Why New Zebra Kid Rules (2015)
So I have been asked the question “Why Does New Zebra Kid Rule?”. Why? Let me count thy ways. I’m relatively new to hearing about this super catchy 80’s influenced synth-pop outfit based out of London, ON. Aaron Simmons, the driving force behind New Zebra Kid has had many different incarnations of the band – mostly solo/duo setups up until the beginning of 2014 when he added Greggy Clypse, the production mastermind, Jordan Pearson of Halcyon and Political Séance and Kelly Van Raay, synth extraordinaire. Last year NZK released a single called “Romantic Illusions” that totally caught my ear when I first heard it. It was a smooth, sensual and pretty-sounding synth-laden pop track that instantly made me feel like dancing and/or buying a red leather suit a la Eddie Murphy in RAW. At the time, my friend Brian and I were beginning to put together a line-up for a festival we run in the summer time downtown Guelph called Incline Decline. After hearing “Romantic Illusions”, I knew we had to have NZK as a part of the festival. After a few quick messages to our soon-to-be buddies, New Zebra Kid was booked to play Guelph.
The lineup for the night was an eclectic mix and, after 8 bands (All of which were a mixture of noise/drone or straight up punk rock), NZK was set to take the stage around 1AM. The crowd was confused when New Zebra Kid began to setup; Where were the drums? Where were the loud guitar amps? But as soon as they began to play, everyone began to understand that something special was taking place. New Zebra Kid pumped out 80’s dance anthem after 80’s dance anthem while the crowd swayed and danced along to the sampler and harmonized synths. Aaron belted out his various odes to love in a cinematic and catchy fashion that everyone caught on to very quick.
Since their initial Guelph performance, I have had the pleasure of getting to know all of the members of the band and have seen New Zebra Kid in a variety of settings and, each time, they blow me away. Each member is a musical encyclopedia and their breadth of knowledge on 70’s/80’s pop music is astonishing. With such knowledge on music, it’s easy to see where the band draws influence from but not in a copycat manner – NZK truly makes something unique and powerful and something that is completely their own. Why does New Zebra Kid Rule? Simple. They make music that rules and can be appreciated by such a vast population of people. It’s smooth. It’s sexy. It’s catchy. And most importantly, it’s hard to ignore the urge to get on the dance floor and let loose whenever an NZK song comes on.
Once again at Kazoo Fest 2015, New Zebra Kid has been booked on a mixed bill with punk bands and I can’t wait for the surprised looks on everyone’s faces at the Jimmy Jazz on Saturday night. And please, don’t mind me slow-grinding by myself.