Interview: Ya Tosiba’s Zuzu Zakaria

World Treasures Music spoke to Norwegian-Azerbaijani artist Zuzu Zakaria. She forms a duo with Finnish skweee pioneer Tatu Metsätähti – aka Mesak. Their album on Asphalt Tango Records was released in June and mixes old street poetry traditions from Azerbaijan with underground electronic beats. It is also inspired by classical Arabic and Persian music, Scandinavian electronic traditions and hip hop.

WTM – The new LP sounds to be more traditional and Middle Eastern than previous work, is this the case?

If concerning singing and generally vocals – perhaps yes although, our previous works have been also mainly influenced by eastern rhythms, melodies, instruments and genres. This time we wanted to make the album more organic and more natural for me personally. You know, when two artists coming from different musical traditions and schooling, work intensely together for over a long time, this carries lot of challenges, negotiations, compromises, crashing ideas, than one theoretically can imagine.

We both also respect each other’s ideas and methods and try to use those vibes all the way. But non of the above mentioned are so conscious choices, always while working on tracks. You just blend in the ideas of that mood when you are producing. Another day another vibe. You know approximately where you want to go but it is not always so clear how you go there.  Also we have by time understood that there is no end of the production of the track. You just need to say ok, let us stop here, this is interesting now. But never perfect, you do not actually want tracks to be perfect. That would be boring.

WTM – How did your musical partnership start?

As a DJ I met Mesak in Oslo, while he was touring and playing concerts. Then later in life we both ended up living in Berlin and we both jumped on idea of producing together in 2010. Since then we cannot stop 🙂

WTM – Where are you performing?

One weekend we play at Flow Festival, where 50,000 people are gathering in Helsinki. Another time we play in a basement of pizzeria with 50 people: very different settings.

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