Zed Butel has a new outfit known as Sleeeper Hit, and the band will be taking to the stage at the HOTA – Home of the Arts to celebrate the release of new single ‘Market Fair’. Zed may be a young man, but he’s been playing and recording for many years, and will be jumping from solo artist to band with this latest effort.
Dark and entwining, like a Joy Division merry-go-round, ‘Market Fair’ is a unique track in today’s world of music, and certainly not a three chord pop wonder. I had a chat to Zed before the gig, about going from solo to a band and his latest single release.
TAPPA:Zed this is your first foray into recording with a full band, having previously recorded as a soloist. How was it different recording ‘Market Fair’ as a three piece compared to solo, and what was the process like?
ZED: I haven’t really done the full band thing as of yet. For ‘Market Fair’ I got together with Brisbane producer Alex Henrikkson, and we knocked it out in a day in a little studio in Nundah. That was great but I’m really looking forward to recording with the band. When doing demos of Sleeper Hit stuff together, we tried to record things pretty much live. I find that a really exciting way to record. It harkens to a DIY style behind a lot of music I love, whereas recording alone has often been a patchwork affair.
TAPPA: You have a gig at HOTA 21 June, how has the band been getting together live?
ZED: It’s coming along. We’ve been trying to do a weekly jam with our drummer Alex in Brisbane. I’ve been playing a little more frequently at home with bassist Isaac. He’s virtually just joined so we’ve been cramming a little. Everything’s falling into place though I think.
TAPPA: ‘Market Fair’ is quite a different sounding song, really a unique sound in this world of sameness. I hear a touch of Pixies and Dinosaur Jr in this song. Are you a fan, and what bands have been your influences?
ZED: Thanks heaps. I am a fan. They’re two of my favourite bands. Guitar driven alt rock of the late 80s and 90s has been pretty huge for me, especially growing up. Pixies’ songwriting, I often find myself returning to, with the soft/loud verse chorus, and oblique lyrics. While Dinosaur Jr have this slacker quality but they all shred so hard. I admire that. I love a sprawling J Mascis solo. For ‘Market Fair; I was channeling Beck a bit with the sampled drums and psych guitar. I often return to Beck, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen for lyrical inspiration.
TAPPA: When punters come and see Sleeper Hit at HOTA this week, are your tracks a similar style to ‘Market Fair’, or do you find you are writing in a few different styles?
ZED: I think it’s solidly in the realm of psych folk, some go more to the psych side, others folk. A couple of the songs are probably more rocky. But, I think you can tie them all together stylistically.
TAPPA: What made you move into performing as a band as compared to performing solo, which you have done for many years?
ZED: I always wanted to be in a band. I jammed with school mates for a while and had a couple of fledgling projects. It was just always easier to write alone I think. After I recorded ‘Market Fair’, opportunities were on the horizon, and I needed a band, so I chased up some mates. That’s kind of a backwards process but it’s led to new things musically and personally, so a little bit of necessity was probably needed. Now, I’m just looking forward to learning to be a better musician, songwriter, and band-member.
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Zed Butel and his new project Sleeper Hit is at HOTA this Friday 21 June.