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An Interview with Zed Desideraja

Interview by Deesha Dyer
 

Zed playing his instrument looking over the hills

It is a little difficult for me to find proper words to describe Zed Desideraja. Even after knowing him for nearly 10 years (I think), he continues to remain a mystery – a character in the shadows who tells stories through the sounds of the yidaki (commonly know as the didgeridoo) and the sites of surrealism paintings. While his physical being resides between Mexico and England, he has a soul that is scattered throughout the 7 continents. Paying homage and respect to the yidaki, Zed has recorded an album that reflects the spirit of the Aborigini people, and represents a vulnerable side of himself. Naming the album, "Critical Paranoia", gives a glimpse into the man that admits, "I'm a bit of a darkhorse and want people to know me through listening to my music and looking at my paintings." So, the interview GeoClan conducts below..is just well, a little extra something.

Geo: Tell me a little bit of history about how you came to discover and fall in love with the yidaki?

 

Zed: It was at the Brixton Academy in November 1993 watching Jamiroquai. When Wallis (the yidaki player) came on and played, I was complete blown away. It was the firs time that I'd seen the instrument played in such a way, and not just as a novelty. I instantly knew that that was the instrument I would play for the rest of my life. I eventually started playing in the summer of 1995 in Los Angeles. There really is something about making a tree sing.

Zed is playing his yidaki

Geo: The album can be seen as a cultural experience of sorts really…tell me a little bit about the creation and birth of it?

 

Zed: The album was drawn from a lot of emotions; in particular, very low points of my life that I really need to keep to myself. It's a very personal album in that aspect. The actual playing style of the yidaki is contemporary, with strong elements that incorporate a traditional foundation technique, as used by 'yolngu' in Northeast Arnhemland. I wanted the sound to have a very earthly vibe with a timeless feel. I sincerely hope I achieved that latter.

 

Geo: Briefly describe the particulars on guests, collaborations, etc.?

 

Zed: I worked with only one person; DJ Tigerstyle (Alvin Seechurn) who produced all the beats and scratches. I was telling him what I needed and wanted. I tried to paint so many pictures in his head of how it should sound. What he came back with blew my head. He has incredible talent, and it was a pleasure working with him. A show will be in the works in the not too distant future. Also, a huge THANK YOU to Richard Bignell for the recording, mixing and mastering.

 

Geo: Who are some of your inspirations and influences?

 

Zed: The world around me – good and evil. The influences they provide and make me who I am. Jungles, oceans, deserts, the fury and beauty of nature. Music wise – Jamiroquai and traditional playing from the Northeast Arnhemland. The Yolngu are without a doubt the greatest players on this planet.

 

More art from Zed

Geo: I know you are a paint artist – tell me a little bit about the difference and balances between that and your music?

Zed: When I don't play yidaki – I paint. When I don't paint – I play yidaki. They both feed off one another. It is absolutely essential to find a positive channel of release within our lives. No one taught me to play yidaki and no one taught me to paint. I had to find it myself. Sound and picture are the easiest ways for me to express myself, as I don't have a clue how to do it through words.

 

 

 

 

Direct any comments to music@geoclan.com

Art from Zed
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