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Athuzela Brown

Athuzela Brown

Interviewed by
Jenee Tibshraeny
Monday 25th June, 2012 3:03PM

Earlier this month Wellington sibling duo Athuzela Brown released their debut album Tides via Sonorous Circle. Turns out they are more than just siblings, they are twins - intrigued by this and impressed by their debut long player we got in touch to find out more...

When was Athuzela Brown born?

Well, we have been making music together for years. It probably all came together about two years ago when we worked on a cover of 'Tiger Mountain Peasant Song' by Fleet Foxes, for a school performance. Then we made the song 'Chasing Ghosts' and it kind of flowed from there into our first EP.

Where did the name come from?

We're keeping that one a secret...

What’s it like making an album with your twin?

Pretty breezy. We have this weird thing where we will be playing something and we can just connect, with timing and chord progression and vocal melodies/harmonies. Plus it's always nice because we live in the same house, so we can always just pick up guitars and have a jam.

I’d imagine you’ve been picking away at the guitar and singing together since you were kids. What’s your first memory playing music together?

Yes, we have been playing different instruments from when we were quite young. Our family background is quite musical, with a strong need to express everything through music. Hmm.. first memory, well when we were kids we would just sing about stuff around us, making up little songs to pass the time.

At what point did you decide to make Tides? What inspired you to do so?

Well, we have been wanting to make an album for a while now, pretty much as soon as we finished our EP in March 2011. We first made 'Denny' at the end of last year and that's where the sound and vibe of the album really originated. From there, we just kept on expanding our songs until they were something we were ready to share. Tides Part l and ll were actually made for a film we helped with in the 48hour film festival. We had some times when music wouldn't come to us that easily, but in the last month, everything came together really well.

How would you describe your sound? What are some of the album’s themes?

It definitely has its folk roots, but we've tried to develop this into something organic and current. It's really just us, our own expression, seeping into the music. We try to keep things pretty honest, whatever comes to us and feels right. We're also fascinated by nature. The theme of water is a pretty strong one, with tides, diving imagery, seas and ocean breezes.

There’s a strong visual component connected to your music too. I see you collaborated with a few visual artists to make a video clip. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

Yeah, we were so happy to have this video clip! Our spectacular sister Lucy McCallum made it for us. It's a compilation of the art and sound at a 19 Tory Street exhibition, "Calming Dieties and Sacred Spaces". Including the wondrous art by our other sister, Georgette Brown and our friend and guru Thomas Lambert.

Tides makes me want to curl up in a cosy lounge, decked out with a fireplace, a Persian carpet, a few vinos and friends. What do you think is the perfect occasion to listen to Tides?

Thanks! That's really what we've envisioned. Just a relaxed and peaceful environment. Also, we love nature walks and feel like our sounds are good for the outside world. The Northern Walkway is the finest!

What other musicians are you digging at the moment?

We have a few musicians we've loved for ages and can always return to... Animal Collective's "Prospect Hummer EP" with Vashti Bunyan, "Stars and Topsoil" by Cocteau Twins, "Surfing" by Megapuss (Devendra Banhart's band), and we're also really looking forward to Grizzly Bear's upcoming album. We're also very keen on what Wellington has to offer...for example our good friend Skymning, Boxcar Rattle, and of course the great artists on Sonorous Circle like Seth Frightening and Glass Vaults. Not to mention the awesome bands we're playing with tonight at 19 Tory Street, i.ryoko and Oligocene Drowning!

Describe the best gig you’ve played?

We still haven't played that much yet, but we've enjoyed what we have played so far. We're looking forward to tonight's gig and future ones we hope to play.

What else can we expect from Athuzela Brown this year?

For the moment we're all about getting this album heard! We're hoping to do lots of gigs, as well as collaborating with friends and family to create some music videos. Also, we've started some work on a short EP, really vibing the sounds of Cocteau Twins, a much heavier, more amplified sound.

Visit Athuzela Browns' bandcamp below to hear more from their album Tides.


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