Welcome to the world of ZoZo. An intergalactic unholy noise, electronic, immersive dream, once experienced, leaves you in state of unlimited possibility and unhinged imagination.
Their newest creation the former NYC underground duo is blessing the world with? Blood-Brain Barrier. A 4:10 music video challenging all you thought you knew about the bounds of sound and video.
Blood-Brain Barrier is following their full length EP dropped last year, Simulations of Self, a pounding five-song marriage of drums, noise, electronic experimentation… all with the subtle graces of pop nuance bridging everything together as they will.
Zoe Wardlaw & John Mannion (ZoZo) first started the project in 2016 as classically trained performers and as veterans of the noise & experimental underground, and funneled their creative expressions into ZoZo as a way to further explore their experiences with metaphysics and close encounters of the unexplained.
To put it plainly ZoZo is dope. And Sermon 3 Recordings was luckily enough to catch up with them for a full length interview about Blood-Brain Barrier, premiering on S3R News today.
(ZoZo, Blood-Brain Barrier, S3R News)
First of all… the visuals are insane. Who worked on the video?
Thanks! We built a small green screen film studio in the garage of our previous house, and shot it ourselves. We made three miniature sets to create some of the different worlds in the video. And, our good friend Yamira Serret made us 2 original drawings which we cut-up, animated and manipulated digitally.
Love the intense polyrhythms. Are yall using a particular drum machine for that?
We sequenced the skeleton of the song with an elektron digitakt, which also supplied one of the main percussion layers running through the song. We generally had at least 2 machines sort of fighting each other, and at points we had up to 4 sequenced against each other.
The moment at 1:07 with you Zoe and the eyes – of the pyramid and following eye-closeups? What’s the significance of that for yall?
Haha yeah there are a lot of eyes in the video! The two of us have always been pretty obsessed with eyes as symbols in our art. We don’t want to give too much away, because we like people to come up with their own interpretations. But, we can say, we wanted to demonstrate the polarities between both the mystical benevolent eye, and the more sinister all-seeing evil eye. In terms of the pyramid eye, we wanted to depict the paradoxes of the pyramid eye as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment and intuition, yet also a symbol of the illuminati and control organizations.
What’s the vocal fx yall are using, and the mic signal chain? It has a dope sound, punchy and fucked up. We love that here.
Thanks, we were definitely trying to make the vocals as punchy as possible! We processed all of the vocals digitally, and had our channel strips pretty much full to the brim. In the faster vocal parts, we used a lot of very short delays and reverbs (and some reverse reverbs), mixed with layers of subtle distortions that we used to sculpt the sound to where we wanted it. In the more ethereal passages, we used longer reverbs/reverse reverbs, flangers, phasers – and had numerous vocal takes layered together.
So many amazing post-fx in the video. What program do yall like to use for that and why?
We used after effects (along with some 3rd party plugins), to do all of the compositing and animation. We wanted to create an organic yet otherworldly realm for the video — and we found that mixing the hand made sets and drawings, with the limitless capabilities of digital compositing/CGI, worked great for this.
Conceptually, what’s the heart of Blood-Brain Barrier as a song?
Haha – there’s a lot of themes going on in Blood-Brain Barrier. Again, we want to leave things up for interpretation. But, some of the main themes we were working with on it were: inner and outer planes of existence, time/dimensional loops, ascension and enlightenment vs. the singularity, anatomical microcosms, agents of deception, and inoculation — to name a few! The two of us had a very intense UFO experience about 5 years ago — and that experience was a major influence on all the concepts behind ZoZo — and it definitely made its way into Blood-Brain Barrier as well.
How did yall meet and start making music in the first place?
We met through the underground music scene in NYC around 9 years ago. We both lived at show spaces (Zoe at Fitness, in Brooklyn; John at Red Light District, in Far Rockaway) – so we met through playing/going to shows. We started dating a couple years after we first met, and started working on ZoZo about a year into our relationship. Today (2.22.22) is actually our 6 and a half year anniversary as a couple!
And what’s next for ZoZo?
A bunch! We are in the process of putting together a west coast tour – which will be our first live shows with visuals. And, we are working on a new single/ep. We’ve also been getting more involved with the local community here in Joshua Tree – and just started to throw shows and events of our own out here. We’re planning on putting together events that are more hyper-dimensional and incorporate multi-sensory performances, mind expansion, extra-terrestrial contact and energy vortexes. There’s a lot of really cool outdoor spaces, out in the middle of the desert – so we’re very excited for the potential of what we can do with that!
Experience The Premiere of ZoZo – Blood-Brain Barrier Below