Zoot Woman

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Zoot Woman
Zoot Woman Live In 2015.jpg
Zoot Woman performing live in 2015. From left to right: Johnny Blake, Adam Blake
Background information
Origin Reading, Berkshire, England
Genres Alternative dance, electronica, synthpop
Years active 1996–present
Labels Wall of Sound, Zoot Woman, UMG,[citation needed] Embassy One
Website www.zootwoman.com
Members

Zoot Woman is a British electronic music group consisting of Adam Blake, Johnny Blake and Stuart Price. The band has gained a worldwide following for their live shows. The live act is Johnny Blake and Adam Blake, Price does not tour.

Credited by many within the industry as one of the most important forerunners of electroclash[who?], the band in full generally disassociates itself from the largely instrumental material released by Adam Blake and Stuart Price before adding Johnny Blake to the line-up and taking a new direction stylistically. This is evidenced by the lack of its coverage on the official website.

Price and Adam Blake also do remixes under the alias Paper Faces and have reworked tracks for Zoot Woman as well as other established recording artists such as Madonna, Scissor Sisters, Armand Van Helden, Chromeo and Frankmusik. DJs Felix Da Housecat and Pete Tong have shown Paper Faces much support.

History[edit]

Living in a Magazine (2001)[edit]

With the release of the conceptual debut album Living in A Magazine in 2001, Zoot Woman established themselves on the music scene, releasing the singles "It's Automatic" and "Living in a Magazine". The album's pop sensibility is evident on tracks such as "Jessie", "Holiday Home" and "Information First". Simon Price of The Independent wrote, "This is the sound of minor-key heartbreak in departure lounges and penthouse suites, an album which should come with "New York, London, Paris, Munich" embossed on the sleeve."[citation needed]

Their track "It's Automatic" has been sampled by several rappers, including JD Era, while possibly the most well-known cover of "It's Automatic" is by Mickey Factz featuring Curtis Santiago, due to its use in an online car commercial.[1]

Zoot Woman (2003)[edit]

A significant departure from the bright, pop feel of Living in A Magazine, Zoot Woman's eponymous second album remains faithful to the musical qualities that made their debut record. Zoot Woman features the singles "Grey Day" and "Taken It All". "Gem" from this album was used in the Kate Moss/Rimmel Cosmetics TV advertising campaign and "Calmer" appears in an episode of the CBS TV drama CSI.

The song "Hope in the Mirror" was featured in the soundtrack to Mack Dawg Productions 2004 snowboard video Chulksmack, in the Jussi Oksanen section of the film. Their track "Grey Day" appeared in David Benedek's film 91 Words for Snow (2006, Blank Paper Studio). This helped spread the word to the snowboard community.

Things Are What They Used To Be (2009)[edit]

Zoot Woman in 2009. From left to right: Johnny Blake, Adam Blake and Jasmin O'Meara

In December 2007, a new single titled "We Won't Break" was released as a free download on RCRD LBL. The single was accompanied by a music video directed by Mirjam Baker and Michael Kren. In March 2008, the band made a second single ("Live in My Head") available for download on their MySpace page. Both songs are featured on their third album, Things Are What They Used To Be, which was released on 21 August 2009 by Zoot Woman's own record label, Zoot Woman Records. Other singles include "Just A Friend of Mine", "More Than Ever", "Memory", and "Live in My Head".

Well received by critics; NME rated the album 8/10 with Camilla Pia writing, "The electro-clash survivors are at their most impressive yet: combining rip-your-heart-out lyrics with instantly singable melodies and frosty synths, all tinged with the occasional flurry of string and disco riffs. This is a masterclass in modern electronic music, finessed by innovation and emotional depth."

The Guardian‍ '​s Dave Simpson wrote, "'More Than Ever' wraps undying love up in big keyboard stabs, 'Witness' is an effective moody stomp, and 'Lonely By Your Side' – a personal/existential crisis in a three-minute pop song – can hold its head up among their heroes.[2]"

Star Climbing (2014)[edit]

Johnny Blake Live In 2015

On 1 January 2013, the band announced on Facebook and Twitter that they look forward to introducing and touring the new album Star Climbing. On 11 December 2013, Zoot Woman's new single, "The Stars Are Bright" was made available on iTunes, nearly one year after the initial album announcement.

Other singles from Star Climbing include the song "Don't Tear Yourself Apart". The latter is described by critics as "a ravishing melody paired with the unmistakable vocals of Johnny Blake."[citation needed] It was recorded in a similar way to "It's Automatic", minimal music, simple song, written on an old Casio synthesizer and Roland TR-909 drum machine.

Stuart Price said in a statement, "We recorded Star Climbing over a three-year period between our studios, working on songs and lyrics until we felt like we had found the albums direction. It is our most distinctive album to date, combining all our different tastes and styles into one."

Musical style[edit]

Johnny Blake in 2009

Zoot Woman's main genres are electronica, alternative rock and synthpop. Heavy use of both digital and analogue synthesizers is evident on each album. They are known to blend the use of acoustic and electronic instruments to create their sound.

Many Zoot Woman songs are characterised by lead vocalist Johnny Blake's voice. Blake supports his vocal with a very rhythmic guitar playing style. For live performances he favours the Fender Telecaster and Gibson SG guitars.

Zoot Woman cite the bands Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Steely Dan & The Police among their influences.

In an interview with Universal Audio, Adam Blake discusses some of the group's recording techniques.[3]

The Band's Image[edit]

Image is a key conceptual element to the band's output. Johnny Blake is quoted saying, "We've always said we want to look how we sound, so hopefully the look of the band could translate the music. But I think Zoot Woman is built foremost around the songs. There are bands out there where the show describes the band more than the actual music, but with Zoot Woman it's vice versa."[citation needed]

Zoot Woman have worked with acclaimed video directors Dawn Shadforth, Uwe Flade, Michael Kren, Mirjam Baker and Mike Mills. With photography by Rankin, Sølve Sundsbø, Ben Rigby, Matthias Krause, Normen Perke and styling by fashion designer Fee Doran aka "Mrs Jones".

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
GER
2001 Living in A Magazine
2003 Zoot Woman
  • Released: 22 September 2003
  • Label: Wall of Sound
2009 Things Are What They Used To Be 38
2014 Star Climbing

EP[edit]

  • 1996 – Sweet to the Wind

Singles[edit]

From Star Climbing
  • 2014 – Coming Up For Air
  • 2014 – Don't Tear Yourself Apart
  • 2013 – The Stars Are Bright
From Things Are What They Used To Be
  • 2010 – More Than Ever
  • 2009 – Memory
  • 2009 – Just A Friend of Mine
  • 2009 – We Won't Break (Redone)/Saturation
  • 2008 – Live in My Head
  • 2007 – We Won't Break
From Zoot Woman
  • 2004 – Taken It All
  • 2003 – Gem
  • 2003 – Grey Day
From Living in a Magazine
  • 2001 – Living in a Magazine
  • 2001 – You & I
  • 2000 – It's Automatic
Non-Album Single
  • 1997 – Chasing Cities

Band members[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]