TZU: Waving goodbye for now

After this current run of dates, don’t expect to hear from TZU for a good year. Front MC Joelistics is ready for a well-deserved sabbatical – he intends to completely get away from it all, and really do something other than music.

As such, he’s not merely heading for the hills; instead, he’s heading for the far-off wilds of Berlin and Barcelona, where he intends to go on a journey of self-discovery…and maybe write a book.

“I figure it’s time,” he says. “This is my far-out plan: I want to travel up to China, from China up to Mongolia, from Mongolia across to Russia, from Russia across to northern Europe, then down through northern Europe until I hit the south of France, and then stay there for a while, and make frequent trips down to Barcelona.

“And you know what?” Joel queries, enthusing about his travel plans, “I’m going to write the whole time I do it. I just want to see what happens if I just write; I’m not going to have a studio, so I’m just going to write.”

Having been so involved with music for over the half decade or so of TZU’s existence, taking such a long break is an interesting decision. No doubt some would think that now is a perfect opportunity for the group to strike while the iron is hot, and lay down a fourth album in relatively quick time.

“I’d still like to meet musicians in other places that I travel,” he outlines, “and every one of us is going to continue playing music; it’s what we do. But it’s a different headspace for a year – I don’t know how to put it, but [music] is like a weird addiction, and then you take that addiction away, and that’s what I think we’re all looking forward to as well – defining ourselves outside of what we’ve been doing for six years, solidly.”

But, first, the ‘goodbye’ tour. It’s coming off the back off the release of Cover Up Motel, the remix version of TZU’s successful third album Computer Love (jumble up the letters in said release and you’ll discover why it’s titled Cover Up Motel ). “We’ve got to eke out every last sale!” Joel exclaims.

“The last remix album was because Smiling At Strangers was this big departure for us – it went out in rock territory and we put out a remix album to put us back into an area that we really felt comfortable in. So with this one we really liked Computer Love – we all, unanimously, found it the most enjoyable album to make. And so when we had a few offers [for remixes], we thought we’d do the whole album and give particular songs to artists that we likes so we could challenge them, or songs that suited them.”

The label was, of course, keen to re-release their successful album in some way shape or form. Instead of ripping off their existing fanbase while continuing to build it, the Melbourne-born group wanted to really make it a worthwhile thing. “We really put a lot of thought into it,” he says.

It also comes at an opportune time, with the band on the road again, saying goodbye… for now.

“We hate touring,” says Joel, somewhat controversially for a group who have so built their reputation through their live prowess. “People say ‘you’re a great touring band’. And we are, currently, all suffering from tour exhaustion. Hence the reason we’re taking a break. This is it. We’re having a big rest: we’re going to live life, and do things like quilting classes.” Well, it’ll keep you warm throughout Europe at any rate.

TZU’s Cover Up Motel is out now, with the band saying ‘goodbye’ on tour…

Fri March 20 – The Zoo, Brisbane

Fri March 27 – The Prince Bandroom, Melbourne