Artists / Bands — March 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm

An Interview with ZOO, Creators of the New and Undefined


Indonesia’s ZOO are not your average experimental rock band, nor are they willing to change. They have their feet firmly placed where they want to be and it’s refreshing to see a band who defies the borders and natural overlapping of genres. Imagine a mixture of math rock with a fresh blend of traditional Indonesian music topped with ethnic and tribal inspired vocal chants. Add in the wild intensity of front man Rally Shaballa and amplify by 10. There really is only one way to experience this Yogyakarta band and that’s live.

The band are to embark on a four-city tour around Asia and it would be a sin to miss these guys. We caught up with vocalist Rully who gave us an insight into the band’s individualistic take and the secret to their live shows.

ZOO has had quite the transformation in sound since the band’s inception and you can now comfortably label your music as new and undefined. What sets you apart from other bands in the scene?

I guess the difficulty for people to label our music is already setting us apart from any available categories. While most bands these days are mainly taking influences from the 60s, 70s, 80s or the 90s, we are taking music from primitive era instead, the traditional music of our own, then apply them to the use of modern instrument and modern vocalizations. Of course this would generate something new and undefined, not something that was found in the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc.


Human ambition of immortality and deterioration of cultural roots are the main focal point of your lyrics, such a deep and potentially sensitive topic to touch on. Who and what inspires you?

The ‘who’ would be us and the ‘what’ would be our behaviours in modern civilization. We can’t escape these behaviours, for better or worse. And that intrigued me to form a band and write a bunch of different lyrics for different albums.


People are drawn to you by your intense and eccentric live shows. What’s your secret to connecting with an audience?

It’s energy and it’s not actually a secret because like everything else in life, in order to connect to other people, we should transmit energy or exchange energy to each other. We need the audience’s energy as well during our live shows. The more energy they give, the more we return to them.


How do you prepare for these performances and keep things fresh?

We try to get enough sleep and be selective in our set list.


Do you plan to take your music to new territories in the future?

Of course we do that every time when we make a new album. It’s easy for us to reach different territories because we don’t have specific label? If we are an obvious metal band or a punk band, for instance, it would be hard to play around in other ballpark because people would think that we are inconsistent. But lucky for us it’s what we do. We love to play in other ballparks even though we play a completely different sport.


Catch ZOO at their upcoming shows

21 Mar, Thurs – Night & Day, Singapore
22 Mar, Fri – Tampin, Malaysia
23 Mar, Sat – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – with Tragedy (US)
24 Mar, Sun – Penang, Malaysia





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