Photo: Press (Zombies In Miami)
Zombies In Miami‘s Canibal and Jenice – last names are for the living – look a lot healthier than their moniker implies, however they do also not seem to catch much sleep. In just about ten years, the Mexican duo has released a stunning series of EPs on labels like Correspondant, Bordello A Parigi or 2MR before signing to the German Permanent Vacation for their forthcoming debut album and launching their own label, aptly titled Creatures Of The Night. All while pursuing their respective solo careers, taking up DJing and working on their live project Planet ZIM, of course. Zombie In Miami’s mix for our Groove podcast reveals that there is even more to expect from the two: in between music from Mexican and international friends, you’ll find the occasional unreleased tune by themselves.
First off, how are you doing and what have you been up to?
We are doing well, we have been working in the studio on new music, lots of remixes and upcoming new projects while dealing with the quarantine. We are tying to be productive besides producing music, so we are gardening and building things in our countryside house.
You have taken part in the virtual RicoFest and contributed music to compilations like Empatía by Born In Mexico, highlighting your home country’s local scene. How do the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic affect you and other Mexican musicians economically? Does the state support you, are there initiatives from within the music community?
RicoFest was a virtual festival organized by the Rico, a multi-cultural and LGBTQI* club in Mexico City. They have a really cool vibe there with different music in each floor. They invited us to play months ago and we enjoyed the experience, so they invited us again for the festival. All the proceeds were given to the staff, drag queens, and artists involved. Born In Mexico its our booking agency, platform and home in the country since 2014. The compilation Empatìa is an initiative started by the crew to show empathy with the local artists and fans in these difficult days. It features some of the best Mexican producers like Pepe Mogt, Vongold, Balcazar, Süss, Pinto, Cabizbajo, Mystery Affair and more. It’s 50/50 female and male. The pandemic has affected Mexican musicians, promoters and clubs very severly, we started the quarantine one week after Europe. We were touring in Japan when things became crazy and we had to cancel the rest of our tour in Asia and Australia. From May till August we had a tour booked in Europe which of course now is cancelled. The gouvernment hasn’t helped us unlike in European countries, the prospects for the Mexican scene and the economy as a whole are very dark. Some DJs who made a living just with music had to find other ways to survive because a lot of people in Mexico live day-by-day.
After almost a decade of activity, you have released almost 20 releases, and are currently preparing your debut album, to be released later this year on Permanent Vacation. What can you already tell us about the record?
We are more than happy to finally have the album ready. It took years to find the right moment to put out this collection of tracks which represents our ten-year long journey, our travels, adventures, good times and the musical development of our sound. It’s an album full of Zombies In Miami sounds like italo, house, disco and our own classic vibe! We made eight tracks and we think it’s a great musical story. We have just released our first single called “Frodo” and the next one will be “Disco Nostalgia.” We cant wait to share it with all the world! Also we are inviting friends for a special remix release after the album.
How did you approach writing it in comparison to the many EPs you have put out so far?
We started to make this album in the beginning of 2019. We already had some solid ideas and took two months off to work only on the album. Usually when you are producing an EP you are trying to make a banging single or a solid record for the dancefloor. With the album, we tried to tell a story with different rhythms that are not 100% four-to-the-floor, some ambient tracks and lots of melodies. We were relaxed and inspired doing this because we didn’t have any pressure from the label and were free to do whatever we wanted. We are so happy to release our album on such a fine label like Permanent Vacation. Since the beginning of our Zombies in Miami career we wanted to put out something with them.
Your set-up is mostly hardware-based. Which gear was important when writing the album?
Usually we use about 90% of hardware in our live sessions. We use Ableton to run the Midi Clock and for other sounds. We like the interaction with the gear to work. To be honest though Ableton, headphones and some VSTs were key in the creation of the album. We traveled a lot last year before taking off the time to work on the the album. We had some ideas and made some sketches during our travels on Europe and America, so every free moment in airports, on trains, in buses and hotels was essential for the conception of the album. At home we used some gear like Roland synths and drum machines, NYX by Dreadbox, and did the vocals with pedals, arrangements and that’s it. The rest is history.
The track “Apache” came out on the recently launched Creatures Of The Night. What motivated you to start your own label and what is the philosophy behind it?
