One in a Zillionaire   13 Jul 2006

Georgia Power

Zillionaire is a London-based band of three North Islanders: Stephan Tomasek (vocals, guitar), Anthony Hall (guitar), Mark Meharry (bass) and a British drummer, Lee Moulds. Their debut album Comfort In The Machine is due to be released later this year.

Founding members Tomasek and Hall belonged to different bands in Wellington before uniting in London in 2001 to form the band that became Zillionaire. Comfort In The Machine was originally recorded in Hall’s bedroom on Abbey Road but has recently undergone a revamp as some tracks have been re-recorded and re-mixed by producer Paul Shroeder who has worked with The Stone Roses and The Verve.

• Does your band name reflect your ambitions?

Quite the opposite, the name came from a lyric from an old song that Anthony the guitarist had written Zillionaire can I sleep on your couch? We all liked the irony, it suggests unimaginable wealth and yet we had just recorded an entire album in a bedroom, with a PC, some outdated music recording software and one old battered sm58 microphone.

• To those unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your sound?

I think our sound has a lush and vintage quality, the record is somewhere between Air and Jeff Buckley, there are processed beats married to emotive, rock-influenced guitar music. Live we are more of a rock band … we haven’t quite learned to play with the technology we used recording.

• Do you feel your music is influenced by the Kiwi rock tradition?

I hope so, there are New Zealand bands I saw when I was starting out in a band that influenced the way I saw music, Bailter Space and Straight Jacket Fits for instance created such amazing sound-scapes. There are songs on the album that unashamedly long for the isolation of New Zealand. We recorded it in the middle of winter in a flat in London and I think the homesickness comes through.

• How is making music in London different to making it in New Zealand?

It’s a lot harder here for a start. Space is at such a premium that rehearsal rooms cost a fortune and getting everyone there is more of an effort due to the distance you need to travel. The band I came over with only managed about 10 rehearsals in the first year. You find ways of overcoming it but we didn’t have enough time for my last band whose visa’s ran out before we had figured out a strategy. Zillionaire have been a lot more successful in that respect.

• What inspires your music?

The music we love, life, everything really. Music just happens if you do it enough.

• Which music do you and the band like to listen to yourselves?

We all have varied music taste, there are common threads like the Beatles/Pink Floyd/Stone Roses but after that our CD collections are fairly different. At the minute Anthony loves the Flaming Lips and I have rediscovered Otis Redding over the last couple of days, beautiful.

• What can audiences expect from you live?

A pretty good show if I do say so myself. We have had some great visuals done for our entire set that we project behind us when we play. That adds a cool visual element to our amazing music!

• What is the best gig you have ever played?

Knebworth 78 was pretty good. Oh hang on – that wasn’t us!

• What are your plans for the rest of 2006?

Our album hasn’t been released yet, should be in September. We released this album in 2004 but Paul Schroeder, a great producer, has helped us remix and re record it in a proper studio so it sounds so lush now. I can’t wait to get it out there.

• Kiwi bands Zillionaire, Conan & The Mockasins, Revere, Rodney Fisher (from Goodshirt) will be playing at The Luminaire, 311 Kilburn High Road, NW6 7JR, on July 15. Doors open at 7pm with DJs playing until 2am. Cost is £3 on the door. For more information visit www.theluminaire.co.uk.

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