They’re not splitting up at all…
Like all good zombies (and cats, what with their nine lives and all) Rouven Fehr and Ross Deschamp have reanimated. A new chapter, a new label and a broader and more explorative new sound; Zombie Cats promise a whole new mew sonic apocalypse.
Their previous chapter ends with Last Day, the tune they posted about earlier this month that caused the scurrilous rumours of them falling out and going their separate ways. It lands this month and will be followed by the full rebirth comprising a new show concept that launches at Let It Roll on August 1, then a whole string of releases including collaborations with DIVIDID donny Abis and veritable steppers royalty T>I.
Zombie Cats are dead, long live Zombie Cats. Here’s what they can reveal so far…
So you’re definitely not splitting. This is all about a new chapter, right?
Rouven: Back in 2014 we already closed a chapter with our old alias and Zombie Cats was born. This time it is different; we won’t start a new name, we stay as Zombie Cats. But to end this first chapter of Zombie Cats we are going to release Last Day and then the next chapter can start. Since the cover was posted people thought we might have a falling-out. We know each other for more than 15 years now, we worked on so much music and it is still fun. No need to split, but we will expand. The official start of the next chapter will be at Let It Roll this summer.
Tell us about this new chapter’s look, sound and approach…
Ross: We’ve written a lot of different ideas in the past two years that didn’t quite fit the constraints of what the modern neuro sound is. When we started in 2014 we had a vision what our music should sound like and tracks like Upgrade or Word Ends expressed this well. But in 2019 it is time to branch out and see a larger picture of all the sounds we love, as long as it is drum and bass. We will still have love for neurofunk and we will keep releasing in this subgenre but do so alongside our other future releases.
Rouven: An example of us pushing our sound out further is the latest release on Technique recordings, Far From Us. A new chapter means we won’t write with the constraints of one subgenre like we did it the years before. We will mix up our music style. I grew up with drum and bass and did not care about all these subgenres. I know that people want to give everything a name, but the most important thing to me is, when people listening to a new and unknown song, that they will say: This is written by Zombie Cats. Like a trademark-sound. That is my ultimate goal. The best producers have the ability to write any style they want and still sound unique. That’s where we’re aiming for…
Amen to that. There’s also a new label, right?
Ross: Yes, that will launch after the summer. We were thinking a lot about starting our own label in the past, but always ended releasing music on labels like Eatbrain, Blackout, Viper, C4C, Commercial Suicide or Bad Taste, which was fantastic as we love these labels, but the labels have a specific sound which made them famous. We would like to bring back the feeling of just writing music we like and releasing it. As a musician, on the one hand it is important to make smart business moves, working with established labels etc. But on the other hand you have to make sure you’re not losing the excitement of writing music and releasing music on your own. The label will be for our own music only, but we want to collaborate with artists we worked with a long time or artists that we are really liking the vibe of. The first releases are solo Zombie Cats tunes though. We wrote so much music and it is time to put it out.
This kicks off with a collaboration with Abis, right? Big up Abis!
Rouven: The connection with Mark came through Lars who he runs DIVIDID with and his girlfriend Joyce. We’ve worked with Lars, who also runs the night Major League, for a long time now. At one of his events in 2016, in Amsterdam Melkweg, I met Joyce and some months later Mark, Joyce and I had a show in Paris. We had a cool vibe. I visited them in Rotterdam later and started a bunch of tunes; one of them was Need You was released on Eatbrain. Mark is one of the most honest and direct people I have ever meet. I love his attitude.
Ross: I love the diversity on our collaboration EP. Each track has its own place: a new school throwback to the early 2000-era, a technical mix tool, a hard edged chunky wedge of D&B, and a contemplative melodic runner. We have been playing a lot of the DIVIDID tracks since the label started. Mark is super talented and ridiculously easy to be around. To have Abis on the label is tremendous.
There’s also a collab with T>I coming, right?
Rouven: Yes. I met T>I in Bristol. Since we are working with Bristol based Bassic Agency we are more often in the UK. I was playing a show at The Black Swan (big up to Justin Bris-Tek) and met Mathew there. After the show we had a chat and we thought it is an unexpected but cool idea to work together. T>I posted a picture of us on Instagram with the caption “collab”, so it became official. We sent him an idea and he took over and what came back is exactly what we wanted from this new chapter; it keeps me excited, it’s something unexpected.
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What can we expect when you launch the new chapter at Let It Roll?
Rouven: If you check out our live videos on Youtube you can see that we divide the people. Love it or hate it. Especially for the central and eastern European shows. That means for the harder D&B shows we might even incorporate a little WWE for the introduction. That means a bit of showmanship is needed!
Ross: Let it roll will be ridiculous. We have got two shows: One on Thursday on the stage, and the other on Friday on the bus party with Abis. We will also do the meet and greet and will be joining the BEC music conference. The topic we’ll be discussing is ‘Reinventing your game: How to avoid mistakes and grow as an artist.’
Rouven: I guess we just did this with the Last Day concept and our new chapter haha.
Ha, true. What else does the world need to know about this new chapter though?
Ross: We’re updating our logo and branding. It’s just as much for us as for our music, the old one was getting too rigid and two-dimensional. We are looking to have a little more fun with our music so the cartoony vibe might help shake of some of the serious chin-stroking that can grind me down.
Rouven: And also, because we love drum & bass, its fans and culture, we will be participating at the DNB STEP World’s Championship 2019 with Team Zombie Cats. I am interested in this dance culture. Playing at a lot of events you get to meet a lot of people that love the music and some talented dancers. There will be also a DNB Step contest in my hometown Hannover, Germany at the end of 2019. The contest will be part of the Vandalism party series. This is the essence of drum and bass. It much more than just the music. It is a culture.
Zombie Cats – Last Day is July 31 on Bad Taste