Introducing ZĀN, and his incredible new EP, Gulnaz
An exciting young Perth-based artist packing some serious talent.
Header photo by Nicole M Photograpy.
Singer/songwriter/producer ZĀN is an emerging Perth-based artis who has found a strong medium through which to tell of his experiences, namely some impeccably-produced, utterly engrossing pop/R&B/electronic tunes. On the verge of releasing his new EP Gulnaz, we're excited to help you get to him a little better, along with a little sneak peek at the EP before it drops officially this Friday. Ahead of his launch show at The Bird this Friday, take a listen to Fight and get to know him a little better, below:
Tell us about yourself?
I guess I would describe myself as a queer Pakistani electronic music artist, currently based in Perth. As a child I lived in Tsukuba, Japan for a few years before making it to Australia and living a pretty closeted life as a queer Pakistani Muslim artist. My art is an expression of all those influences; particularly the battles I’ve gone through to express those things and connect them to my communities. I think it’s important in this age to use your platform for something, rather than just like to be a sheep in the industry; and that’s what music is to me.
What kinda tunes we talkin’?
Musically, I’m influenced by a lot of different things; but Hindi film music and 90s R&B top the list. As a Muslim kid in an orthodox family, I was unusually obsessed with Rage and Bollywood films of Madhuri - she’s kinda the Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood in the 80s/90s. That was where I found myself and my voice. Hindustani and Pakistani music is super melodic, and doesn’t really emphasise the concept of harmony, whereas R&R and neo-soul is way more harmonic - so they both end up complementing each other in a pretty poetic way.
Can you tell us about your new single, Fight?
I wrote Fight late last year; it was just like this beat with a floopy synth that i liked. This song is my survival manifesto; it’s about experiencing a lot of shit and coming out the other side, even if you’ve lost a lot along the way. Being an intersectional artist, I’ve pretty much struggled with all sorts of forms of identity suppression and politics around that. One person calls you a fag, the other calls you a terrorist, and that’s kinda just the way it is for my people. I guess all those ideas came to life through this song about fighting to survive and express yourself.
And your upcoming EP?
My debut EP is called Gulnaz. It’s a collection of songs from over the last year, which I’ve pretty much just written, produced and recorded in my bedroom. I didn’t really grow up in a musical environment; if anything, music is kinda like a luxury when you’re a South Asian migrant. So it kinda just became this thing I would do in the middle of the night on my second hand roland mc808 I bought off eBay. I eventually upgraded to Ableton and got a decent microphone and started getting into production more. The EP is a journey through that process; of finding your sound, or your voice, then like addressing the struggles that come with it the further you go along that journey.
Any shows coming up?
I’m launching the EP on August 3 at The Bird. After that I’m actually gonna lay low a bit, get out of the country and go to Pakistan for a couple months and do some gigs there, then think about gigging on the east coast.
What’s the rest of the year have in store?
Most of this year up to this point has been about this EP. I’ve got hundreds of songs just sitting on my laptop, and they’ll be coming out soon. I’m not great at like playing things by the rules. But I think what half of what I’m saying as an artist in Australia is stuff that people don’t really talk about on the radio - so I’m just gonna share more of what I have to say with Australia, and the world right now. The lead single from Gulnaz, SALAFI SECRETS, is also gonna get a visual - if I can organise that in time for Pakistan.
Where can we hear more of your music?
Follow ZĀN: FACEBOOK