Today, USOUNDS talks with Henry Binns of Zero 7
USOUNDS: Billy Ocean and I chill out to your new album, The Garden all the time. Billy Ocean is actually a water pipe and not the greatest of all time rhythm and blues tinged international pop performer of this century. Anyway, your singing debut is featured on The Garden. Zero 7 is notorious for having guest singers, but do you plan on singing more tracks yourself in the future?
Henry: I really don’t know. Singing on this one was a bit of a happy accident, so, we’ll see………what do you think? Should I? Am I any good?
USOUNDS: A million times, yes. You might even think about doing a duet cover of “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love for You” with Sia and then remixing the shit out of it. Now that I think about it, if Billy Ocean ever has an accident, Peabo Bryson would make a fantastic successor. The Garden seems a little more upbeat than your previous records. Anything you wanna tell us about the new album?
During their free time, Henry stands guard while Sam stuffs a few dead bodies in the woodchipper.
Henry: I could probably start all my answers with I don’t know, but I ‘spose that would be pretty boring to read about. We never really planned any of our records to be a certain way, downbeat or upbeat or whatever. But I suppose they just reflect how we were feeling, and what we were going through when we made them. And yes, with this record we were feeling good, I’d just moved out to the countryside with my family and I built this little studio and we were just having a lot of fun with different friends and musicians coming down to stay. So I guess, you could say, we were generally feeling in a good mood when we wrote it. We really enjoyed making this record; it didn’t feel like going to work every morning.
USOUNDS: How would you describe your live show? You’ve been known to have up to 20 people performing on stage at once. Does one of them just dance like that dude from The Bosstones?
Henry: Yeah, we have some freaky dancing and that. We’ve made the live show quite different from the album. You might even want to get up and jump around. Well, I hope you do. But there are not so many people coming on and off stage with this one.
USOUNDS: Are nightclubs better in Honduras?
Henry: It seemed like it at the time. Compare cold rainy nights hanging about in London, paying £20 to get in to a fairly minging little dive, hoping you’ll have time to catch the kebab shop on the way home. To hot steamy nights, paying nothing to bounce about in a shack by the sea, amazing freaky people who really can dance, good rum all night. It does have a bit more romance doesn’t it?
USOUNDS: Sounds slightly better than the perv-infested dive bar I hang out at where alcoholics go to die while marinating in a haze of body odor. You were on the Garden State soundtrack. How much do you think Zach Braff can bench?
Henry: I have no idea what ‘can bench’ means. We don’t have that expression this side of the pond.
USOUNDS: When you two have an argument about an arrangement or specific sound on a track, do you solve the disagreement with a game of Mousetrap or Hungry Hungry Hippos? These are your only two choices.
Henry: Obviously mousetrap. And it’s a very, very long game.
USOUNDS: You haven’t remixed any Gnarls Barley songs. Is it because remixing a Gnarls Barkley song is like pissing on the faces of a hundred grandmothers?
Henry: Nothing nearly as romantic as that. We simply have never been asked to remix a Gnarls Barkley song.
USOUNDS: What are you favorite recent albums?
Henry: Come on mate, can’t you tell I only ever listen to music recorded in the seventies? No, really, I am very into Sufjan Stevens, all his stuff, and a guy called Todd Rudgren. And Jose Gonzalez, hence the happy collaboration.
USOUNDS: Would you say that Jose Gonzalez parties like it’s 1999 or like it’s 1999999 BC?
Henry: Jose, is a very lovely, very mellow guy. Yeah, he seems pretty quiet, but when you get to know him, you know, he’s got some pretty hot hip-hop moves.
USOUNDS: I’ll bet he’s just like a half-man/half-ram fur-covered shaman, kinda like the main character from Wild Animus. Have you ever thought about remixing someone’s remix? Is that legal or even physically possible? Wouldn’t that open up some sort of inter-dimensional portal unleashing the fiendish creatures mankind has created in the darkest corners of their own psyches?
Henry: Not really unleashing crazy things like that. It’s only music. Everything’s an interpretation of an interpretation of an…………… I am very often tempted to remix my own tracks actually, I was thinking of using a pseudonym so I could get away with it. Maybe people would think there was this hot new underground remix duo. But it would really only be us again.
USOUNDS: Ha! Do you have any good stories about partying your asses off with Jose Gonzalez? If not, can you make some up?
Henry: Well, that would be giving the game away wouldn’t it? Just don’t judge a book by its cover, that’s all I’m saying.
USOUNDS: Going back to the live shows, where was the best stop and why?
Henry: Well, so far this time it’s been Leeds. The crowd was just so up for it. When a crowds up for it like that you just get such a buzz off it, the gig was off-the-hook.
USOUNDS: There have been rumors of an upcoming US tour. Anything you can tell us about that?
Henry: Yup, We shall be touring the states during August and September this year. We’re really looking forward to it.
USOUNDS: What is the craziest dream you’ve ever had?
Henry: I don’t remember my dreams very often; I think there was one once where my mother was in a space suit. That was a bit weird.
USOUNDS: That does sound little bizarre. Hopefully it was Close Encounters of the Third Kind style. I’m pretty sure my mom would nail Richard Dreyfuss. (Even present day Dreyfuss.) Now there’s a space suit that would stay on for approximately three seconds. Why do children love to dance?
Henry: I would say that’s a bit of a sweeping generalization. Just like the adults that children later become, some like to dance, some don’t, some are very embarrassed, and some very embarrassing. Like my mother in the space suit.
USOUNDS: Tell me about it. Thanks Henry, and good luck on the North American tour!