Five Minutes With: Jonox & Zayd of Pets With Pets

April 8th 2011

Pets With Pets are just as much fun as th eponymous idea of exponential numbers of tiny animals looking after each other might suggest. (Why, what do you get from that name?) Their debut album, a lysergic, epic drone-pop journey dubbed Saturday Aquatic Pixie Acid, is garnering rave reviews from the most discerning of critics, but they're not resting on their laurels. They're about to drop a collaborative single with Sensory Projects labelmates Love Connection – a trippy Krautrock luau titled "Home On The Wave". We caught up with Jonox E and Zayd Thring to see what the go is.

FBi: Quick band background for the uninitiated?

Jonox: I was playing in a band called You Will Die Alone the then-Pets with Pets line-up supported. Recall being intrigued. Next time I saw them, heard a language in the music with compulsion to help manoeuvre (not manipulate) the conversation. Was a matter of gradually butting in with Zayd's acceptance. Friends before and ever since.

Zayd: I started playing under the name Pets With Pets in 2006 when I made an EP in my room called Songs to keep her dreams unclean. I played some solo shows at the end of 2006 with some lesbian back up singers, but it wasn't quite making the rhythmic impact that I hoped for. I employed a drummer and it turned in to a 'band'. I rotated between drummers for the next couple of years. Jono was one of these drummers – he stood out. Literally, removed himself from his drum kit and played the stage lights at Ding Dong Lounge. We became friends somewhere in the the boot of someone’s car coming from somewhere that ended up at Smith St…? It was a two-piece up until 2010 when Shags (who recorded the album and plays in Pikelet) decided to jump on stage with us in Wellington and Ash (Witch Hats) and I decided to take a couch up on stage at Campus A Low Hum. Pets With Pets now has Bass, Shags and Bubbles.

Saturday Aquatic Pixie Acid: is it a real drug, what are the effects, and should we worry about the children?

J: Real with varying effects, made by and for children. Possible cause but no pressing need for concern.

Z: So far it is made from children. A dash of hope, a slice of dreams, a cup full of divorce and a pound of weed.

Some of the tracks on the album are heaps epic Kraut-jamz; some veer dangerously close to being pop songs. How does a track wind up being one or the other?

J: Can cost up to $10 to watch us rehearse.

Z: Somewhere in the middle of 2007, rehearsals with my old drummer came to a slow halt. It was around about this time that I had written the song 'The Girl Up and Down' and I wanted to play it really badly in a certain show but we hadn't rehearsed. I told him it was simple enough and he only had to play the one drum beat as there were very few to no changes. This worked extremely well and has probably been the thing that has deluded me enough to keep on making music as it seems to work. From then on, I started to try and write Pets songs that have very little change and little to no structure, a drone-like mentality where the rhythms are simple but are expansive enough to entrance, while it also gives me the freedom to fly the melodies on whatever instrument over the top. This formula has proved to be somewhat successful and only requires a rehearsal every 14 months.

How does the vibe of the album translate to the live show?

J: Works the other way around for us but only when in company of brilliant assistance.


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