Interview: Yumi Zouma


Yumi Zouma made waves last year online receiving some much well deserved acclaim from the likes of mp3 taste-making blog Gorilla vs Bear, a photo essay from Portals, to bigger sites like Pitchfork.  Their hazy nostalgic pop is instantly likable and recognizable.  For a band that is scattered across the globe they have been pretty good about putting out quality material easily digested pop songs that stick with you long after they are played.  Yesterday, The Fader premiered a new track, “Song For Zoe & Gwen”, which has declared it “your new prom anthem” just in time for Spring. Their upcoming second EP appropriately titled EP II is out March 10 on Cascine with a gorgeous visual aesthetic that perfectly compliments their sound.  Recently they took some time out of their busy schedule to answer some questions I had via email.

Punchland: Who or what is Yumi Zouma?

Yumi Zouma: Yumi Zouma is a band from New Zealand. We’re 4 people 18-24 years old, we used to be 3, two of us are blonde, two are brunettes, one of us is secretly famous on instagram and at least one of us fell into the swamp at Willowbank as a child.

Punchland: Does living apart from each other hinder the band’s output/touring or is it more of an enjoyable way to go about doing this project?

Yumi Zouma: Yes it does :( It’s hard when we live on different sides of the world. If we all lived in one place we’d probably be able to do much more. But that is impossible.

Punchland: For a group that is so scattered and at the moment has small (but excellent) discography are there any plans to try and push it forward or just keep releasing stuff when it’s ready?

Yumi Zouma: Thank you. We are releasing a second EP in March this year. Of course we hope to keep releasing things and push forward. But the most important thing is to release things quickly and often.

Punchland: How have your live shows been so far and any memorable moments from them?

Yumi Zouma: Amazing, we never expected to be so well received in a live setting. Our shows always turn our small pop songs into these big rock moments, which is funny for us, but really enjoyable to play live. One of the most enjoyable shows was playing at Le Plage du Glazart in Paris last year, but touring with Lorde was a pretty incomprehensible experience as well.

Punchland: I know Chris Cantalini of Gorilla vs Bear loves your stuff (which is where I heard of you guys) what’s the relationship with him like?

Yumi Zouma: We don’t know him very well but he seems very nice! We’re very grateful that he has put us on his website.

Punchland: Wild Nothing remixed one of your songs any plans to work with Jack Tatum in the future?

Yumi Zouma: I don’t think so, but we won’t say no as i’m sure we’d be open to doing something if it came up.

EP II Cover Art

Punchland: How is the new EP different from the first?

Yumi Zouma: The new EP was very random. We cobbled together the first ideas that came to us in order to try and get together an EP for Cascine to release as we had told them that we had lots of songs when we didn’t really. The second EP is still a bit random, but a bit less, as we had more time (but not much more) to put our minds to it. It also features Christie Simpson who has since joined the band.

Punchland: “Alena” is a fantastic single and is way more upbeat than stuff off the first EP how did writing that song come about?  

Yumi Zouma: Thank you! Alena was a song that was brought together by a whole lot of ideas thrown like play-doh at a whiteboard or something. The Logic session for it looks a bit all over the place – there are heaps and heaps of tracks. It also went through a lot of re-edits before we settled on a final version. The first version sounded a bit insane, the final version is a nice compromise.

Yumi Zouma Tour Dates:

3/13 – EP Release Show @ Cameo Gallery – Brooklyn, NY
3/15 – GALAX Z FAIR @ Cine El Rey – McAllen, TX
3/17-21 – SXSW
4/9 – Le Pop Up du Label – Paris, France
4/10 – Bird, Motel Mozaique Festival – Rotterdam, Netherlands
4/11 – Rosi’s, Karrera Club – Berlin, Germany
4/18 – Red Gallery – London, UK


Watch the video for their latest single “Catastrophe” off the upcoming EP II


Yumi Zouma: