Yumi Zouma Stay Connected On 'EP III': Exclusive

Ryan McCardle & Aidan Koch
Yumi Zouma

Yumi Zouma stick to their winning file-sharing formula on the third and final entry in their career-spanning EP trilogy, dropping Friday (Sept. 28) via Cascine. Below, Billboard has an exclusive first listen of the EP today (Sept. 25).

The New Zealand band -- composed of Charlie Ryder, Christie Simpson, Josh Burgess and Olivia Campion -- have largely worked separately since their debut EP I in 2014, but years of touring and an abundance of cross-continent flights have allowed the group to refine their unique collaborative process. EP III throws all of that out with a return to basics incited by a completed tour and cleared label slate following the release of their sophomore album Willowbank in 2017, along with a refreshed appreciation for the freedom of individual, remote contributions.

“For the first time we were an unsigned band and it made us think more outside of the box,” Burgess tells Billboard. “When we started thinking about making more music, an album seemed overwhelming and frankly, boring...we all got excited at the prospect of working quickly and without a huge amount of thought into how [a song] fits into a longer format.”

The group pored over 150-plus demos that went as far as back as 2013 when the band formed, and though they salvaged bits and pieces of ideas for the new set, the majority of the EP is completely fresh material. By revisiting their past work and trying the old way of things with some new tricks, the band has recaptured the magic while pushing themselves forward.

“With Willowbank and [debut album] Yoncalla to some degree, we spent a lot of time together writing and recording. This contrasted the first two EPs, where 75 percent of the time, we were spread apart making those songs,” Burgess explains. “EP III is a return to that format, and reminded us of that workflow which certainly has its advantages and disadvantages.”

Burgess singles out the EP's first two singles “In Camera” and “Crush (It’s Late, Just Stay)” as examples of being able to “go a bit more bombastic because you're only thinking about how a song relates to 3-4 others versus a whole album.”

Though the two standout tracks certainly suggest a bigger sound for the group, the unrestrained and democratic approach creates a cohesion for the brisk set that fits comfortably with the band’s nimble retro-indie pop sound.

“Hopefully it's just more fun music that people connect with,” Burgess offers. “I understand that there is a lot to say in 2018 and I have a lot of respect for people that can do that via their lyrics, but that's not really who we are as people. We're feeling and sharing the same frustrations and a song like ‘Crush,’ for me at least, was an outlet to a lot of energy inside of me.”

EP III may serve as a notable conclusion to this era of Yumi Zouma, but it suggests the beginning of something much bigger.

Check out EP III below exclusively on Billboard.