Yumi Zouma

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Electro-pop group Yumi Zouma began in 2013 as a home-recording venture by three friends in Christchurch, New Zealand, but quickly outgrew their humble beginnings to spread their relaxed, sweetly melodic music throughout the world. Balancing gentle vocals with warm washes of synths and calmly percolating rhythms, their sound evolved slowly and by the time of 2022′s Present Tense the group began to incorporate acoustic instruments and live drums into their arrangements.
Formed by vocalist/guitarist Kim Pflaum and multi-instrumentalists Josh Burgess and Charlie Ryder, Yumi Zouma began crafting their lo-fi electro-pop sound in the early 2010s. After sharing files with the Cascine record label out of Brooklyn, they were invited to join its roster and prepared their first release, the four-track EP I. Issued in early 2014, the record was quickly embraced by the blogosphere, selling through multiple vinyl pressings and leading to a collaboration with Swedish electro-pop duo Air France on a version of their single “It Feels Good to Be Around You.” Around this time, original lead singer Kim Pflaum left the group and was replaced by Christie Simpson. By the time EP II arrived in 2015, Yumi Zouma had performed in Australia, the U.K., France, Canada, both coasts of the U.S., and across New Zealand, where they opened for Lorde.
With bandmembers relocating to New York, Auckland, and Paris, Yumi Zouma recorded their full-length debut, Yoncalla, while together on tour. It was released in May 2016 on Cascine. Later that year, the foursome traveled home to New Zealand to start work on a new album. Recorded in Christchurch at a studio located on one of the few blocks of the central business district that wasn’t demolished by a series of earthquakes in the early 2010s, it was the first time all the group members had worked together in the same room on a record. The resulting Willowbank was a more relaxed take on the electro-pop of their debut. They were joined on tour by drummer Olivia Campion, then added her as a full-time bandmember.
After contributing a track to the Stadiums & Shrines-curated Dreams compilation in early 2018, Yumi Zouma returned in September of that year with EP III. It was their first release not to include Sam Perry, who’d left to work on his band DOG Power. The newly constituted quartet recorded their next album in Los Angeles, London, and Christchurch, producing it themselves before sending the music to Jake Aron (Snail Mail, Solange) for mixing. The gently poppy Truth or Consequences was the band’s first record for Polyvinyl and was issued in early 2020. Like most bands across the globe, they needed to find new ways to record due to the lockdowns that were a part of the COVID-19 pandemic. They held remote recordings sessions during 2020 and, ironically, expanded their arrangements to include live drums, orchestral woodwinds and strings, and grand piano. The additions gave 2022′s Present Tense a warmer sound than previous albums, while also increasing the dynamic range of the songs. ~ Marcy Donelson