Words by ZUMA.
Listening to music in general really inspires us to get creative. Noticing different elements that come in throughout a song, whether it’s tones, melodies and beats, or stepping back and appreciating sections that flow into one another, gives us big inspiration to experiment with these elements and elaborate on them in our own way.
Experimenting with guitar tones, synth tones and production is also something that initiates a lot of inspiration for us. This informs a lot of the songwriting process and helps to create the resultant vibe of the track.
Fresh off the release of their debut self-titled EP, Geelong-based band ZUMA give us a complete track-by-track run-down.
THE SEARCH WAS ALL IN VAIN
This was an interesting song to write. What inspired the song was experimentation with different instruments, especially some different synth tones. The first half of the song has more of a rolling vibe which is very guitar driven. The tempo through the last half of the song then slows down and gives more of a dreamy/floating vibe, which then builds into a big, uplifting end part which is defintely one of our favourite moments on the EP. Lyrically, we feel like the song could mean a number of things, but the title refers to the expectations that modern society places on people in terms of materialism and status.
This was a song that came together pretty quickly. From writing the instrumentals in pretty much one session, and the vocals in another, it was a track where everything fell into place quite quickly in the moment. Lyrically the song is about being a little bit lost, but also celebrating being introverted and not always being sure about what will happen next, and feeling a need to explore and experience different things. Instrumentally we set out to have a vast dreamy, almost mysterious vibe in the verse going into a chorus that feels like a plane was taking off and you were standing right behind the turbo engine. We wanted to create a feeling of movement and energy through sound which matched the lyrical content, which we extend upon in the end of the song with a dancey jungle riff coming in.
This is a short instruemtnal track that was inspired by electronic dance music, which we love. I guess the goal was to dive into that realm and away from guitar driven music. The skeleton of the song came together after experimenting with a lot of different synth tones and percussive elements. Throughout the following months we realised it needed a little bit more depth sonically, so we layered in additional synth lines and production elements to make it what it is now.
This whole track was written around the bass line, which was inspired by one song in particular that we love – Dead of the Night by Fascinator which has so much vibe. We wanted a strong groove to become the feature of the verses, which then builds into a heavy fuzz chorus. There’s a double time section in the solo which we added to boost the solo and give the song some spontaneity, adding this finalised the track instrumentally for us. Lyrically, the song is about trusting your instincts to end up where you want to be. We wanted to create a mysterious vibe in the chorus via the vocal melody, with more powerful and commanding vocals complementing the chorus.
FALLING OFF THE EDGE
This is one of our older songs. When we wrote this track about 2 years ago, we were in a space of writing darker, rock-guitar driven that maintained an element of smoothness and flow. Coming of Age is another song from this period of writing, you could say these 2 songs are siblings. Some more recent production touches completed the track for us such as
additional synth layering through the chorus and an arpeggiated bass synth in the bridge.
COMING OF AGE
Another one of our older tracks in a similar vein to Falling Off The Edge from that particular period of writing. Most of the tracks on the EP were written by Jess our guitarist, however
this was of the the tracks that came together quite collaboratively – with Jess and James both working together to create and develop over time the verse/chorus and bridge/end structure. The song morphed through various changes with timing/length and additional synth lines to be what it is today. Alex then wrote vocals over the completed track that ended up being quite powerful especially in the chorus and end parts.
Motions is another track that was written a couple of years ago which was basically written in 2 parts. Jess came up with the verse/chorus chord progression and bassline, with Darcy
then adding in a disco style beat on top. The second half of the song then came about a little later, with Jess and James writing the end section. We wanted the end part to get quite
heavy and dark while maintaining the upbeat disco vibe of the track. Heavily distorted guitars and bass synths were added to create this darker dance vibe. The song went through quite a few vocal transformations, we ended up being really happy with the end result with what Alex created. Lyrically, the song is about being held back by whatever it may be from
your desires and ambitions.
ZUMA’s new EP is available now. Listen above.