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Interview with Zeitgeist Zero

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How was Zeitgeist Zero formed?
Teresa: When I first met Corin it was in the late 1990’s and he was in a band with a childhood friend of his.  They needed someone to sing on a few of their songs and asked me, but it didn’t work out.  From that Corin and I realised we were musically compatible and decided to form our own band.  It took a while to get started and we were originally called Walkin’ Wounded and had a bass guitarist and released a demo CD.  However there was a local band with the same name so we changed our name to Zeitgeist Zero and when Kerry joined the band it seemed the line-up was complete, so Z0 has really been around since January 2003.

Our bass player left a year later but the 3 of us work so well together we have decided to keep Zeitgeist Zero as a trio for the foreseeable future, especially in the studio, although live this may change.
Kerry: Teresa and Corin had already developed a lot of the songs when I first became aware they were working on a band - actually at that point they'd been doing it for a couple of years.  I couldn't understand at the time why they were holding off gigging, there are a lot of bands who take to the stage with far less - but they are perfectionists, and didn't want to pull the trigger until they were completely satisfied.  
Specifically they wanted a keyboard player, so I joined initially as a temporary thing to help them get to a gigging stage, but I was so impressed by their vision and work ethic that I ended up staying.   

Was does the name mean?
Teresa: The name Zeitgeist was thought up by Corin but I thought it was a bit short and might have already been done (which is true, there is an Australian band called Zeitgeist) so I suggested the Zero because it sounded good.
It means to me a defining period in my life when I stopped being a spectator and started living.  Being in my band, has given me a great sense of achievement and pride.  I used to think I was lazy because I never had the motivation to get up in the morning to go to my job (and I still don’t) but then I realised it was because I wanted to do music.  Even though I can’t afford to earn a living from the band it gives me such a sense of accomplishment that the hard work is worth it.

Who is responsible for the image of the band? And as it is extremely specific - why did you decide for such an image and how does it correspond to the music you play?
Teresa: Do you mean live, on album or little centipede?
Image wise it always is Corin and I who decide and have specific ideas.  For our live performance we choose to go for shirts and ties because it was a cheap image as we couldn’t afford matching sequined jump suits. *giggle* But mainly because it is a simple image we could then alter, and modify to look more gothic.
The white centipede on a black background was designed by me for when we were called Walkin’ Wounded but we liked it so much we decided to keep it as Z0’s logo.  We have described it as:
The march of time and the cyclic nature of mankind and the idea that history constantly repeats itself.

Introspection and looking to ourselves for inspiration.  We don’t believe that one day we’re going to win the lottery, or that when we die we’ll go to heaven.  So we’re just trying to live our lives to the best of our ability.
The album was designed by Austrian artist Deaddreamer and the t-shirt by the famous Parisian tattooist Laura Satana.  We choose both these artists as we were able to communicate our thoughts to them and they enhanced  to create something more interesting.

And what about the lyrics - where do you take the themes for your texts from?
Teresa: The music is always written first by Corin and Kerry, so after it’s first drafted I listen and try to think what feelings the music inspires in me.  Often the guys have set ideas but I always feel it’s the song telling me what it wants to be, strange I know. *laughs* 
Usually after about a while I get a vibe and once I’ve settled on the theme for the song I then start to think about the lyrics.  I only write about things I know about, how I see the world or pet passions or pet hates.  It has to be real; every single line has to have some meaning, that’s why the process takes so long.  This is of course deeply frustrating for my musical cohorts but at the end of the day I have to be able to stand by every word.

What's the importance of the image or generally the visual aspect in the artistic process? Where do you take your inspiration from?

Kerry: If Jimi Hendrix had looked like Andy Williams it wouldn't have been the same.  Much as we're there as musicians to focus on the music, visuals so often are the first point of contact and if your band or album looks like a piece of crap that's the impression listeners will have coming in (if indeed they bother to listen at all - there are a lot of good bands out there they can go and listen to instead).  That's why we made a point of contacting quality visual artists to augment our vision, like Deaddreamer, who did our album artwork, and Laura Satana, who did our shirt design. 

Corin: As for inspiration, everything!  Films, books, art, other bands - anything we see and like that fits the band ethos is fair game to be adapted and used - nothing exists in a vacuum.

You mention you feel alienated from the mainstream. How come?

Kerry: Almost by definition, the mainstream is not about celebrating individuality or anything particularly powerful, because in order to appeal to the largest possible demographic things have to be homogenised and softened in order to appeal not just to people into that style but also people who would be scared off by anything that asks too much of them.  This is all well and good, but it does end up with a set, bland, inoffensive ideal that is marketed as the 'norm' and that then becomes taken as what's normal generally.  If you do not identify with that 'norm', your choices are either to ape it as closely as possible and pretend or to reject it and look for (and, if necessary, create) something else.  The first option's the easiest, you can just roll over, give in and lead a boring, unfulfilled but comfortable life according to the fashions of the time.  The second option is more rewarding.    

What do you think is good about self-released albums?

Corin: Undiluted creative freedom and total commitment.  When a new band with no track record approaches a record company, the record company isn’t going to put money into someone’s creation without wanting to control it enough to protect their investment - this basically means molding the band to fit the mould they already have a market for.  Even worse, if they like you enough to want to keep you out of the hands of other labels but not enough to make a proper promotional effort you can find yourself contractually barred from putting in the effort to get yourself known.
Because our album was self-produced, we've had complete control over ever aspect, meaning we can put the vision first.  We don't have the visibility that a decent label could provide, but by doing the underground as well as possible and showing we mean business we put ourselves in a better bargaining position when and if we go after a deal.
It is of course difficult and expensive though  - every penny this band makes at present (and more besides) goes right back into the product, so when you buy our stuff you really are helping to make it happen.

How would you specify your music? For whom do you play and what are the dominating threads about it?

Kerry: Human gothic industrial - for people who want music that expresses and kicks the teeth in of all the negative shit in their lives they can't be bothered pretending isn't there, with catchy emotional songs they can dance to.

What I saw your concert on Wave Gotik Treffen I had an impression that your music is filled with energy, but at the same time? full of anxiety.? My first thought was that it's? wild and nervous, uncontrollable like a well-bred horse. Where does this anxiety come from?

Kerry: Show me a man without any anxieties whatsoever and I'll show you a lobotomy patient.  Life is full of tension and conflict, there's no natural justice, shit happens that you have to put up with whether you like it or not and because no-one's perfect we always feel deep down we should have more.  You can bottle it up or deny it, but then it just comes out in ways that cause even more anxiety.  Far better to channel all that aggression into energy, to let it out in style.   
Watch Teresa sing "Pins And Needles" - she goes somewhere truly frightening when she sings that song. 

Teresa: I think it’s only natural when you are dissatisfied with your day to day existence to want to let of some steam.  Some people do this with drugs, or alcohol, violence or art and music is how I have chosen to do it.  I act wild, nervous and anxious on stage for entertainment and because it makes me feel better.  I never feel so alive, as when I’m on stage performing.
I don’t take myself too seriously, it’s just our songs are most effective when  played with passion.

What are the future plans of the band??

Corin: To keep building, to make every song we record better than the last one, to make every one of our live shows rock and to give everyone who supports this band the best damn value we can.

Zeitgeist Zero:
TERESA DEAD -vocal/ lyrics
CORIN -guitars/synthesizers/programming
KERRY -keyboard/ violin/

Translator: khocico
Add date: 2006-09-20 / Interviews

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