SXSW Artist Spotlight: Zuli
Imagine a longboard cruising down a cement boardwalk. To your left is an expanse of sand. Off the pace is the ocean, refracting the rays of the sun. It’s beginning to set. You’ve got your sunglasses on, but you can still see that the sky is a mix of rich oranges, yellows and pinks. The wind is whipping nice and cool through your hair. Yet, it’s barely moving the fronds of the surrounding palm trees. You’re simply cruising down the boardwalk past others walking their dogs, getting ice cream, laughing and enjoying life. You’re just cruising and life is good. Then, everything around you pauses. You keep rolling down the boardwalk. You’re still smiling, but it’s as if you’re stuck in the most elaborate mannequin challenge known to man. Everything you roll past is still. You continue like this for a while, undeterred, and then everything picks back up. Laughter resumes, vendors pass ice cream cones back out and dog walkers resume step. That’s the feeling Zuli’s music injects into its listeners.
Zuli is an indie pop-rock, psychedelic band from Long Island, New York. They have a beachy-feel-good-sing-along-with-a-touch-of-trippy-sound. Ryan Camenzuli is the frontman, founder, and creator of the band. He’s the man behind the music and its name sake. Get it? Ryan Camenzuli. Ryan’s first introduction to music was with piano lessons as a child. At the age of 11, his father gave him his first electric guitar. Ryan has “always been really drawn to music with raw in your face energy as well as textured, intricate music that has the simplicity of pop,” according to an interview with Nylon. He strives to create “honest and timeless melodies.” During a live interview with New Sounds, he said that, “the melody, and you know things like that, are the most true things to me in terms of writing songs and then after that everything else is just giving it a weird twist.”
On Human Freakout Mountain is Zuli’s first full-length album. Released on October 28, 2017, it certainly is full of nice melodies and weird twists. The debut album landed them in Rolling Stones “10 New Artist You Need to Know: November 2017”. Below is the music video for “kubadriver”, the third track off of the album.
While the music scene in Long Island, NY isn’t the hottest, Ryan and the guys are a part of a collaborative collective of artists and musicians in Long Island by the name of “Contemplate.” The boys will be leaving their hometown and begin touring with their first show on March 6th, in Charlotte, North Carolina. They’re also featured on the SXSW lineup in Austin, Texas to play on March 13th. Check them out on other platforms: