Interview Conducted by:
Local music duo Zeequil is just one of many talented acts this year performing in the annual WOMADelaide festival. Adelaide singer Lizzie Bradley and London born Mehdi El-Aquil have teamed up together to create a unique body of work that reflects each of their respective styles. Lizzie's soft vocals melt effortlessly with Mehdi's musical pieces to create a soulful, relaxed sound that is incredibly distinctive. This combination of driving bass, melodic string lines, percussive beats and free-floating vocals will certainly be an act this year that no Adelaide festivalgoer will want to miss.
How did you guys meet?
When I got back from 7 years in London, I asked my good friend & DJ Sam Walker if he knew any good music producers. I was looking for my “Lamb Man” – (inspired by the UK group Lamb - with vocalist Lou Rhodes & producer Andy Barlow).
Sam instantly thought of Mehdi and arranged to meet up at Sugar nightclub where Mehdi was DJing. We chatted and found that we had so much in common. He’s originally from London and we used to go to similar gigs/festivals over there. Mehdi used to DJ around London and Ibiza, and I had sung at Festivals like Glastonbury and Wickerman in the UK, and toured Europe too. We both chose to live in Adelaide for family and lifestyle reasons.
He showed me round his studio the week after and we started creating.
When did you start creating music?
The beginning of 2012. We recorded around 16 tracks and picked 10 tracks to release on our 1st LP ‘Here’ at the end of 2013.
Where do you each draw inspiration from when creating new music?
Our creative process is very intuitive. Mehdi's inspired by playing around with rhythms or analogue sounds in his studio. He then produces the track using a MPC for beats, a huge selection of analogue equipment including modular analogue synths and tops it off with live percussion. He doesn’t turn on the computer until way down the creative process, just to record and layer the ideas.
When the track’s finished, he uploads it to me. I set up the track in my studio, on a program called Reaper. I put on my headphones, press record and let the track inspire me. I usually improvise 3 times to find a verse and chorus that sticks and then I build up the vocal tracks from there. Finally adding harmony tracks and having lots of fun producing the delay tracks! I send it back to Mehdi to listen to and then we get together to edit and mix.
Where are some of your favorite places to perform?
We love playing FutureSounds festivals in Adelaide, run by Patrick and Tom who put on the fortnightly electronic gigs called Sidechain. We also played a great gig at Ancient World called Messin’ Around – put on by Anth Wendt (Oisima) and Troy J Been. And Square Mile Festival last year – it’s a daytime festival in the parklands.
Do you ever disagree when making new music? How do you solve this?
Honestly, we have never disagreed when making new music! We each have our distinct roles and respect each other’s process. We allow each other pure uncensored artistic rights to create whatever comes. It’s a brilliant process.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your careers so far?
Playing Blenheim Festival last year & playing Womadelaide 2016!
For Womadelaide, we’re joined on stage by Chris Teusner on percussion and Juancho Manrique on keyboards, which heightens the whole live experience.
What advice would you have for other emerging Adelaide artists?
Keep on creating! Don’t worry what other people might think about what you’re producing, just create it and get it out into the world. Use Soundcloud to connect with other people, do some live shows, make a website, spread the word… and see what happens!
What is the future for Zeequil?
We’re releasing an EP this year with the new dance tracks that we recorded for Womadelaide. It will still have our signature deep hypnotic style: soulful, jazz-inflected vocals over world-flavoured dubbed-out house beats with driving bass and melodic string lines. We’re aiming to play more festivals around Australia. We could just live in festival land – We love it!
You can catch Zeequil at this years WOMADelaide Festival!
Relevant program information can be found HERE