Electronic three-piece Zola Blood has dropped their long-awaited second album, Black Blossom, out 1st April. A twelve-track, self-released LP, Black Blossom is an exploration into the pitfalls of the internet – more specifically the nature of social media and its polarising effect.
The release precedes a twelve-date European tour, kicking off in Antwerp on 6th April. There are further shows in the likes of Paris, Munich, and Amsterdam, before finishing up in Zurich on 28th April. The group is also set to announce 3 UK dates in November and December across London, Glasgow, and Manchester, and are to go on sale Friday 8th April.
“For the most part the record is about the internet and how’s it’s fucking us all up,” Matt West explains. “The way we communicate has fundamentally transformed over the last decade and I think we’re starting to feel the consequences of that.”
He continues: “A lot of the songs came from just reflecting on the kind of tribalism and abuse that’s become normalised online. Watching the big moments of the last few years through the lens of social media made me question whether these platforms have done more harm than good. The idea behind Black Blossom is that the internet started out as this kind of utopian dream that was going to bring us all together but it’s grown into something much darker.”
Words and photos by Zola Blood
Dave Smith Prophet 08
This is a stalwart in our setup and still probably our go-to polysynth. It has its downsides but we know it well and it’s pretty versatile. We use it in a range of different ways, from arps (Indigo Skies, The Way It’s Gone), to pads and chords (Blood Tied, Get Free, What Matters Now) to bass lines (Bright Eyes). It’s not uncommon for us to demo an idea fairly quickly (and messily) on the prophet; spend a while trying to better it; before going back to the original.
Scroll to Continue
Another mainstay in our setup, though sadly we’ve realised we can’t use it live – too old, delicate, and unpredictable! It has quite a different tonal quality to the Prophet 8, so they work nicely in the mix together. We also use this for loads of different things, but it’s particularly good for warm wonky chords (Indigo Skies, Do It, 22:58, For The Birds). The chorus effect is laaavely!
Simpler- midi instrument (Ableton)
This is good for making instruments out of audio clips and samples, and for this album, we used it quite a lot with Matt’s vocals. So, stuff like the cut-up vocal sampling in It Never Goes, For The Birds, Slow, and at the end of Black Blossom. We usually load in one of Matt’s lead vocal takes, get things into the right key and then just experiment. It can be a good way of sparking ideas and weird melodies – this was how It Never Goes came about. For that same song, we also used this (in a session with our good-friend Lawrence Hart) to make a percussion loop from some vinyl crackle.
Portal (plug in)
A relatively new purchase and something we incorporated into a few tracks. Great for unpredictable granular delays. We used it on some ethereal vocal pad-like stuff on For The Birds, and some interesting percussion rhythms on Blood Tied. You don’t need to get too deep into this one to get great sounds, which is a big plus!
Probably the main source of bass sounds (though we often overlay with other things including Arturia Mini Brute, Roalnd SH01-A, and some software synths).
Drum rack (Ableton)
There’s not much live drumming on this record (if any), though a lot of the more live-sounding drums came from a day Sam spent recording drums at a studio called Rubix down in South London. They have some beautiful vintage kits and a great recording setup. He spent a while making up a sample kit in Ableton using those recordings, which we used a fair bit, in addition to programming stuff on the drum rack with electronic samples that we have gradually built up over the years.
Grab your copy of the album here.