The enigmatic electronic wizard known as ZHU has taken the dance world by storm with his tracks like Faded and Paradise Awaits. Following his recent performance at Stereosonic, ZHU stopped by Australia’s Triple J radio station to deliver what was only his second interview ever to discuss things like his debut album and the benefits of anonymity.
Talking with Matt Okine and Alex Dyson of Triple J from an undisclosed location, ZHU continued to conceal his identity by denying the hosts a chance to see his face. The first topic on the list: ZHU’s breakout hit Faded and whether the content was based on ZHU’s real-life experiences.
“I sang on that track but it’s something that happens to a lot of people…What I’m doing here is allowing an open canvas for anybody who listens to the song to look in the mirror and a lot of people who listen to Faded have that exact same emotion at some point in their life.
“All I am is just a mirror and I reflect whatever they see. So that particular song, I’m sure many men have been thinking about that late at night.”
The Triple J hosts also inquired about ZHU’s unique falsetto and whether he will be the sole vocal provider on his upcoming debut, or if he will look to collaborate with other artists.
“What’s kind of cool about this project is that I’m able to write, produce, and sing and pick what voice works. My voice works for some things, but it doesn’t work for everything. So if I need a different texture then I’m going to go and get it. And I think on the album there’s going to be more textures along with what I do–but to broaden it and to make more colors on the palette.
“Right now, it’s kind of in the infant stages. There are some different things happening. Ultimately, what sounds good will end up making the record instead of who’s on there.”
ZHU also discussed his decision to adopt an air of secrecy to his life as a producer and what advantages and disadvantages come with anonymity.
“It’s been great so far. The whole purpose was to let the music speak so I think at some point people want to know who created it…It’s been a blessing because I can do things that are normal and put that stuff into songs. [I can] really spend time creating a great record and creating a great show without worrying about everything else.
“The most fun part…you get to see a lot of things and what people are like when they don’t know who you are. If people know who I am, obviously, they’re going to put on their best face but it’s kind of cool to see who’s actually genuine about what they do.”
According to ZHU, the low-profile, “grassroots vibe” of different cultures has always appealed to him, and even inspired him to do some recording in New Orleans.
“I’m actually doing some recording in New Orleans and I love jazz and I grew up playing jazz. There’s some real gritty element of musicians who they just really love music. You could be anyone–a very famous artist or somebody in the streets, but when you’re playing you’re all the same.”
On producing his album and releasing it as an independent artist:
“A great record doesn’t need an intense marketing plan…We’ve worked with what we’ve got. Making a record, for instance, in my apartment–that’s all I had. But you feel that. It’s a lonely, dark, sexy vibe. That’s the vibe that was intended…We have to give ourselves limitations to be able to make the record in a specific format, market it in a way where there are limitations. We’re independent, but I think it will work out.
ZHU has yet to give out the name of his forthcoming debut, but “stay tuned.” In the meantime, you can listen to the interview in full up above.