It was Friday night of Rhythmtree and Z-Star, hailing from Brighton had just blown the top off the Didge Cafe. One of the best acts I saw all Summer lead by front woman Zee Gachette who’s incredible vocals and guitar skills were met with awe on the night. All members of the band are highly talented and Sebastien Heintz on guitar was beyond brilliant. I had a chance to talk Zee, Sebastien, Lee Spreadbury and Larry Mark after their set here’s what they had to say….
Start at the beginning how did Z-Star start?
Zee Gachette- We all just kind of got together. I met Seb at a jam, it was at a mutual friend of ours, a French artist and he had a jam and Seb was playing and I was like that guitarist is crazy! Then we were jamming and we thought let’s do some stuff together. Then with Lee and Larry actually I advertised. I said I needed a keyboard player and Lee sent me this video of him playing keys and it was just incredible, the groove on those keys! Yeah and so I met these guys and these two (referring to Lee and Larry) are like family they’re like brothers.
Watching you play you’re a very tight band, you do seem like a close knit little group, I’m almost surprised that’s how you all met it comes across that you’ve been friends for years!
Zee – Well what better way to make friends! You know what I mean? And the funny thing is when make these friends and they become everything to you and they are family. That’s what we are, that’s the vibe, because we are together, we play together.
(Talking direct to Zee) – You have a voice that would be perfect for blues or jazz or motown or so many things, what was it that drew you to this genre of music?
Zee – It’s just what I love. That would be a long story if I really went into the whole thing. But I got to a stage where I thought to myself I want to play songs I want to listen to, it was a natural progression for me. A friend of mine, a ‘Jazz’ friend funnily enough lent me a 1950 telecaster and it was the business and I kept it with me for the whole weekend, I even slept with it next to me and that was it from that point I thought right that’s it I just want to play electric guitar.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Zeppelin, Prince and Hendrix and you’ve been personally complimented by Jimmy Page, how does it feel receiving those kind of compliments?
Zee – Well when I met Jimmy it was really good, it was just, ahh. I never thought I was going to meet Jimmy Page in my lifetime! You know I mean who thinks they’re going to meet Jimmy Page? Maybe I might see him from afar. So it was at the Brighton music awards and I was picking up an award for best live act and Jimmy Page and Roger Daltrey were handing out the awards and I had to get on stage. We had to play a song, it was actually one we played tonight and he was just crazy for it! He was so down to earth, so sweet and so nice everything you’d want your guitar God to be, approachable and human. And the fact they appreciate what you’re doing it was just unbelievable. The thing is as well other musicians can tell when a musician is about the music, it’s not about the bullshit, it’s just about the music the expression of it, the energy of it and the reality of it. Just wow.
So you recently went on tour to Australia how was that?
Zee – Seb and I went
Sebastien – It was amazing, it’s the best place ever it was great.
Zee – Second best place
Seb – Yeah it was just great, musically as well
Zee – We wrote a lot of songs, we met some great people, other musicians, we played some great festivals. We did some workshops as well going into schools that was really good.
Ah that’s lovely
Zee – Well it wasn’t just about playing on stage. We like to give back a bit too and share some of that knowledge and what we do and how it feels. I think they just wanted to see someone play really fast (talking about Sebastien) some guitar hero stuff.
So you are an unsigned band what advice would you give to other bands starting up who want to go down that path and do it all themselves?
Zee – Well the things is these day because of the internet it makes it easier. Someone once told me a band only needs to have 2000 dedicated to fans to actually survive as a fully working band. If you play, live or work as a musician that’s all you need. I mean it’s great to have a “major” deal if they’re going to put a good marketing budget behind you otherwise, if you have a good team around you i.e. a good agent these other things, a good band sometimes, it can be more lucrative to just do good stuff. Be underground for a while, get a good fan base and then you build and you build and build
Lee – We’ve done that, it tooks ages.
Zee – It can take a while. I think that before artists and stuff would wait to be validated by a record label as a musician. You don’t need to be validated anymore in that way. All you need to do is to work and connect with your music lovers, use facebook and twitter those kind of things. Just connect and work hard. It takes time, if you want to be a pop star go on X-factor if you want to be a musician take your time. I think it takes about 10 years of like 10,000 hours of practice to be a dedicated musician. It’s hard work but you can do it! – That’s a bit serious but I just want musicians who are trying to understand that you can do it, you don’t even need a day job you just have to apply yourself, take the opportunities, write songs and just be passionate about your music.
Any last message you’d like to leave with our readers?
Zee – Well we’ve got a new album coming out, yeah just check us out. Anything else we want to say?
Larry – I want to say be true to yourself.
Everyone – Yeah
– Damn Straight!
Zee – And the thing about being true to yourself is that some people aren’t sure of who they are and that’s fine, it’s ok. It takes time, some people just know and some people need to fall into themselves and at some point you’ll be there. So just remember everything’s going to be ok. Just trust in yourself.