Created in Epworth's own studio it is undoubtedly among this year's most striking debuts. The title, lifted from Dave's favorite childhood story, comes from
William Steig's The Zabajaba Jungle. Steig's evocation of childhood adventure, exoticism and discovery is brilliantly fresh. ZABA is one complete beast
and a journey you will get most from if you immerse yourself fully and listen from start to finish. The sound of the record, Dave says, is like a backdrop
of man-made wilderness...
Influenced by the exploratory, New World scenarios of Apocalypse Now, The Island of Dr Moreau, Heart of Darkness, The African Queen and Mosquito
Coast, ZABA's songs tackle the humanization of nature and human interference with nature. Even now a lot of my favorite books are those books that I
grew up with, he says. Things like Zabajaba, like Roald Dahl, like Wind in the Willows. I suppose all I've been doing is using those little creatures and
animals to cover up what I really meant, to disguise who and what I was really talking about.
Inspired by Kanye West and Charles Darwin, Nina Simone and the Velvet Underground, ZABA is a rich and textured work, a very special record indeed.
With Dave producing and Epworth as A&R and mentor, the studio became their home and the band were free to record, improvise and write at their own
speed, making their sound a bigger, brighter, heavier and more intense experience than ever before.
The first single, Gooey is wobbly and child-like, a hymn to naivety. There's a confidence in the way children act, Dave says. I was trying to push that
confidence into the beat. Walla-Walla goes back to Dave's love of Timbaland and Dr Dre, while Intruxx, initially the introduction to the entire record,
summarizes this entire new world you're entering.
2. Black Mambo
5. Walla Walla
10. Cocao Hooves