N: Hey ZAH !! So excited to finally catch up! How have things been for you lately ?
Z: I've been feeling very reminiscent, sifting through old belongings and treasure hunting in the hoard :)
N: Your life seems to be such a rollercoaster, constantly traveling, touring, performing… Do you ever get tired? How do you relax?
Z: It's hard for me to stay still! I try to remind myself that I need these moments of stillness to reflect but sometimes I internalize it as laziness as if it was a character flaw. I'm working on giving myself some grace.
Honestly, I never get tired of jet-setting though. My wells of energy overflow when I'm exchanging vibrations and movements with others.
I consider performing relaxing.. it gives me so much life. Besides that, creating is meditative for me.
And so are dinners and dessert gatherings with friends. And our worldwide boba meetups.
N: You are also not shy about exploring different ways of creating. Your artistic range is quite impressive: artist, DJ, designer, makeup artist, model, even tattoo artist..
Is there a medium of expression that you enjoy the most? Or have been enjoying more lately?
Z: What feels right for me and my hands is always in flux, I try to wait and listen and lean into whatever forms feel like coming to life. Lately, I've been making plushies out of me and my brother's childhood clothes and various scraps from the past I'm unearthing. But at this point, since I know I'm prone to being easily distracted, I'm committed to the music because the world that it's building feels the most solid. It feels like all of my other creations are revolving around what the music is making space for, and living there.
N: So, even in the middle of what seems to be a very busy life, it's like dreams are a constant theme for you. Your work always incorporates this kind of thoughtful, dreamy, almost spiritual vibe. Can you tell us about how spirituality fits into all this?
Z: That's affirming!
I find meaning in most things and I feel very spiritual in just day-to-day life. Always coming back to my breath, listening to it, listening to the signals my body sends me.
I was doing this a lot in Tokyo recently. Taking a moment to stop and focus on each sense, then notice all of them simultaneously. An attempt to be as present as possible I guess. When I'm traveling I like to take really long walks, like many hours and miles, to connect to the cities that become my temporary nests.
I love seeing these places through my friends' eyes too.
Since I get a lot from exchanges of energy with others I usually try to talk to myself as a sort of exchange I can still achieve when I am alone. I'm at my best when I'm doing this and practicing all the little forms of meditation I can find, even in my most active eras. And I'm always looking for and listening to signs from my ancestors.
N: I really love your song Prophet, it’s such a euphoric and exhilarating sound, can you tell us a bit more about how this song came to exist? How does it feel to perform this track?
Z: It really captures my essence and usually anything I create that does that feels like suddenly just, is. When I'm randomly compelled to try something and follow through, that's when something is born that I can't imagine reality without.
My purest almost childlike impulses are the ones that are the most aligned with my intuition, natural movement, and flow. It's when I act on them that something like this track comes about.
Euphoric is exactly how it feels. I've closed basically every set with Prophet over the past year, even DJ sets. It feels like there is always this element of surprise, like the entire energy of the room shifts once I step onto the booth or somehow take height to perform it. I love it.
N: Now on a lighter note, what do you love about these little collectible objects that you seem to carry around, style yourself with and collect!
Z: I need them. I can't imagine life without little physical serotonin. When life is constantly in motion it's nice to have precious items around that stay the same as they've always been, a common thread. Toys that resurface that I've seen in old photographs. Nostalgic scraps as hair accessories or sewn into new pieces of clothing, or anything. It's symbolic.
And I love when someone perceives a visual signal the way I do. Or what certain motifs mutually resonate for me and my friends, and the parallel core memories that they activate.
An overwhelming sense of connection over the same anime characters. It's funny. And cute. And in a way uplifting. There is some sort of pull, a shared urgency, that's responsible for what is now a community.
N: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions with us today, it’s an honor to have you here, to close up the interview, what is to be expected next from ZAH!
Z: More of the world, really exciting collaborations, more music, more physical manifestations. Just more. This was only chapter 1.
All images courtesy of ZAH