Full of Parisian melancholy, bouncy leftfield dance and electronic pop, Zilla’s music is a fantasy filled with imaginary friends and monsters. This is a nocturnal tale of obsession, of relationships behind closed doors, of the secrets we hide, of a daydreamer’s take on life and the way we wish to be remembered after we die.
Recorded with renowned experimental producer Matthew Herbert, the beats on Zilla’s debut material were made by turning objects collected by Zilla into conceptual instruments. Everything has a direct relation to the stories told in the songs: listen closely and you’ll hear workers drilling outside, the tape of a space echo machine, a bunch of oyster shells and an electric toothbrush…
“Working with Matthew Herbert was an incredible opportunity,” she says. “I was always a fan of his work, especially the Roisin Murphy album. I wasn’t aware that he liked working with objects, an idea I found super-exciting but also daunting.”
Born and raised in Paris, Zilla is a singer, songwriter and producer who trained as a classical pianist at a Parisian conservatoire for 10 years before moving to London at 18. There she started writing piano-based music over hip hop beats, inspired by her favourite composers and experimental electronica. It’s a globe-trotting sound that reflects her heritage: Zilla’s mother is the Ivory Coast ambassador to Denmark, her father a chemistry professor who fled Guinea’s dictatorship in the 1970s.
“Piano taught me how to escape – whether it was home, school or the world – and find a place where I could be pure and honest with myself,” she says.
Before hooking up with Herbert, she wrote for artists like Tinie Tempah and Wretch32 with Yogi, a group of hip hop producers.