“…this isn’t my revolution, it’s our revolution.”
Word is out, Berlin-based experimental producer and musician Ziúr is forming an alliance to take over the world. But this is not some grim totalitarian scheme—with passion and talent to fabricate inclusive havens, Ziúr’s reimagined world is where everybody is seen and celebrated. It’s a chosen revolution, and to spread the ego-stripping message, she presents her new body of work, “ATØ”, as a network of intersectional support. The record—launching November 15—aligns with, and evolves, Ziúr’s championing of intersectional inclusivity, and its themes range from fancy handbags with broken zippers to breaking everything up and deconstructing every mechanism that puts us in a box. A distinct treatment of music as a physical concept and a tool for change and connection.
Hey Ziúr! Tell us about “ATØ”?
It’s an alliance for us, for the people that are not seen in this world. We must take back what belongs to us.
The record’s title track, “ATØ”, seems like a very good introduction to the album. You end it with saying, “…you might have left, but I’m not leaving”. Could you elaborate?
This track is about persistence and not giving up, about still fighting and keeping on fighting. I don’t see myself ever stopping. Other people make other decisions, but I cannot help myself but to keep going. It’s in my system.
Sort of like you don’t have a choice?
I would have a choice, I think. There are plenty of ways out of the system. But ever since I can remember, it has always been within me—my whole life I’ve been pushing and I’ll continue to do so.
How did “ATØ” come to life? Where did you find your inspiration, and for whom did you make the album?
It started out maybe 7 years ago, from a punk tour with a friend of mine. We were sitting together at the kitchen table, and we didn’t feel seen by the scene; a scene that was already a subculture itself. We felt caught up by something that was seemingly open, but had certain old power structures still attached to it. We thought about what we were going to do to change this, and then we started the alliance to take over the world. At first, it was really just an underground conspiracy theory: we tell one person and that person tells another person, and that person then tells yet again another person, and so on. And then, we would slowly but surely take over the world. It’s a romantic construct really, it’s not like we’re going to pile up atomic bombs in our backyard, but we were just facilitating intersectionality. If we would just celebrate our differences instead of fighting them, we would have way more power in this world.
Yet, 7 years later, and we still haven’t taken over the world. So, I asked my friend if I could make this album, which is partially about taking over the world but also about celebrating friendships. I’ve been surrounding myself with really beautiful people, and we have really intricate, intimate and direct relationships, where we celebrate each other for our twists and turns and the way we are; where everything is okay and where everybody is welcome. And this goes hand in hand with us being together as something rather small, and taking over the world as a really big thing. You have to start on a small scale, which you can later transfer to a bigger one. Also, this isn’t my revolution, it’s our revolution. I’m not claiming any responsibility and there’s no leader in this. It’s an inclusive, and not an exclusive, concept.
In a way, the album also comes across as nurturing and healing. For example, in the last track, “Mother”, you say: “…there is no reason to be sad”. And speaking of there being no leader, do you feel like with “ATØ” you somehow, consciously or unconsciously, adapt a motherly or nurturing role towards yourself?
Sure, it’s connected to self-care; we all deserve a good life, that’s what it’s about. If we would liberate ourselves through taking over the world, we would all profit from the situation, and that’s how it’s connected to self-care and a nurturing feeling. I think what’s beautiful about having the track “Mother” at the end of the record is that it’s also a love song to my mother basically. I think it goes full circle, by going into the future, but also into the past. For me, it makes sense to go full circle with a love song to my mother, that’s where it all came from.
In what kind of places do you imagine the narrative of “ATØ” unfolding?
Everywhere in the world—I think it should be a global thing. My brain works in a way that I try to see the big picture first. I somehow try to include everything first and then I narrow it down. Everything is connected too. I think people lost, in a non-hippie way, their sense of spirituality and interconnectedness, of not seeing that if they drive a certain car in the city that it’s directly connected to climate change. All these things are part of a system of people not questioning things anymore. If we don’t see the connections between little things, then we’re more easily controlled. And I think that we’re heading towards a place where we lose all spirituality. I don’t mean this in a tree-hugger-hippie kind of way, but in a more realistic way. It’s all just going to get worse and worse, with inequalities growing and us all basically heading towards mass extinction. For me, it’s an urge of going global, because it’s all connected in a way in which you could not get out of.
The reason why I’m alive is because of the beautiful things in life, like friendships and meaningful relationships. I’m not really positive about the outcome of the future of this planet, but I’m a survivor, because of the people I’m surrounded by, who give me the strength to pull through this shit. And that’s also why I’m still a fighter and will always be fighting. To be intersectional is the only way. I think we can only do this if we break everything up and deconstruct every mechanism that puts us in a box. It’s a general thing of how we’re going to survive—you can be somebody with a disability, or mental health issues, or you can’t read. It’s an understanding that we all have value and we’re all worth it. I’m trying to really break it up. But I get it, it’s a confusing way to move forward, yet it’s also a way that dismantles all power.
You call your album “a network of intersectional support”. Do you see electronic music as a platform for political change? And where do you see your own position within the industry?
I think music, in general, is a platform for political change. It’s a convenient measure, because it reaches young people, but it also touches all on an emotional level. I think with music, and pop culture as a whole, the beautiful thing is that it gains a different access to people. I think music is a very physical concept; it connects people and propels them to have something physical together too. On the other hand, it’s just my chosen revolution, and I feel that when I have a forum, for example now doing this interview for a magazine, then I will just spread the message. If I were doing something else, or had a different profession, I’d still be doing the same thing.
You said you don’t see the future as very positive, and you’ve also mentioned before that you “accidentally produce music for where it fits”. Do you feel like there is some sort of need for an album like “ATØ”?
When I write music, I’m in a very emotional state of being; it just comes out of me. I’m not there with a ten-step plan on how my next album or track is going to be like. It’s a very in-the-moment type of move. I write music, because I really love writing music, and I love performing music, and I love touring and playing. I like a lot of things about it, but I also think I’m good at it. I’ve tried many things in my life, but this has been the one that stuck with me.
Juxtaposing your two albums, what’s the biggest difference in how you feel and in where your headspace is?
The first album was really about the universe and about being as far out as possible, seeing how it actually all connects. It was just a huge questioning thought, for which I had no answer. I always ask myself: How big is the universe compared to an ego? That was one of the thoughts revolving around that album. The difference is that “ATØ” is more of a concrete thought. It was a felt reality. I think I’m an emotional, smart person that tries to feel things out, and if it comes out of a romantic perspective, it’s just because I feel it. I feel the need to write.
Personally, I thought it was super important, especially in times as ours, to have an album with a narrative like this.
Same here! And going back to the ego, I’ve seen a lot of people writing a lot of seemingly political albums, but then they always centre themselves as the main character of it. I try and take myself out of it—it’s a record that is not for me, it’s for us. Obviously, it’s really hard to detach myself from an album that I wrote myself. But I think the idea in general is to open this up, and open up the conversation so as to make people feel supported and seen; make them have a space in this world, where they feel that they’re people who could be potential allies in this fight. Even more so an existence rather than a fight.