: How does ZaZaZoo fit into the rest of your sound?

DAVE: Songs to me are sometimes like problems that need to be solved, where as other times they are more spiritual expressions, no solution. Like spiritual blues or something. One feels their emotions, sings to over come their suffering and accompanies those noises on a guitar or piano. but these songs were all like these problems, these concepts about how impoverished the human conscience is that we seem to be incapable of creating anything that doesn’t resemble a prison or a zoo. Songs are Zoos for our emotions. I guess I was on a pretty pessimystic trip! Making music is also like making a meal… sometimes I make a pizza, and sometimes I just leave the gas on…

HAPPY: What does a normal day of songwriting look like to you?

DAVE: I don’t have normal days. Lately any kind of songwriting has given me that feeling of tearing up, because songs can be so moving and also just the timbres of instruments can be very moving to me. It was a surprise to find myself writing a song on a 1963 Martin D-28 today. It was SWEET. But I had left my wallet at home, and so could not purchase the guitar… haha. There really is no normal way for me to write a song because to me it’s all sculpture, sonic structures and textures, painted with emotional projections. I’m in love with the medium, so I don’t want to lock myself away from new ways to approach music. I’m always listening to something, someone.

HAPPY: What is the most memorable performance you’ve ever done?

DAVE: That’s a really tricky question to answer. Most memorable… played some pretty sweet locations in Spain with Chicos de Nasca, including one show in a really cool Castle supporting The Warlocks, who were really great. We all had a great boogie. In Keil, Germany, I must have been electrocuted at least 7 times on stage, later that night I joined my friends from Aporia for a super fun set.

HAPPY: Were there any particular artists you were listening to that inspired the sound of ZaZaZoo?

DAVE: No, not at all. It’s funny, kind of frustrating actually how I am forever compared to Lennon, Dylan, Cohen, The Kinks etc.When I have always had my own impetus to create. I wrote poetry from a very young age and loved church music and lullabies and was drawn to musical instruments many years before I would ever be able to “play” them or really even understand them. I could sense their power. As a teenager I did listen to Lennon, Dylan, Cohen, The Kinks. But only because I recognised that THEY were like ME. Not ever that I wanted to be like them, who ever they were… Aint not one of those boys could ever play gat like me, str8 up… Anyway, my rant… It’s how people stop the wheel. Instead of really feeling what you’re doing, they stop the wheel by telling you what you are LIKE. It’s a drag. I’m really excited to do the next thing, because, although The ZaZaZoo is smashing and fab and deeply beautiful and all that… I just got to do the next thing and do it not on my laptop on the garage band… HA!

HAPPY: Is it important for artists to push form and experimentation in music?

DAVE: Yes. It is important, not just for artists but for everyone, to understand the impact we have on any given form of Art, or way of life. Why did punk die? Why will the blues no longer make you weep? How does your attention span affect the art you ignore? what on earth is anyone trying to impart by making objects, Sonic or Physical in 2020? Who do we think we ARE? I think every one should be finding new ways to revolt. Artist or not.

HAPPY: What is the ZaZaZoo?

DAVE: The ZaZaZoo is the Human Zoo that we all inhabit and maintain. It’s the reality that we can not transcend in life. It is our Concrete Jungles, our myriad psychological paradigms,The Palaces of Excess and the Desolated Alleys of our world all link together this… ZOO. The ZaZaZoo was my concept of this realm, when I wrote the song as a teen. I think the concept stacks up today.

HAPPY: Who is your ideal show if you could support any artist at any concert?

DAVE: I would love to do something with: Cat Power, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Tony Allen, Warren Ellis, Anton Newcombe, J. Spaceman, Courtney Barnett, OR John Anthony Mother-Fucking Frusciante. Would be thrilled to collaborate with any or all of these playas.

HAPY: What’s next for Dave Weir?

DAVE: I’m a settle in a bit more here in Melbourne. Play some low key acoustic sets here and there. Perhaps a set or two with my old band, The Nightshades. I have an album of 10 Songs that I intend to release soon entitled Day’s Residues. I may re-record them. I might flip a coin.

ZaZaZoo is available now. Listen above.