Six Of The Best: ZELA | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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To finish off a prolific year of releases, North-East electropoppers ZELA drop their brand new single, Lemonade (available now via all good streaming sites). The track was inspired by frontwoman Liv Griff’s real-life experiences as a private schoolgirl and is a sharp and sweet sonic soda that fizzes with pep and attitude. 

Here, Liv tells us what inspires ZELA with a Six Of The Best…

My biggest source of inspiration comes from people. For the most part, women. I’m so fascinated with muliebrity and behaviours and I’m just in awe of women in general, I think women are the most substantial form of art there is. I write most prolifically about human interactions, taking influence both from situations I’ve been involved in directly but also by being a bystander. My friends, my memories, my problems, my relationships, they all end up as songs; which I think has become a healthy mechanism for me. 

There’s definitely a level of cinematic influence involved when it comes to ZELA, especially in the writing process. Max is heavily influenced by movie soundtracks such as ‘Drive’, and I’m influenced by classics like ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘True Romance’. Anything Tarantino I love, I get so excited by all aspects of his work; the romance, the violence, the wit, the way he uses music and colours in correlation with each other to suit the tone of the scene, it’s just genius.

Since my early teens I’ve always been so inspired by fashion movements such as the Club Kids in the 80’s-90’s who were described as an artistic and fashion-conscious youth culture.   These kind of movements didn’t necessarily influence my personal fashion choices to the flamboyant level that they were known for but more the sheer level of not giving a fuck; it was more than just crazy outfits, it was a lifestyle. Walt Cassidy described it as being about ‘ripping things apart and putting them back together and letting all the scars show – that was a metaphor for the 90’s; the fashion, music, style and the drugs’. I think ZELA’s unapologetic foundations and punk undertones within both our image and our music has a very strong connection to the likes of the Club Kids and the punk scene before it. We express ourselves in whichever way we want at every chance and that doesn’t always have to mean music.

I love horror poetry and romantic poetry. I’ve always had such a fascination with words and I’ve written poetry and stories since I was able to hold a pen, back when I didn’t need to express my feelings because all I cared about was creating my own fictional world and making words rhyme. However, fiction is something I’ve only recently allowed myself to fully flirt with when it comes to my songwriting. Lyrically, I’ve always written about things that are very real and raw, real-life experiences and people and my own emotions. This year with the pandemic, there wasn’t a great deal going on to inspire me during lockdown so I allowed myself to start writing out of my comfort zone and let my mind wander beyond my own situations. Stephen King is one of my favourite authors, and some of ZELA’s more recent work is very much inspired by his books; specifically ‘The Stand’. 

There are so many bands and artists in the world that have shaped ZELA into who we are today, far too many to list but to name a few; Grimes, The War On Drugs, The 1975, Big Black Delta, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Wolf Alice. As an artist I think it’s so valuable to be able to listen to and appreciate every genre of music to an extent, even if it isn’t directly your ‘thing’. We were lucky to be brought up in a household where we were always surrounded by music, with our Dad being a musician himself and both parents always supporting and encouraging our musical journeys from a really young age. 

As well as always consuming and creating music in everyday life, there’s nothing quite like the feeling you’re filled with after a live show or a festival set that just blows your mind. It’s always so overwhelming in a really fucking good way every single time, and Max and I always come away so fuelled up and ready to create. I honestly can’t wait to be on both sides of the stage when things go back to some kind of normality, I just want to be playing sweaty gigs and out at festivals more than anything right now.

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