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Song You Need to Know: NO ZU, ‘Talking to A Stranger’

NO ZU share their take on the Hunters & Collector’s classic, which comes paired with a live video that showcases their inimitable command of the stage.


It’s been a couple of years between drinks for Melbourne “heat beat” collective NO ZU, but what better way to return with new material than this week’s release of “Talking to A Stranger”?

Originally released as Hunters & Collectors’ second single back in 1982, “Talking to A Stranger” quickly became a staple of the Australian pub-rock scene. Now, NO ZU have lent their own inimitable sound to the track, releasing it as part of a double A-side, along with Bryan Ferry’s “Sensation”, this week.

A faithful cover version of the original, albeit it paired with a menacing vocal at times, triumphant horns, and delivered with the deft professionalism that only NO ZU can offer, the track comes accompanied by a live video of the track, filmed in February at the Something Unlimited Festival. A snapshot of the unbridled energy and charisma of a NO ZU performance, it shows exactly why live performances need to make an immediate return to our collective calendars.

“It’s bizarre that we have never really decided to try to film ourselves live ever,” explained NO ZU founder and spiritual guru, Nicolaas Oogjes. “It’s especially strange since we have always seen every show as a possibly transcendent Heat Beat experience – and more times than not it has actually become so (at least for us).

“It’s weird that we did it when we did – just before the world turned even more surreal. The video looks so alien now, even more zonked than usual. It’s a document of another time when we could all gather, dig into the crowd, sweat, burn, grind, gyrate, share experience and it makes me feel longing, but, even more so, excited for another ZU melt down soon.

“The song itself is a bicep-curling, muscle-funk number of deep ZU-spiration that has been lodged near the end of our sets for years. It’s been deep in our Heat Beat DNA since the primordial ooze.”

Although it remains to be seen when fans will once again be able to get sweaty to the infectious groove of NO ZU, their cover of “Talking to A Stranger” will undoubtedly tide fans over until then.

NO ZU’s cover of “Talking to A Stranger” is available now as a double A-side along with “Sensation”.