Interview by Miriam C.
Sera Timms is known to be an overzealous artist and although, she’s hasn’t reached the stardom (yet) the LA artist is profusely dedicating her time to different musical expressions such as her solo project Black Mare and the heavy post-rockers Ides of Gemini, after undergoing to a line up chance, they’ve recently signed a deal with UK’s Rise Above Records. Let’s get back to the real subject of our interview and let’s speal about the desert rock psychedelic band ZUN, whose debut “Burial Sunrise” was released back on March 2016 via Small Stone Recordings and which among its ranks it features Kyuss‘s John Garcia and Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce. Let’s read together how Sera got involved in this interesting studio project.
Hi Sera, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. How are you?
I’m great…thank you!
Would you like to tell us how this collaboration with the other two core members John Garcia (Kyuss, Vista Chino, Slo Burn, etc.) and Gary Arce started?
A third party put me in touch with Gary a few years ago suggesting that Gary and I should collaborate, and we never could align our schedules until ZUN. I haven’t actually met John but I am thrilled to be on an album with him.
The outcome of this partnership is called “Burial Sunrise” whose debut was released on 25 March via Small Stone Recordings. What you can share about its recording process?
Gary wrote and oversaw the recording of all of the music with Harper Hug and because we live a couple of hours apart I just recorded my own vocals, sent them over and they mixed them in.
“Burial Sunrise” was introduced by “Into the Wasteland” and “Nothing Farther”: what insight you can share about the lyrical concept of these singles and the visual concept of these videoclips?
I can only comment on “Into the Wasteland” regarding the lyrics. I really just let the music inform the lyrics intuitively, and they describe the “place” the music took me to. Christina Bishop created the video.
The press release states that Zun can be considered as an ambient desert rock band but in truth where the influences of the band lie?
Gary and I both love a lot of 80’s goth bands so I hear a lot of that in there.
I’m curious to know in which way your present (Ides of Gemini) and past (Black Math Horseman) bands might have unconsciously influenced Zun’s musical view. If not, how you were able to compartmentalize?
I think I sing differently on ZUN than I do on either Ides of Gemini or BMH albums. ZUN is the first project I only contributed vocals to rather than participating in the writing and playing of the music. In ZUN I feel like I’m almost like a visitor coming into the musical landscape and narrating my experience with my vocals and lyrics.
You used to run a design company called Deer and Unicorn (I didn’t find any recent news about it so, forgive me in advance if I got wrong intel), what you can tell about this other activity of yours? Then I’d like to analyse “Burial Sunrise”‘s cover with you from two different point of view: the technical one and artistic one.
I have a new site called gossamerwhite.com which is mostly my video and photography. I focus more on video and photo now rather than design. I have always felt that music and video are the most perfect marriage of artistic forms.
What arouse my curiosity is your musical background, how your musical journey started?
When I was in college studying art when I began making experimental videos which I needed soundtracks for so I started making music with whatever means I had available. My first band began with the collaborators that also participated in my videos.
I’ve recently read that Ides of Gemini undergo to a line up change: drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson has left the band and you soon you’re gonna announce her replacement and you’ll gonna add a fourth member. What’s in the pipeline? Are you planning a new release?
We already announced the new line-up consisting of new bass player Adam Murray from Deth Crux and drummer Scott Batiste from Saviours. We have recently toured the West Coast tour with the new line-up and we are working on a new album.
Black Mare is your solo project and if “Black Math Horseman and Ides Of Gemini demand volume and collusion” with “Black Mare requires only quiet contemplation”. Why did you feel the need to create another musical outlet? Did you think that both Ides Of Gemini and ZUN weren’t the fitting ‘solution’ for proposing this different musical style?
J. (Bennett) is the musical architect of Ides of Gemini, as he writes all the guitar parts and I add vocals (and used to add bass). With the dissolution of BMH I was lacking a project that was founded on my musical vision and that is what Black Mare is now. ZUN came along after Black Mare and it’s also a project that I just contribute to rather than create from the ground up.
Black Mare‘s debut “Fields of the Host” date back to 2013: would you like to spend a couple of words about? On other hand, your latest release is a 7″ split with the darkwave band Lycia called “Low Crimes”, would you mind enlighten us about this partnership and its related video that you recently self-produced?
I originally started recording Black Mare songs when I was asked to do a solo performance in 2012 and I needed a demo, which led to now defunct vinyl only label The Crossing‘s offering to release a Black Mare full length which became “Field of the Host”. I connected with Tara Vanflower of Lycia via R. Loren of Handmade Birds and we came up with the idea to release a split as we were fans of one another’s music. “Low Crimes” was the first Black Mare song to be recorded with a live drummer (Andrew Clinco) and it also included Bryan Tulao on lead guitar and J. Bennett on bass. I was very fortunate to work with Brian Sowell as the director of photography on the “Low Crimes” video which I could not have possibly pulled off without his assistance. We shot in the Mojave desert with much of the video being shot in an underground lava tube cave accessible only via a 5 mile 4WD road. The end result was all that I envisioned and more. Hopefully I will team up with Brian for future Black Mare videos as well.
What are your next plans? Are you planning to promote ZUN‘s “Burial Sunrise” with some dates?
At the moment, I’m working on the new Ides of Gemini record and recently I’ve completed the next Black Mare album and I’m waiting for it to be mixed. Local Ides of Gemini and Black Mare shows will be announced soon and instead about ZUN‘s plans are all TBD.
So, Sera, it’s time for your parting words – I really thank you for your time – please greet freely our readers and your fans. Thanks again!
Thanks so much for including me in Femme Metal Webzine, and to all of your readers and my fans for reading, listening to and supporting independent music!