August 8, 2013

Zoos Of Berlin (pt. 2)

More articles by »
Written by: Jeff Milo
Tags: ,

Where we start is “Above The Air…”

The vocals are soft, swishing, almost like a welcoming spring breeze, rising upon a marching beat and rattling chimes. It’s a sparse intro but nonetheless stirring and ultimately ascendant, you feel like you’re being taken somewhere and through the varyingly vague/vivid lyrics, you can almost see that place. Through the rhythms, the hushing harmonies, the ambient synth effects seeming to glitter and the bass seeming to babble meditatively, you can almost feel that place.

Welcome to Zoos of Berlin’s second full length album – Lucifer In The Rain (on Time No Place).

“It is certainly our intention for the lyrics to convey a sense of place,” says co-lead singer/bassist Dan Clark. “Our songs are not usually narrative in a conventional sense…”

True. Listen as close as you can to the atmospheric-smeared verses and you’ll feel the sweet disorientations offered only in dreams or freestyle poetry.

“But we hope that the effect,” Clark continues, “will produce an image – call it a stage set – where the listener will see his or her impressions acted out.”

Your own art-pop theatre, unveiled in your stage in charmingly surreal choreography, to a tastefully danceable beat and backlit with subtle flares of synth effects.

“Really, it is the same for us as we write the lyrics or as we work on a musical arrangement,” Clark says (with singer Trevor Naud. The group, who self-produced what’s proving to be their most realized work to date, also includes keyboardist Will Yates and Collin Dupuis on drums (and on the boards). “We know we’re succeeding when the effect is both surprising and familiar.”

You’re liking what you hear, maybe? But you’re asking yourself: Who is this band and why haven’t I heard of them yet?
“Part of the reason,” says Yates, “we’re not a heavily ‘exposed’ band I s that we’re all very busy with life outside the band. We certainly wouldn’t have anything against being a little more productive…”

Extra-band commitments, begrudgingly unavoidable as they are, can slow things down. Doubly so, though, when the artists involved are as meticulous as Zoos can be, when crafting these dreamy impressions. “But that can make the time we are able to work together all the more gratifying,” says Yates of the time-in-between.

But, Yates says, they know how fickle the music business can be; certainly not so willing to wait for the perfect creation, it sometimes seems.

“All we can do is make music at the pace that we’re capable of, and be happy with the results.”

“Our hearts,” says Clark, “are in making the artifact.” Thus, when they are able to get back together (with some members living out of state,) they use the time mostly in the studio, as opposed to getting out onto a bar’s stage (or in a gallery-space, maybe) to perform live. “We’ve never deliberately made things easy for ourselves, but it’s getting easier nonetheless.”

“That’s meant a natural growth into other forms; nothing has been cut down, odd weeds are coming up between the cracks in the sidewalk. Back to the land.”

Keep your eyes peeled for a music video for “Above The Air.” Currently, the group’s piecing together their third full length LP, but the vision hasn’t taken shape yet. If they squint though, bend their ears a bit, they can see it. They can hear it.

About the Author

Jeff Milo
Jeff Milo
Jeff is another awesome member of the iSPY team.

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival


Best Coast Loves Cali and Doesn’t Mind Singing About It

Photo credit: David Black It’s completely normal for musicians to write songs about the love of their life, but it’s a completely different animal when that love is a state. Bethany Cosentino (vocals, guitar) and Bobb Bruno...
by Treasure Groh


Adventures in Local Food #32: Garden “Tourism”

Garden season is in full swing here in Michigan. So that means my favorite part of the summer is upon us, the time for urban garden tours. There will be no Tour de Fresh in Ypsilanti this year as Growing Hope is focusing their ...
by Stefanie Stauffer


Toro y Moi makes waves in Detroit

Born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, Chaz Bundick has been toying with various musical projects since early adolescence. Having spent his formative years playing in punk and indie rock acts, his protean Toro Y Moi proje...
by Amanda Slater



Rock, Reading and Writing – S’Mittenfest!

20 bands, three stages, one great cause More people needed to experience Mittenfest. Last year’s annual end-of-year music festival spanned five days and stirred a surge of good cheer and charity. The scene’s camaraderie chu...
by Jeff Milo

Peninsular Place

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Performs TODAY at Sonic Lunch!

Everything you need to know about today’s Sonic Lunch performance. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. returns to Bank of Ann Arbor’s Sonic Lunch tomorrow! Since their Sonic Lunch performance last summer DEJJ has released a second f...
by Jenn Sibert



The Mountain Goats [review]

Review and photos by Jasmine Zweifler During a hushed moment at the Mountain Goats performance at Detroit’s Majestic Theatre on June 12, an audience member raised their voice and addressed the lead singer directly: “YOU’R...
by Jasmine Zweifler


Orion Music + More Festival [Review]

The Metallica curated festival arrived in Detroit’s Belle Isle for the first time this past weekend. Major acts like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones, BASSNECTAR and Rise Against made an appearance. The festival ran smooth...
by iSPY Team

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival

Houses // Baths // Magic Stick // June 8

Houses Bring “A Quiet Darkness” + Baths to the Magic Stick Saturday, June 8

Fresh off a set at SXSW’s Urban Outfitters Showcase and a tour with Cold War Kids, Houses are now on tour with Baths promoting the April release of “A Quiet Darkness” before ramping up for a busy festival seas...
by mispy_admin


Pathetic Sounds of Detroit

The camaraderie is undeniable. Bands working together and supporting each other – there’s such a strong sense of community. I know you’ve heard that touchy-feely refrain in lots of write-ups in zines covering local scene,...
by Jeff Milo

Atlas Genius

Atlas Genius Travels the World

Atlas Genius first perked up our ears with their catchy single, “Trojans,” that catapulted them from obscurity into the spotlight. However, their success shouldn’t be attributed to simply luck. Brothers Keith and Michael ...
by Amanda Slater


Peninsular Place