Interview with Zoe Konez

Zoe Konez Press Photo 6

The artist’s new Single ‘My Old Friend’ is out now 

Zoe Konez is a singer-songwriter based in South London you absolutely shouldn’t miss. We talked about her new single ‘My Old Friend’, her side project CATBEAR and, the independent scene in the UK.

HELLO ZOE, CONGRATS ON YOUR NEW SINGLE ‘MY OLD FRIEND’. TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS SONG AND YOUR STORY SO FAR.

Thanks! I wrote this song this year thinking about some of the special relationships I’ve had with people but we’ve grown apart over the years, and thinking about what could have been if we’d have stayed in touch. It sounds like a sad song but I suppose there’s also some optimism in there and fondness thinking about the good times we shared. 

I have a Backstage Club on Patreon where my lovely subscribers listen to my songs first in demo form and watch me play them live at my monthly livestreams and this song really stood out as I was getting great feedback about it, so I decided to record it and produce it and now release it. It’s exciting to have 3 singles released this year already.

YOU RECORD AND PRODUCE YOUR SONGS ON YOUR OWN. HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE SONGWRITING PROCESS, AND HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT GET TO HAVE A RELEASE DONE JUST WORKING ON YOUR OWN?

I’m so lucky to have a home studio as a dedicated space for me to work on my music from. And I find it really inspiring having my instruments out and available for me to pick and start writing with. My single Here came about from me playing with a dulcimer that was lying around and it developed into a full song quite easily from there.

As for how long it takes, that totally depends! I have so many songs that I want to finish and release but it’s so difficult to find the time to work on them all. The production and finishing off songs is the more time consuming bit and having to choose which songs to prioritise. As a side project, I’ve recently started writing Mini Songs with a maximum length of 1.5 minutes and taking inspiration from my fans’ stories – it means I finish songs quicker and it’s a really fun thing to do.

WHAT ARTISTS AND BANDS INSPIRED YOU THE MOST MUSICALLY AND LYRICALLY FOR YOUR SOLO PROJECT?

I like artists who create a warm and expansive atmosphere – giving space for the listener to contemplate whilst they listen. I love acts like Novo Amor and SYML. Lyrically I tend to have some typical singer songwriter melancholy but it’s generally always got a hopeful, optimistic or encouraging mood underpinning my tracks.

I PERSONALLY LOVED YOUR MINI SONGS ON INSTAGRAM. IT ALSO SHOWS YOUR AMAZING SKILLS IN PLAYING GUITAR. WHEN DID YOU START PLAYING AND WHO INSPIRED YOUR PECULIAR WAY OF PLAYING?

Oh thanks so much! I’ve played guitar since I was a kid but I’ve never had the patience to properly study it. And that’s probably why my style of playing is a little different, I just explore and have fun with it. Even though I used my guitar to make sound I feel like it’s my ears that do as much of the work as my fingers. 

HOW DID LONDON, ESPECIALLY THE SOUTH PART, IMPACTED ON YOUR SONGWRITING?

I really enjoy living in London, I love the mix of people and the way we somehow squash into this place and get by. I feel like it’s generally quite open minded and free and I get inspired by people I meet, watching the busy world go by, and by the history all around. I guess there’s nothing specific about living in London, but I feel inspired to write when I’m travelling around the city. I guess in a place with so much going on, songwriting is a way of processing my experiences and thoughts.


YOU’RE ALSO IN ANOTHER AMAZING MUSIC PROJECT CALLED ‘CATBEAR’, HOW DO YOU FIND MANAGING TWO MUSIC PROJECTS AT THE SAME TIME AND DO THEY INSPIRE EACH OTHER SOMEHOW?

Yes, I love being in CATBEAR as well as my solo stuff. I’m not sure how, but they just exist separately and I know if a song is going to be a CATBEAR song or a Zoe song when I start writing it. CATBEAR is very much about the vibe of me and Sarah, our history of playing live together, of going out and having fun. We always have a great time when we get together to record. The sound is more synth, electronic, retro, but with an emphasis on big catchy melodies and harmonies.

Managing the time is a little tricky but I have passion for both projects, so while I might release more music of each project if the other didn’t exist, to me they are both important parts of my creativity and make me equally happy. (New CATBEAR music coming soon!)

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE UK ARTISTS AND WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE INDIE MUSIC SCENE IN THE UK? 

There is always a thriving indie music scene in the UK and I struggle to keep on top of it. WIthin London and within friends and networks here there is so much amazing music being made, but there is such a great culture of music around the UK. I’ve been a bit stuck in London this year and no live music (before 2020 I would host a monthly independent acoustic music showcase each month) but I get lots of people sending me music for my playlists which I love curating and so I listen to a load of music made by independent creators and it is great to see the artists I love doing well. Some of my favourite musicians I know making music at the moment are Jessie Reid, Bryde, Roxanne De Bastion, Jole, Jake Morley, Emma McGrath and The Rabbitts.

WHAT ARE PLANNING FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR? 

My main priority is making more music – I’ll release some solo and CATBEAR music, I have some collaborations in the diary which I’m looking forward to, and I’m looking forward to getting a little more social this Summer, I’ve missed seeing people! 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?

Thanks so much to you Loop Solitaire for your support of me and other independent acts – it’s so much appreciated! 

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By Romeo Ciarla