With a recent string of UK-wide live dates behind them & currently gearing up for the festival season. Zervas & Pepper are now making waves across UK National Radio stations with singles from their brand new LP release ‘LIFEBRINGER’ The long awaited follow-up album to their 2011 harmony-heavy, Evocative Folk pop debut ‘Somewhere in the City’. Paul Zervas & Kathryn Pepper’s sunny ‘cosmic’ folk rock music continues to earn them Fans in high places ”So sweet & heady are their harmonies, you owe it to yourself to check them out” Stuart Maconie- Radio Times. Strong Radio support comes from BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music with appearances on the popular Radcliffe & Maconie and Janice Long show. Live sessions for BBC Radio 2’s ‘Wake up to Wogan’.
And most recently in Session for Lauren Laverne BBC 6Music, of which the session was featured in 6Music’s ‘Best Bits of 2012’ ‘LIFEBRINGER’s Debut Single ‘One Man Show’ was ‘Single of the Week’ on BBC Radio Wales and most recent single ‘Buffalo Crow’ was also highlighted as one of 6Music’s DJ Don Letts ‘Best Singles of 2012’.
‘LIFEBRINGER’ sees Z&P stride forward with a confident second record utilising some a Wales finest musicians to its fullest whilst musically drawing influence from home-grown now cult-classic albums by artists such as Richard & Linda Thompson, Jackie Lomax and John Martyn. Whilst finding kinship with the likes of Gene Clark, Jonathan Wilson, exploring the duos love of ‘Cosmic-folk’, Slick ‘Vibed-out’ country-rock and blending them seamlessly into one fully laid-back yet exciting sound.
Unlike their debut LP however, The songs themes and lyrical content of ‘LIFEBRINGER’ scarcely touch on the duos own personal lives and this time leans more toward adventurous stories, intense characters and farflung all-out escapism.
Kathryn says “There are times when our music is a reflection of our lives but mostly we like to create an escape from reality. We wrote the bulk of this album whilst staying in LA last year, taking in as much inspiration from Art, Music and Characters we ran into as we could. We get a real buzz from interesting story telling within a song, something to get your teeth into, something you have to think twice about.”
Characters such as ‘Buffalo Crow’ the namesake of the albums lead single. Set in a bed of rich spaghetti western-esque acoustic guitars, echoing pedal steel and thundering, almost tribal drums ‘Buffalo Crow’ tells the story of one man’s search through the blackened desert for a legendary medicine man, Who when eventually found performs an incredible psychedelic ritual before him. Paul says “I was enchanted by this ancient Native American phrase I read in a book on the spirit world, it went ‘Saa naghaai, Bikeh hozho’, Roughly translated it means ‘Infinite harmony and balance of all living things’, It quickly became the centrepiece of the song.”
The track ‘Living in a small town’ with its laid back almost slick acoustic fusion instrumentation and sweet layered harmony vocals tells a different tale altogether, The song’s theme is set with an almost 1950’s comic book style take on a pretty bleak, not too distant future, where everyday ‘Small towns’ are now traffic throbbing, smoke-billowing sprawls awash with helicopters and cameras in the sky watching your every move.
Paul says “We’ve been somewhat selfish when it comes to the song writing for this album, Certainly when it comes to subject matter, there aren’t many Welsh singer/songwriters writing material about round-eyed Cult leaders, dystopian Futures or mystic Indian shamans! So while not always intentionally we do tend to write music that flies in the face of our everyday surroundings and lives.
That being said though, Our audiences are jumping on board wholeheartedly to join us in our kookiness which is great!”
The ‘cult leader’ is the central character to the song ‘One Man Show’, Which,as lyrically expressed through the eyes of one of his fictional brainwashed victims, tells of his controlling manner through means of fear and paranoia. Crunchy and driven guitars chug solemnly away behind Kathryn as she sings ‘You came in on a wave of change, Temper in your hands, Wide-eyed for the long-displaced…for the troubled kind’
Kath says “With all the crazy goings on in the world at the minute I guess it would be very easy to be swept away by someone with complete confidence and belief in what they’re preaching even if their motives are ultimately sinister underneath, Its still happening today en-mass to many young, impressionable teenagers,
It was something I felt compelled to write about.”
The curiously titled ‘Jerome’ tells of a fathers warning to his son to abandon the now dilapidated and deserted ghost town they call home for bigger and better things. A powerful flute and string ensemble provide the ‘Bonanza-esque’ instrumentation for this epic sonic-voyage westbound.
The Albums striking artwork was painted by friend of the duo acclaimed Californian artist Logan Maxwell Hagege. “Upon seeing Logans work we felt an affinity between the images and the songs we were writing, we were blown away when Logan agreed to let us use his incredible painting of a turn of the Century, Native Spritual effigy known as a Kachina for the album art. Kachina when translated into English means ‘LIFEBRINGER’”