Wychwood Festival is literally right around the corner (TOMORROW) and we’re pretty excited. The smooth and soulful Zak Abel is playing The Big Top on Saturday and there are a million reasons as to why you should go and see him. We spoke to him about those, also who else would love to see him collab with Kanda Bongo Man?

Hey! You just played a pretty amazing set at The Great Escape, how was it for you?

TGE isn’t like other gigs because it’s so industry based. So there’s always some pressure. The first time I played at TGE I hadn’t released much music so no one knew any of the songs and I also managed to play the worst gig I had ever played in my life. This time, however, I was headlining for my live agent, Coda, and it was great: the venue was packed and I didn’t fuck up that much at all! Also, I love Brighton – friendly people and good food.


What brought on the Facebook live streamed 30 second cover of RAYE + Jax Jones ‘You Don’t Know Me’? What will your next 30-second cover be?

You’ll just have to wait and see! I knew she was gonna perform before me and I knew she would perform that song so I thought I’d play a song that the audience had heard before… 30 mins ago…


You recently played an acoustic gig in aid of the charity MIND, how was that?

It was a really special moment. It felt good to give back and especially to such an important charity. I think we are still so far away from having adequate support for mental health.

You’re playing Wychwood Festival next week, looking forward to it?

Yes for sure. Performing live is one of the most exciting parts of making music. Also, It’s my first time playing Wychwood festival so I’m looking forward to experiencing something new and performing in front of new audiences.


Is there anyone you’re particularly excited to see at Wychwood Festival?

Kanda Bongo man. That man is a g.


If you could collaborate with any artist on the lineup, who would it be and why?

Him! I love African music. My album was heavily inspired by highlife music especially so I’m sure I could learn a thing or two from him.


What can people expect from your Wychwood set?

Soul, funk, pop, and a really, really big pelican.


How does playing festivals compare to your own gigs? Do you have a preference?

I like both. At my own gigs, there’s this real feeling of warmth and familiarity. People know the songs already and like them or else they wouldn’t be there in the first place. With a festival, you have to prove to people why they should stay and your tent/stage and that’s a challenge. But I like the challenge.

Have you got many other festival appearances planned for us to get excited about?

I just found out I’m playing V Festival. That’s a pretty exciting one. I’m also playing the last ever Secret Garden Party festival. I had a great time at both of these festivals last year so I’m really looking forward to doing them again.


What are your top festival survival tips?

Do not engage in coitus with anyone after the 2nd day of camping. No exceptions.


And finally, for those lucky enough to be going to Wychwood Fest, in a few words, why should they come see you play? Think of this as new music speed dating, no pressure, 30 seconds, GO.

“To make a long story short. Baby, I can make you feel good. I can make you feel good. Let me lay this good love on you” – Shalamar