2023 is undoubtedly going to be a breakout year for Los Angeles-based hardcore quintet, Zulu. Beyond the recent resurgence of heavy underground music, Zulu is set to release their long-awaited, debut full-length album A New Tomorrow on Mar. 3 via Flatspot records. Now it's only a matter of time before the band’s groove-centered powerviolence and mission to promote inclusivity and representation within a historically white-dominated scene captivates the masses even further. Ahead of the release of A New Tomorrow, Zulu have dropped two fierce singles, “Fakin' Tha Funk (You Get Did)” and, most recently, “Where I’m From.” The latter boasts not only a lively throwback ‘90s music video — but also an on-screen cameo from comedic genius and resident shock artist, Eric André.

Zulu enlisted their guitarist Dez Yusuf to direct and handle the creative direction behind the visuals. He took heavy influence from the iconic “Scenario” music video by ‘90s hip-hop trailblazers A Tribe Called Quest in order to capture the unifying bravado and style that the Zulu track embodies. With similar retro-inspired effects, the new music video echoes the "Scenario" video, as it's largely centered around a party in front of a green screen among the band’s closest friends and tourmates — including Pierce Jordan (Soul Glo) and Obioma Ugonna (Playytime), who both supply guest vocals to the track. André, who is an outspoken fan of heavy music, offers everything you would expect from the outrageous Eric André Show comedian through a series of hilarious faces, gestures, and lip-synched segments. Additionally, there are brief portraits of FEVER 333 frontman and chief-songwriter Jason Aalon Butler co-signing the band between rapidly changing frames. All in all, “Where I’m From” and its accompanying music video is a celebration of the band's roots, community and collective strength in the numbers

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We sat down with Zulu’s Anaiah Lei and Dez Yusuf to discuss the inspiration and filming process behind the music video for “Where I’m From," its lyrical message, how Eric Andre’s cameo came together, and the possibility of further collaborations with the A-list comedian in the future.

Obviously, the music video for “Where I’m From” was influenced by the iconic “Scenario” video from the legendary ‘90s hip-hop outfit A Tribe Called Quest. What was it about that classic music video that resonated with you so much for it to be the creative direction for this visual? 

Dez Yusuf: The funny thing is that I was actually going to use this concept for myself. I had already started working on it and was going to green screen myself in a bunch of places, but then it hit me like a lightning that it would make sense for [Zulu]. I always loved that there are so many people in the “Scenario” video that have nothing to do with the song, but are just repping the [music], and their movement — it felt like a common energy that I wanted to show. I was willing to give up [the concept] to the band, and it was definitely a selfless thing to match what Anaih had written [with the lyrics] for the song.

Anaiah Lei: On top of that, it was perfect timing because we were about to go on tour with all of the other bands who [are featured on the track]. There is so much hip-hop influence in this band as a lot of people know, so I absolutely knew we had to do something like this.

What was the energy like in the room while filming those group shots for the video? 

Yusuf: I think it almost felt like no one could grasp how awesome this was going to be. I was just yelling at my friends to jump around in the green room before a show. I took about 50 portraits of everyone, so that’s why you get those flashing [images]. It became this really fun energy where it felt like a party. There was a ton of footage we couldn't even fit in with us crowd surfing and [even more] members from various bands.

What were you specifically trying to convey with the song’s message? 

Lei: At first, I wanted to write a song about being Black in an alternative space and not feeling like we had that chance to be ourselves within that space. This is something that we have gone through thus far — feeling like we can’t be who we want to be and people expecting us to be something else. More so than that, I didn’t want it to just be on the negative side and also wanted to express, “Hey, this wouldn’t happen if we didn’t create jazz music and have a hand in soul music and rock 'n' roll.” It went from expressing that [the scene] claiming to be inclusive is just bogus, because it was never like that. There’s the lyric, “It’s been exclusion since the jump,” but now we have a chance with a lot of bands coming up that are representing us. The second part of the song talks about, regardless of that stuff, the music, and the styles that we have rock. We know exactly who we are.

It truly feels like a celebration of who you are, which makes it all the more special. 

Yusuf: It is. People have it backwards: We’ve been here, we’ve been around, we’ve added to this and have moved the needle forward, and are continuing to remind you to stand our ground. It’s almost a warcry to dismantle the tokenism of Black people in heavy music.

While there are several notable cameos throughout the video. How did Eric André get involved?

Lei: [Eric] DM’d the band talking about how he was a fan and wanted to come on stage, and I was like, "That’s awesome. I would love that.” [Later on], I got a text for him and didn’t even know how he got my number. [Laughs.] We would casually text about music and whatever, but then I was like, “We should just ask him to be in the video, the worst he can say is no.” He said, “Of course,” so Dez and I went over to his house to film. When we showed up at his house, there was loud music playing and I was like, “This can’t be his house, right?” [Laughs.]

Yusuf: I was like, “This absolutely is his house. It makes the most sense in the world." It was like really loud reggae music blasting. [Laughs.]

Lei: He was having a Friendsgiving party and we had to find him since there were so many people. We [eventually] found him sitting down and we were like, “Let us know when you want to start filming,” which is always weird in a situation like that. [Laughs.] We found a quiet area on a balcony and ended up shooting all of his parts really quickly. He danced, yelled at the camera, and silly things like that — it was a really funny story with a lot of interesting people at the party.

That is wild. Since he mentioned wanting to come on stage with the band, do you think this will happen sooner rather than later? 

Lei: One of these days, I hope so. He definitely wants to and told me that he wanted to just come on stage and scream into the mic. So whatever he wants to do, we’ll bring him out next time we have an LA show and he’s in town. He’s such a lovely person and is also super into metal and hardcore, which I was surprised to find out.