Meet Ryan Camenzuli, the musician behind solo effort, Zuli. Last year saw the release of Zuli's first EP, 'Supernatural Voodoo' and this year, he prepares to drop his first solo album. We met up with Ryan before his show at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory to talk music and inspiration.
Tell us about yourself
Just a guy from Long Island who likes to write and sing songs.
How did you first get into making music?
I’ve been playing music since I was really young, but didn’t really have an interest in writing until around high school. By then I started finding bands on my own and was inspired by my peers as well as some of the ‘indie' records of the late 00’s.
Who did you grow up listening to, and how have those bands/musicians influence your sound?
Growing up my dad showed me bands like The Clash, Nirvana , The Who, Led Zeppelin etc. Those bands solidified my foundation listening to Rock music but also allowed me to branch out into even earlier stuff like the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Ultimately I feel like all of the bands I grew up with have found their way into my ‘sound’ in one way or another. It’s a sub conscious thing. They’re always gonna be there.
What is the music making process like for you? How do you go about creating a song?
It always comes differently. Sometimes I’ll be singing a melody in my head. Other times a phrase or a word will stick out to me and it will all be based around that. I’ve found that I’ve yet to have a concrete formula for how it happens. I think I’m better off that way.
You played all of the instruments on your track “Better All The Time,” do you find you get your best musical work done alone?
I think using the studio like an instrument is the best way for me to compose and intertwine all the instrumentation for my songs. Working out the songs on my own gives me a little clarity into how everything can work together and ultimately lets me gets things sounding the way I hear it in my head
How do you stay inspired?
Lots of different ways. Reading a book, going for a walk, listening to a new album. Always best to be doing something as opposed to just sitting down and trying to make something happen. Forcing it is pretty much a dead end.
How have you grown creatively in the past year?
So far 2017 has opened my eyes to all the work that goes into properly backing an album. Allowing me to be creative in other ways like working on designs, music videos , etc. Obviously my favorite part about the band thing is the music itself, but I also really enjoy everything else that comes along with it. It allows me to be creative in multiple ways rather than just one.
What are you working on right now?
Getting ready to put out a new record! Finished up a few videos and working out our tour schedule.
The music industry has been going through a tough time over the past decade or so, how does a young artist operate in the new landscape?
Believe in themselves and invest some money into what they’re doing. Think about the core of your band/brand and how you want to be perceived. It’s 2017 and the world has 20 different ways to keep up with what you’re doing. Keep it simple, concise and true to who you are.
Check out Zuli's Playlist:
Interview: Emily Saunders - @thesaunder
Photography: Allie Sarachene - @alliesarachene