In the Belgian capital, we meet the quartet founded by multi-instrumentalist and composer Nathan Daems. Together with Bart Vervaeck (guitarist), Lieven Van Pée (bassist) and Falk Schrauwen (drummer), they are on a mission to expand jazz music horizons spicing them up with psychedelia, influences from East Africa (Ethio-grooves), South Asia (Indian classical), the Balkans (Gypsy swing) and much, much more.
The musicians, who also enrich the line-up of bands like Black Flower and Compro Oro, have released their debut album Breakout eight months ago via referential Belgian contemporary jazz label W.E.R.F. Records. They are ready to take Womex by storm with their untamed rhythms and restless energy.
Then let us introduce you to Echoes of Zoo, their undomesticated sound and refined music taste, with a Q&A and a playlist compiled by the band members.
Can you briefly introduce your music to someone who is going to listen to it for the first time at Womex?
High energy psychedelic jazz with rock/dub sounds, with African grooves and with oriental melodies and improvisations. Cosmopolitan jazz, tempting your dance shoes to move.
Who and what are your music influences and where does your sound come from?
Balkan gypsy music, Middle-Eastern music, Beninese/Nigerian/Brazilian music, jazz music and the music of Rage Against the Machine. Some of the band members live in Brussels, which has one of the most international populations in the world and this affects our musical DNA profoundly. We naturally blend different styles in order to create a non-verbal message that amplifies the voice of the animal world, which is – if you listen closely – not at all voiceless.
As well as a Worldwide Music Expo, Womex is a good and proper global music fun fair. Is there anything you are looking forward to attending/enjoying during those five days?
Womex is a place where we will meet people who come from different places, but with whom we’ll surely want to connect with on a cultural, musical and even personal level. We feel at home in such a cosmopolitan environment. Cross-cultural exchange is deeply rooted in our DNA and Womex is one of the best places to invest in our future. Not only by looking for concerts or international booking agencies, but also by encountering fellow artists and other people who inspire us.
This Womex edition will happen in Porto. Have you ever been there and is there anything you are looking forward to doing/visiting/eating or drinking in the Portuguese city?
Yes, we have actually a special connection with several Portuguese speaking countries. Some of us do speak Portuguese very well and we even have Portuguese family members. In terms of ‘tourism’, Porto is still attractive to us but connecting with our fellow Portuguese sapiens and other fauna is the main thing we’re looking forward to.
It goes without saying that Covid-19, lockdowns and regulations have deeply affected the music world in the last 20 months. How do you think the “post-pandemic” music world is going to unfold and what will be the “new normal” in the world music scene?
We think that “the new normal” is not normal, as well as the old normal. Real normal would mean being more in tune with nature. What this means for the music business is something we’ll have to discover along the way — it’s hard to make predictions.
Womex is a unique opportunity to share and showcase your music with new people and let them know about your upcoming projects. Can you reveal to us some of your plans for the future?
We will definitely keep unleashing our still quite new album ‘BREAKOUT’ (which was released in March 2021) in all sorts of live environments, and aim for a bigger international market with that album and our live shows too. A lot of new music is already written as well, and we also plan on inviting some really cool international and befriended musicians for future projects.
Let’s say that you have to draft an invitation card for our readers to join you at Womex and enjoy your showcase. What would you write in it?
Porto, let’s take a dive together in the musical melting pot we’re thrilled to bring with us! Let’s break down all barriers and let the energy and adrenaline rush high. Join us on our psyched-out jazz trip through the city in all diversity, victory and freedom. BREAKOUT.
Balkan ornaments meet Brazilian rhythms
Gypsy scales meet fuzz guitars
Beninese grooves meet Turkish makam
Bass guitars meet Sufi rhythms
Rage riffs meet Kurdish trance
Indian raga meets western guitars
Romanian drums meet swing riffs
Tallava meets drum ‘n bass
Photo ©: Grégoire Verbeke
– Check out the previous Musical Road to Womex episodes HERE –