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Classical pianist turns pop surrealist

Following guest vocals on tracks and remixes for standout UK labels such as Hypercolour and Warp Records as well as producers Luciano and Matthew Herbert, the hotly tipped vocalist and producer Zilla is taking centre stage for her debut solo release.

The Sleepwalker is Zilla’s second single release, a distinctive song characterized by a nonchalant flow, earworm melodies and a bouncy lingering beat.

The song refers to an intense sleepwalking experience that Zilla had one Christmas in Copenhagen. A playful groove harbours a deeper subject about losing control and embracing the unpredictable and mysterious other person that we are but who we don’t know.  This plays out in the evocative video which features striking imagery of Zilla and footage shot in the Ebrié lagoon in the Ivory Coast, revealed in a dream sequence.

The Sleepwalker was produced by renowned producer Matthew Herbert who has signed Zilla to his Accidental label for her first run of singles.  Matthew says “I like the fact that Zilla can sit at a piano and bash out some Rachmaninov and Debussy, but chose instead to make an ahead-of-its-time record out of the ephemera of ordinary life. It bristles with the friction of real life as opposed to the comfort of the recording studio”

And indeed it does, The Sleepwalker is an intricate construction of samples from objects symbolic to that event; books, light bulbs, rubber bands and recordings of Zilla’s own sleep-talking.

The Sleepwalker follows the release of Zilla’s debut single Get Your Way, which was first used for Elle UK's most successful campaign ever #MoreWomen #ELLEFeminism campaign, a deeply personal anthem of empowerment to the individual, to speak out when oppressed and to live life according to one's own vision. The track received early support from Huw Stephens (Radio1) and Jon Kennedy (RadioX) and featured in i-D Magazine’s Best New Music Videos.

A composition brimming with ideas, The Sleepwalker is an intriguing insight into the off-kilter world of an exciting new artist. Released 20th October on Accidental Records

Notes on The Sleepwalker

Zilla explains the events of one Christmas night in Copenhagen.

The event:

“Around 3am, I fell off my bed, my body was probably in between fast asleep and sleepwalking so I fell very heavily on the floor, which woke up my family. They came rushing to see what was wrong, and found me on the floor, blindfolded and screaming at anyone who would try to take my blindfold off. On closer inspection they realised that my finger was cut and badly bleeding. After a few minutes, I woke up and looked at my finger and noticed a very precise, rectangular cut from my nail - which was now missing - to the side of my finger. There were no sharp objects and there was no blood on my bed so we never found out how this happened till this day”

This strange incident triggered a curiosity in Zilla about the wonders of the mind, unravelling the mysteries of her brain and acquainting herself with the person in charge when she is not consciously in charge of her own mind. She started recording herself sleep-talking and from this came the lyrics from the first verse of Sleepwalker: “I’ve conquered the world, I grabbed a golden gun, I counted to a million in a split second” ~ all originate from those same recordings.

“The beat was made by whistling through the pages of a book, knocking a light bulb against a mic, a stanley knife, a rubber band and a few bursts of laughs” explains Zilla “The book represents the fairytale, the whistle through the pages is the eerie vibe,  the broken light bulb represents the night, the stanley knife represents the cut on my finger, the rubber band represents the stretch of my mind’s imagination”

The setting: Copenhagen

Copenhagen is dark and foggy but at the same time very cosy and homely. It’s a dreamy mixture of ice and fireworks, goosebumps from hot baths and frozen air, the whistle of intense wind on still waters and the surprise of grass on empty beaches.

The Sleepwalker is the second in a series of exciting releases from a bold new artist, working somewhere between the crunch of the avant garde and the joy of a good hook.

Zilla releases 'The Sleepwalker' single 20th October on Accidental Records

Zilla
20 October 2017