Zoot Woman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Zoot Woman
ZootWomanLive2008.jpg
Zoot Woman performing live in 2008
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 zootwoman.com
Members

Zoot Woman is a British electronic music group consisting of Adam Blake, Johnny Blake and Stuart Price.

From their live shows, the group has gained a worldwide following. With the album Living in A Magazine Zoot Woman established themselves on the music scene. The live act is Adam Blake, Johnny Blake and different supporting musicians.

Credited by many within the industry as one of the most important forerunners of electroclash. 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.

Stuart 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.

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.

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.

Their track "It's Automatic" has also been the subject of recent covers with many rappers deciding to use this as a backing for various tracks. One such artist is JD Era, while possibly the most well-known cover of "It's Automatic" due to its use in an online car commercial is Mickey Factz's "Automatic" featuring Curtis Santiago.[1]

In 2008 Zoot Woman established the record label Zoot Woman Records on which the 2009 album Things Are What They Used To Be was released.

It was announced on their official website that Zoot Woman were in the studio and had begun recording new material for a follow-up album.[2]

On 1 January 2013, the Zoot Woman Facebook and Twitter accounts stated that the band 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 the album Star Climbing include the song Don't Tear Yourself Apart. 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."

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 writes, "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."

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" in the CBS TV drama CSI.

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

The album Things Are What They Used To Be does not stray from the melodic road that Zoot Woman fans are familiar with. The songs display an upfront, passionate approach to the essence of what the group is known for.

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 writing, "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.[3]"

Videos including "We Won't Break", and "Memory" have achieved great success for Zoot Woman on YouTube. This album helped expose the band to a worldwide market. It features the singles "Just A Friend of Mine", "More Than Ever", "Memory", "We Won't Break" & "Live in My Head".

Star Climbing (2014)[edit]

Star Climbing features the singles "The Stars Are Bright" and "Don't Tear Yourself Apart". The latter described by critics as "a ravishing melody paired with the unmistakable vocals of Johnny Blake." 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.

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. This is apparent in the way the group perform the songs live.

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.[4]

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."

Zoot Woman have worked with acclaimed video directors Dawn Shadforth, Uwe Flade, Michael Kren, Mirjam Baker & 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 – 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

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://rhymesandreasons.honda.com/story/episode4/
  2. ^ http://zootwoman.com
  3. ^ Simpson, Dave (11 September 2009). "Zoot Woman: Things Are What They Used to Be". The Guardian (London). 
  4. ^ "Universal Audio Producer's Corner: Zoot Woman's Adam Blake". Universal Audio. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 

External links[edit]