ZUMI ROSOW IS A MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST, ARTIST AND DESIGNER KNOWN FOR HER WORK WITH THE BLACK LIPS AND AS THE INSPIRATION FOR GUCCI’S "ZUMI" HANDBAG. SHE HAS RECORDED WITH DIVA, EX-CULT, DEERHUNTER AND OTHERS, AND TOURED INTERNATIONALLY AS A MEMBER OF THE BLACK LIPS WHO HAVE RECORDED THEIR LATEST ALBUM “SING IN A WORLD THAT’S FALLING APART.”
Many artists respond to the world around them. But for a rare few: the world responds to them. Zumi Rosow is one such person. A musician, designer, muse and global ambassador for the inspiring fringe which makes Los Angeles’ art, fashion and music scene the most dynamic in the United States. She’s at home playing saxophone, on stage with any of her musical collaborations (Black Lips, Crush), walking the runway for Gucci in Paris, or creating jewellery and music at her home studio on the outskirts of Hollywood in Los Angeles. In her unique style, Zumi, an LA native, has the distinct power to channel the different eras of the music scene there, from acid-tinged psychedelia to leather and chains punk, to Hollywood glam. The result is all her own.
Zumi’s aesthetic translates to her home. Visitors to her two-story craftsmen house encounter a disco ball hanging above her front porch, a totem for the journey into her intimate space where she writes music, designs and fabricates her signature jewellery, and seeks out the inspiration reflected in her look. Her influences stretch to her upbringing across town near the Pacific, where her parents exposed her to their artistic pursuits filtered through the California sun. She shares her current house with partner and collaborator Cole Alexander, a cast of other creatives and, perhaps most important, a streetwise cat that Zumi discovered lost—and renamed “Fang.” Like so many beautiful things, she welcomed to her home.
DESCRIBE YOUR HOME IN THREE WORDS.
Magic feline cave.
WHAT OR WHO INFLUENCED THE AESTHETIC?
We’re all into plants and the 1970s California bungalow style home has a huge influence. Having grown up in Santa Monica Canyon, that was definitely an aesthetic I grew up in. I really love Spanish architecture and Moroccan things because I was there as a child.
YOU PRACTICE AND RECORD IN THE HOUSE–DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE WHEN YOU’RE MAKING MUSIC?
Often, we start with just recording a drum beat with a floor tom and sticking a microphone underneath a drum. Recording a beat on a four-track and build from that. It’s not something we stick to every time.
YOU HAVE THIS IMPRESSIVE ARRAY OF INSTRUMENTS, AMPS AND YOU HAVE A LOT OF VINYL. HOW DO YOU ORGANISE YOUR MUSIC COLLECTION?
I don’t. It’s totally disorganised. At the moment, I’m in the midst of trying to organise it because there’s a ton of records that are not in their right sleeves. Then I want to organise it better, so things are in sections. A large part of my record collection is my dad’s and grandparents’—they had great taste, though. I’m lucky. All of the vinyl I had at one point got auctioned off when my storage space got auctioned off, so I lost my entire vinyl collection.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR INSTRUMENTS. OBVIOUSLY, YOU PLAY THE SAX. BUT HOW DID YOU END UP PICKING UP THE SAW?
The saw was given to me by my ex-boyfriend who’s in a wonderful band called Dallas Acid. We were listening to the radio one day and hearing this sound and I was thinking how I wanted to use it in some of my music. No one really plays the saw. I was just sort of dreaming about it and he gave me a saw for my birthday.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE SPOT IN YOUR HOUSE?
Probably my bed. In my bed, with my cat and my boyfriend and we’re watching cool movies, that’s sort of like a dreamy nice place to be. I also do love my studio. When the light is coming through at a particular time of day, it’s really nice. The light is really nice in the house.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU RETURN HOME FROM TOURING?
The first thing I do is look for Fang. She always comes running up to us mewling. It’s really like coming home to her is like coming home to your child. Then assessing the situation of the house, seeing what sort of action has been going on since I live with different people. There’s often...things have been happening, the evolution of new plants, or the rearrangement of equipment in the house. If there’s been a party, practicing for shows going on. I guess then laying in my bed, relaxing, breathing, just absorbing the nice feeling of being back home.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PRIZED MEMENTOS YOU’VE PICKED UP ON THE ROAD?
There’s a really beautiful Egyptian tapestry that one of our really sweet fans of ours bought us. It’s from the 1920s. It’s hanging in my bedroom. I’ve always been obsessed with Egyptology and all things Egyptian since I was a little kid. I got a set of these hieroglyphic stamps when I was eight years old and I was just totally in love. That’s something that represents my own personal taste. In terms of my sense of style, I love collecting ancient artefacts.
WHAT’S THE THING YOU MISS MOST ABOUT YOUR HOME WHEN YOU’RE ON THE ROAD?
AUTHOR JOHNNY DWYER PHOTOGRAPHER MIKE LOPEZ