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Zootopia

Cityscape jams with Too Many Zooz’s trumpeting legend Matt Doe on rocking the New York subway, YouTube fame, brass house and why you have to check out their set at Electric Avenue this month.

Tell us about how Too Many Zooz got together.
I met Leo at Manhattan School of Music and we became good friends. Years later he met King (of Sludge, a.k.a. David Parks) playing in the subway with a band called The Drumadics. At that time I was crashing at Leo’s place, and one day he was going to play with David, and basically didn’t want me to just hang at his spot, so he asked me to come with. Ha ha! We played and it felt good. Decided to keep doing it. Five years later and now we’re here!

You guys got your start busking on the New York subway – what’s the craziest thing that went down while you were working?
The subway is a busy place with a lot of stuff going on constantly. So yeah, we definitely saw some crazy sh*t. What was the craziest? I’ll say this – never underestimate crackheads!

What was it like making the transition from busking band to stage shows?
Well, we had all played individually with other bands in clubs all around NYC, so it wasn’t something that was completely new to us. But yeah, developing a real 1.5 hour ‘show’ is a challenge, and definitely different from the way we performed in the subway. So it took some time to make that transition – practice makes perfect.

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for Too Many Zooz, from busking to a viral Youtube vid to Stateside and European tours and now making it all the way to New Zealand. How do you find the touring life?
Touring is cool. It’s just like anything else in the way that it’s a routine. So for me, it’s really just about making touring as much like home as I can. Keep my routine of reading, writing, practicing, working out, etc. It’s when you turn into a nomad that you know the road has gotten the better of you – ha ha. So many dudes love to get super f**ked-up every night on tour. I have no idea how!

You’ve described your genre of music as ‘brass house’, which is pretty new to us here. What can you tell us about it?
Brass house is a genre NOW, but back then it’s just what we called our music. For me, brass house, more than being a genre, is a feeling of democracy and a group of individuals relishing in a riveting conversation. Brass house can sound like so much different stuff. Hip hop, jazz, electronic dance music, etc... so for me it symbolises an approach more than it does a sound, per se. I hope that makes sense – ha ha.

Should we ask why David’s nickname is King of Sludge?
No! What you should be asking is: ‘Why is the King of Sludge’s nickname David?’

What’s next for the band?
We’re working on a sophomore album right now. Been in the studio and on the road, mostly. Lots of exciting stuff planned for 2018. Still a ton of shows, but some other cool stuff I can’t talk about yet.

Why do we have to see your set at Electric Avenue?
Our show really is an experience. I don’t know what else to really say about it. There’s so much time and love that has gone into this music, and we love performing for people. I think it’s one of those things you’re better off seeing, rather than have me try to explain it on paper.

Anything you’re hoping to get to do offstage while you’re here?
I’m really into The Lord of the Rings and all that stuff, ha, so I wanna go check out where they filmed that stuff. That and just a bunch of stuff outdoors I guess. Oh! And as always, get in the studio and make some more music. Locals holler!

Electric Avenue
Hagley Park, Feb 24
www.electricavenuefestival.co.nz

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