Zilla With Her Eyes Shut – Rainbows

Stringing together themes from RnB, vocal pop and leftfield electronics, Paris born ZWHES is carving out a reputation for herself as one of the most exciting names in experimental pop music. A classically trained pianist, she cut her teeth writing for artists like Wretch32 and Tinie Tempah, before moving on to focus on her own solo output. Her talents as a songwriter and performer are evident, her work sitting somewhere between the crunch of the avant-garde and the joy of a good hook. Her refusal to be creatively constrained impressed Accidental label boss Matthew Herbert, “I like the fact that Zilla can sit at a piano and bash out some Rachmaninov and Debussy, but chose instead to make an ahead-of-its-time record out of the ephemera of ordinary life.”

‘Rainbows’ has been lifted directly from her acclaimed, self-titled album of deeply personal stories, which ranged from memories of childhood trauma, mysterious injuries sustained sleepwalking and coming to terms with the voices in her head. Sounds for the beats, produced by label boss Matthew Herbert, were sourced from everyday objects pertinent to the stories being shared. Praise for the album has not been in short supply, with notable fans including Lauren Laverne, Mixmag, Clash Magazine and Huw Stephens, who said “I haven’t heard anything like it…it’s phenomenal”.

While still built from the same DNA as the rest of the album, ‘Rainbows’ formed one of its softer, more soporific moments. It follows a story of finding the gift in pain and of embracing it with open arms.

I broke up with my ex in Shanghai, one of my favourite cities in the world. I remember walking in the rain in a loud, busy street, with so many people around, but everything felt so still, echoey and silky smooth (like the chants). It was a mixture of the pain (rain) and the euphoria of being in Shanghai (the rainbow).

The piece moves at an easy pace, with Zilla’s arresting, bittersweet vocal performance in both English and Mandarin, framed by some beautifully understated, ethereal production work. At the forefront, meticulous layers of voice and melody capture focus, while muted percussion and subtle harp work add an injection of colour to the rich sonic picture. The single will be available October 2nd, and the full album is out now to stream and download through the Accidental Bandcamp page.