“I do so little to make her proud but now that I'm in La Fiamma I've hit the big time!” Zadro exclaimed.
When we got in touch, she was evidently excited.
“Oh my god, I grew up with La Fiamma on our kitchen table!” she said.
“My nonna used to say they had the only horoscopes she trusted, and my nonno used to enjoy looking at the obituaries and yelling ‘why aren’t I dead yet, eh!’.”
This macabre grain of humour runs through all Zadro’s music.
Her first band, Terza Madre (2013 – 2017) was an extraordinarily gothic, dramatic outfit which payed homage to Italian music from the ‘60s and ’70s.
The Sydney seven-piece performed smoky and soaring arrangements to Italian pop songs, taking inspiration from giallo thriller-horror films, such as Dario Argento’s Suspiria, Inferno and The Mother of Tears.
They even did a cover of the otherworldly and creepy Suspiria Goblin soundtrack.
Zadro said that she was inspired to bring the Italian gothic sound to Sydney after it hit her just how cool it would be to see someone belting out these melodramatic sounds – in a pub - in a completely foreign language.
In Terza Madre, Zadro sang entirely in Italian, but admitted that this was somewhat an act.
“I only speak a little bit of Italian,” she said.
“I definitely had to sing with conviction, and I put on the accent, and memorised the lyrics really well.
“But it worried me when there were ‘real’ Italians in the crowd!”
Zadro said that although her parents both spoke Italian, in the house they usually used it only when they were arguing, or keeping something discreet from the kids.
“So I picked up mainly swear words,” Zadro laughed.
Her parents make an odd combination, with a Friulian mother and a Sicilian father.
Once upon a time it was unusual to see this kind of north – south match, given the depth of regional rivalries in Italy.
Nowadays, it’s less unusual amongst Italo-Australians.
Zadro said that she thinks it’s important for second and third generation Italians to remain connected to their culture, and to keep it alive in Sydney.
“The Italian songs which Terza Madre performed... pretty much no one had heard those here, even though they were so popular in Italy,” Zadro mused.
“I thought it was nice to celebrate that pop-cultural heritage.”
Some of her favourite Italians songs include Mina’s Se Telefonando and Luglio by Riccardo del Turco.
Terza Madre ceased performing in 2017, but since then, a new band has formed.
Zadro’s new outfit Hotel grew in collaboration with Loni Cooper, also from Terza Madre, alongside Alyce Brandner.
Although they’ve now got Ryan on bass and Joe playing drums, the group formed with an all-female core.
“We did want to start a band where we didn’t just, talk all over each other,” Zadro said.
“Sometimes men in bands just talk over you...
“Not all men, but we did want a band where there weren’t these big egos involved.”
Hotel has left the Italian lyricism behind, but it’s still sinister, with incisive lyrics and a post-punk throbbing sound.
“It’s the kind of music that I wanted to hear other people play, but never could find in Sydney,” Zadro said.
“Friends always said to me that music can either make you dance or cry... but I wanted to hear something that wasn’t just, your average pop.”
Hotel’s songs make you dance and cry.
In Nice People in Nice Trousers, Zadro sings:
My heart is a dead horse that they keep flogging/
They say I should be out snogging.
It’s a song about class divides and that glum feeling which can arise from social expectation.
When asked about the band name, Zadro responded: “There’s something vaguely mysterious about hotels... they’re like temporary homes, they’re transient zones.
“They’ve got this faraway feeling...”
Hotel is currently recording an EP, which is expected to be launched in April.
Listen to their music on Bandcamp.