“We’re gonna be the nicest smelling touring band,” drummer and recording engineer Collin Dupuis assures, while singer/guitarist Trever Naud cracks that the band’s in-house sound-technician likely “…wipes his pits with a Hermes scarf.”
Dupuis, quipping a boast of wearing Dolce Gabanna, playfully responds by self-applying his “aristocrat of the band,” as Zoos of Berlin huddle around his recently installed sound board, adjacent to their homegrown (professionally-equipped /built-to-specification )studio.
The Detroit-based quartet has been working on a new LP of (characteristically) elegant pop songs. They’re honing their gossamer glistened, jazzy snazzy, prog-rock-penchants and dreamy fuzzy atmospheric rock, radiant and layered with head-swimming tones, hearty bass, suturing drums and graceful deluges of Brit-pop-born melodies.
They join Oblisk, Prussia, Manna & Quail, Designasaur and Ragged Claws, for a free show in the Eagle Ballroom – simultaneously acting as Zoos kickoff to their first major tour (w/Child Bite) and as a birthday party for one of the most valuable, industrious proponents of Michigan’s art scene, Crofoot General Manager Phreddy Wischusen.
“We finally got the monkey off our backs,” keyboardist Will Yates referred to their first full length, Taxis, self-released last year (after about 4 years as a full line up, with bassist/singer Daniel Clark, but songs had lingered for more than six years back to when Clark and Naud first collaborated.) “Now,” said Yates, gesturing to the studio, “it’s a new beginning. We’ve been doing more, both writing/recording here in the studio and in terms of booking shows; we’re moving faster.”
“(Taxis)’s songs were the result of years of playing, each hashed out over days,” said Clark, “and this time songs are coming all at the same time period; we’re able to hear what we’re doing quickly.”
The notably experienced Dupuis imparts the vitality of “initial” reactions; better to avoid “over thinking,” or being “perfectionist.” The more steady, or meticulous developments up until Taxis “made us into a very tight unit,” Clark reflected. “Having gotten that foundation, it’s easier to be more spontaneous.”
“I think it’s more learning to leave room,” said Dupuis, both the soundboard and a creepy 4-ft-tall Santa statuette set behind him, noting the benefit of being able to write/record at the same time. The band is settled, cozy and confident – whereas before, Taxis was recorded in rented space inside the Russell Industrial Center; a former auto-parts shop that the boys had to clear, clean and install Dupuis’ impromptu (yet still sufficient) set up.
The plate reverb, an unassuming-yet-ominous box in the next room, adds an encompassing textural effect that essentially adds an entirely new (invisible) instrument; acquired by Dupuis, Naud claims, “…it might be one of the greatest things that ever happened to us.”
Since Taxis, the band has seen a rash of international-internet-born attention; they’ve also been busy dreaming up music videos while they hunker down in their souped-up space for a healthy round of experimentation/writing/production.
Wischusen’s free birthday show is Zoo’s tour kick-off and they hope to release Taxis’ follow-up around mid/late summer. Meanwhile, Manna & Quail are rejuvenated; Oblisk is writing new material; Prussia’s recording new stuff. Designasuar is new electronica from Dan DeMaggio and Ragged Claws = Mike Noyce (of Bon Iver). Experience Zoos’ elegance and wish Wischusen a happy B-day and thank him for organizing some of the best concerts of the last three years.
Phonotropic Brothers Bonanza: Zoos of Berlin, Prussia, Oblisk, Manna & Quail, Designausaur, Ragged Claws – 3/20 – Eagle Theatre, 1 S Saginaw, Pontiac – 248-858-9333 – thecrofoot.com – free.
and about those tour dates with Child Bite
Thurs 3/25: Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle
Sat 3/27: Minneapolis, MN @ Hexagon
Sun 3/28: Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews [early all-ages show w/ Red
Mon 3/29: Kansas City, MO @ Foundation
Tues 3/30: St. Louis, MO @ Cicero's
Wed 3/31: Nashville, TN @ Little Hamilton Collective
Thurs 4/1: Newport, KY @ The Southgate House
Fri 4/2: Louisville, KY - Venue TBA
Sat 4/3: Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop [late show]
Sun 4/4: Columbus, OH @ Carabar [free show]
Mon 4/5: Baltimore, MD @ Zodiac
Tues 4/6: Philadelphia, PA @ Ava House
Wed 4/7: Brooklyn, NY @ Market Hotel
Thurs 4/8: Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Fri 4/9: Syracuse, NY @ Half Penny Pub
Sat 4/10: Cleveland, OH @ The Happy Dog