We were thinking about starting a label for years. Last year we tried to do it, but had many gigs and tours around the world and were working on the album, so it was impossible. We didn’t have the time until now, so we decided to start with some classic Zombies In Miami tracks which haven’t been released via Bandcamp yet, like “Apache” and “Mission 504.” In the meantime, we will properly start the label with one full Zombies in Miami EP that comes with a surprise remix. The release is ready now. The first – and our favourite – track is called “Horizon.” It should be out on vinyl hopefully this year. We were motivated to do this because we have a lot of unreleased stuff and we wanted to put it out whenever we feel like it, and also support Mexican artists who don’t have the chance to reach big labels. For sure we will also have international friends involved on the project. We can say that we have releases upcoming by artists like Joseeph and Bad Name Roy from Mexico. We also want to make this label about gender equality, so we are in the process to discover more talented people from home.
You are also active as a live act under the name Planet ZIM. What sets this project apart from the music you make under the Zombies In Miami moniker?
We as producers like so many genres like techno, reggae etc . In the studio we sometimes were having fun jamming with our hardware, and some of it we liked it a lot. We had a gig request from the Goethe-Institut in Mexico to play a special event with Dasha Rush and Kangding Ray so we decided to play a special live set as a surprise. Planet ZIM draws on techno and is very different from the classic Zombies in Miami sound. It was difficult for us to decide if we wanted to do it as Zombies in Miami or if it made more sense to start a different project, so we decided to create a new project together. Some event promoters invited us to play as Planet ZIM. We have only one release under this name in the Common Sense compilation with great artist like DJ Nobu, Peter Van Hoesen, Juan Sanchez and more. We have more material that we will release later this year. We would love to play with this project in Europe some time!
Apart from playing live, you have only recently started to DJ as a duo more frequently. What made you take this step and how do you approach DJing together as opposed to playing solo sets?
We wanted to explore a different way to play shows at clubs since the last half of 2019. Of course we love to play as a live act more than anything else because it’s our music and the people know us doing this. Also we had some issues in some clubs with the rider and it was almost impossible to fit all the gear in the booth and play live, so we ended up playing DJ sets. After this we talked about it and decided to offer both options. Both of us have different tastes in music but we can play together very well. Also both of us have solo gigs playing live or DJ sets with our different solo projects.
What was the idea behind your contribution to our Groove podcast?
The idea behind this mix is to share music by our Mexican and international friends, of course some new unreleased Zombies in Miami tracks and stuff from the album. The sound ranges from house and disco sounds to spanish electro like “Aun No,” breaks or trance by Kim Ann Foxman and our “Be Free” track for example. This is the kind of sound in our sets usually. We love to combine and explore different sounds quite similar like our live act.
Last but not least: what are your plans for the future?
All our plans are paused by the moment due to the situation, we are waiting to see the light after the storm. We have many plans like rescheduling our cancelled gigs in Asia and Australia, Europe and all those events were planned for our album tour. Also the album will be out in September and we can’t wait to have it in our hands. As we said our first vinyl record through our label should be out after this and Cani will start another label with Young Drums under the name Haunted Space Records. Jenouise is also working in her solo debut EP and Cani on his solo EBM and dark wave project Haunted Strasse.
Stream: Zombies In Miami – Groove Podcast 258
01. Cooper Saver – Reflection (Night Version)
02. Juan Maclean – Outriders Of Planet Shulginr (Aus Music)
03. Meduna – Twiniax (Gop Tun)
04. Cooper Saver – Cafe Tropical (Turbotito Remix) (Internasjonal)
05. Zombies In Miami, Lauer – Tom (Unreleased)
06. Young Drums – Los Chalanes Del Ritmo (Haunted Space)
07. Matisa – I Need A Bit Of Poetry (Kim Ann Foxman Remix) (Biologic Records)
08. Aun No – Boxes (Fulmen Records)
09. Zombies In Miami – Disco Nostalgia (Permanent Vacation)
10. Johannes Albert – Contra Pein (Renate Schallplatten)
11. AAAA – Phased Flash (Yuyu X Infinite Machine)
12. Overland – Emotional Propaganda (Cin Cin )
13. Kim Ann Foxman – Magic (Unreleased)
14. Zombies In Miami – Be Free (Unreleased)
15. Innershades – Another Dimension (Cabaret Records)
16. Von Gold – Kiss Goodbye (Born In Mexico)