Yumi Zouma Find “Willowbank”

Charlie Ryder discusses the songs that helped create the band’s sonic DNA

Yumi Zouma

Willowbank is the sophomore LP from Yumi Zouma, and the first they’ve made in their native New Zealand. The indie dream pop quartet formed while living thousands of miles away from each other, and it wasn’t until they had already caught the attention of listeners that they ever held their first practice. But at this point, that is all far in the past.

Since then, Yumi Zouma has developed a dynamic live show, released two EPs and their debut album, Yoncalla. On the new record, the band finds themselves more at home than ever, sinking easily into those hazy, technicolor sounds that have characterized their music throughout. It’s not as if the band has become too comfortable, however. Instead, they are honing their craft, refining it to its purest levels, and then interweaving new elements. This is the most mature album yet from a band who has always seemed sure of their direction.

ARTISTdirect caught up with Charlie Ryder to discuss the songs that inspired him to play music, the tracks that remind him of home, and his favorites from the Yumi Zouma catalogue.

First single I bought…

I was really into poppy 90’s Gatecrasher / Ministry of Sound dance music growing up in New Zealand, and actually do remember a time when I would by CD singles at the record store. I think the first one I bought was either DB Boulevard’s “Point Of View”, or Moony’s ‘Dove (I’ll Be Loving You)’.

First live show I attended…

Janet Jackson at the WestpacTrust Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand on November 27, 1998 from the The Velvet Rope tour. My sister Bryony took me. She had the coolest taste in music and is the best big sister ever!

First song I learned to play…

Probably something classicial on the piano when I was very young. But on guitar, it was more likely to be something like Last Nite by The Strokes.

The song that encouraged me to learn my instrument of choice…

Last Nite by The Strokes! I remember watching the video as a twelve year old and thinking that this was the coolest band I’d ever seen.

The song that reminds me of home…

‘Sway’ by Bic Runga, ‘Lydia’ by Fur Patrol, ‘Sophie’ by Goodshirt, ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ by Goldenhorse, ‘Emily’ by the Shocking Pinks. Too many to choose!

My guilty secret track…

“Steal My Sunshine” by Len, ‘Mulder and Scully’ by Catatonia, ‘Summer Girls’ by Lyte Funky Ones, or ‘Truly Madly Deeply’, by Savage Garden. Again – too many to choose 😀

The song I wish I wrote…

‘I Try’ by Macy Gray. Its just perfection. The bridge into the last chorus is the only key change in pop music that I actually love.

The finest song from my all time hero…

‘Listening For The Weather’ by Bic Runga. An incredible song written by the greatest.

The song I’ve written of which I’m most proud…

‘Second Wave’ – especially when that first chorus kicks in! I remember coming up with the idea at my friend Sandra’s house in London, and now I just love it, especially when we all sing it live.

The song that should be played at my funeral…

‘Amar Pelos Dois’ by Salvador Sobral, the winner of Eurovision in 2017. Such a beautiful song!

My favorite track from my most recent project…

‘Depths (Pt. II)’. So happy with this one! Wish it was the first song on the record!

Download Yumi Zouma music on iTunes

Purchase Yumi Zouma music & merch from Amazon

For more information on Yumi Zouma visit the hub on ARTISTdirect