Henry Binns (of Zero 7) Interview
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Interviews, Music.
Electronic crooners Zero 7’s recent follow up to the highly acclaimed 2004 album When It Falls, The Garden, touches on a unique blend of suburban beats and grassroots tones. Throughout the development of the group’s sound came a tendency to rely on the plentiful resources of other musicians to add a diverse tone to the group’s music. In doing so When It Falls took on roughly twenty musicians in its final production and Zero 7 members Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker found themselves artistically burnt out, and yet, curiously searching for more. The Garden takes a different approach, working with only two guest musicians, longtime Zero 7 collaborator Sia Furler and the king of Swedish indie rock, Jose Gonzales. In this short Q&A Henry Binns discusses touring with James Blunt, translating his own success and regrets surrounding the recording of The Garden.
If you were to try and explain Zero 7’s sound to someone who knows nothing of your music, what would you tell them?
Henry Binns: This is my worst question. I absolutely don’t know how to describe things. I think I’d just give them a CD.
How have you translated the success from When It Falls and the contribution to the Garden State soundtrack? Do you feel that ultimately the group’s success will be hindered or helped by it?
Henry Binns: I really don’t know. It’s difficult to have a perspective on your own work, or to know what it is in it that other people relate too. Ask me that question again when I’m an old man looking back at it all!
How did the collaboration with Jose Gonzales come about and do you see future recordings going to back to more of a collaborative process?
Henry Binns: We heard his CD while we were touring the last album in Scandinavia. When we started work on this album we heard he was doing some gigs in London and went to see him play. We just got in touch with him after that and got him to listen to some of the tracks we were working on. He liked them, so he came down to my gaff in Glastonbury and we did some writing together, and all really liked what we came up with. As for the collaborative process, we felt just as collaborative with the artists we worked with on this album, as on any of the others. In fact we actually got to spend more time with the people we worked with than we ever have been able to before. But we have never really planned who will be on what album, it has just sort of come about. I have found working with different singers has come about in quite an organic way, who’s feeling different tracks, who’s voice I can hear in my minds ear. I can see myself working with everybody who we’ve worked with before, and equally with someone new I might hear.
What plans do you currently have for the upcoming European tour?
Henry Binns: Our record company persuaded us to be support to James Blunt round Europe, they thought it might broaden our listener ship. It unfortunately costs a lot of money to put our band on the road. We would love to do our own European tour in the autumn, but we’ll have to wait and see.
If there was one thing that you could have done different with The Garden what would it have been?
Henry Binns: There’re probably about 100 things I would have done differently, but it is equally important not to labour over things too long or get obsessive about small details. It would be impossible for me to say just one thing.