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Family members: Lee Zee

Updated: Feb 10

Lee Zee is, without any doubt, one of the architects of Colleen's request show, Balearic Breakfast. I am so happy he accepted to join us here! Let's meet him!


1) Hello Lee! It’s such a pleasure to have you here on the Blog! We owe the show’s title to you! How did it come to your mind back when the show started?                  

Hi Artur – many thanks for inviting me. It’s a pleasure to be here. Well, as you know, Colleen was holiday-hosting Gilles Peterson’s breakfast show on Worldwide FM, and it had the running name of ‘Summer Staycation’. When summer came to an end, Colleen put a call out on Instagram for listeners to suggest an alternative name for the show. As soon as she put the call out, I messaged her back, saying, “How about Balearic Breakfast?” Then I quickly did a check to make sure there wasn’t another show with that name already!! Thankfully there wasn’t. The name just came to me – it felt like a natural choice. I’ve always felt there was a significant overlap with the musical aesthetic of the Loft and the Balearic movement. A musical open-ended-ness and psychedelic quality. Knowing Colleen, her deep knowledge and love of music across genres, space and time, the name just felt like a good fit.

2) have been featured in the 160th show of the series, and your beautiful mix obtained a lot of praise from the Family. Are you aware of your ability to propose musical stories through the tracks you select? Generally speaking, how do you create a set?

             It's great to hear the mix was well received. I’m not on social media at all, so when Colleen told me about the positive feedback, I was really touched. Thank you. When Colleen asked me to contribute, it was originally going to be for a mix for the launch event of the first Balearic Breakfast compilation in 2022. I wrote the track list on the back of an envelope in a couple of minutes and told myself I had to stick to it – no matter if a “better” track then came into my consciousness later that day!

I can’t really tell you why I chose the tracks I did or why they are in that order. That’s just how I wrote them down. I’m quite interested in Taoism and being in the “flow state”. I generally like to go with the first idea that comes into my head. It’s about listening to your inner voice and trusting it. There is a beautiful power in doing that. It’s also a good way to honour your uniqueness. What I love about the mixes from the Balearic Breakfast family is how completely different and personal they are.


3) You also work with Colleen on the request posts pictures; without any doubt, you have an artist’s soul to me! Is your creativity conscious, or does it come almost silently and unpredictably, fueled by music or other forms of art?        

Thank you! I have been creative since I was old enough to pick up a pen. It was my mum who spotted this – when I was about two years old and was playing up / whingeing, she was wondering what she could do. So she gave me a big roll of paper, and some felt tip pens. Needless to say, I stopped crying and spent the rest of the day lost in drawing. I’ve been that way ever since. I think creativity – in whatever form it takes – drawing, cooking, playing an instrument, writing, gardening, painting, photography – whatever it is – nurtures the soul and raises your vibration.

I do love visiting galleries, reading, and obviously listening to music, but really anything can be inspiring. A sunset, a walk in the forest, a really deep conversation, a really good cup of coffee – (the latter is a daily essential!). I do think that meditation, yoga and various herbs and fungi also have a powerful part to play in letting you tap into your inner creative spirit. You also need to stop worrying about whether people like what you do or not. If you love it – that really is more than enough.

4) The Balearic Musical scene is vast. If you had to choose five albums that are Balearic to you, which would they be and why?

  Firstly – sorry. I know you asked for five albums, but I’m going to give you 8 of them! As with the mix, I quickly scribbled them down in a couple of minutes! (but this time on a post it, not an envelope (laughs)!

I guess the joy with the Balearic genre is that it literally can be anything you want it to be. I first heard the word Balearic (in a musical context) with the Balearic Beats Compilation LP, which came out on FFRR in 1988. But at the time, the music on the LP wasn’t really my cup of tea (apart from the Nitzer Ebb track, which has a great dub mix on the 12”, btw!). Going out clubbing in Manchester in the late 80s, you would hear records that are now considered “Balearic” (such as Carly Simon’s “Why”), but they were just part of an overall “club” / house music soundtrack back then.

It wasn’t until 1993 or 1994 when a friend of a friend at University came back from Ibiza with a Jose Padilla mixtape, that I had my proper introduction to what I perceive as being the “Balearic” sound. Of course, this was only a part – the chill-out / Café Del Mar part – of the Balearic sound. But it immediately struck a chord with me. This was the pre-internet era, so trying to find the tracks on that cassette really did take years. Still, that tape opened a lot of musical doors for me.

The albums below? Well, they vary somewhat in both genre and notoriety, but, for me, they are all Balearic because they share an otherworldly, transcendent quality. An ability to take you to another place and time. Music to transport. Music to transform. Music to heal. Music to help you connect with the universe. That’s my take on Balearic. So……. In no particular order:

Laurie Anderson – Mister Heartbreak (Warner Bros - 1984)

Mr. Fingers – Amnesia (Jack Trax - 1989)

Collin Walcott – Grazing Dreams (ECM - 1977)

Wally Badarou – Words of a Mountain (Island - 1989)

Michael Shrieve / Kevin Shrieve / Klaus Schultze – Transfer Station Blue (Fortuna - 1984)

Nina Simone – Baltimore (CTI - 1978)

Michal Turtle & Suso Saiz – Static Journeys (Planisphere - 2021)

Pat Metheny Group – Still Life Talking (Geffen - 1987)

5) I can’t end this interview without asking you, what does it take to “be Balearic” in this life?

Having an open heart and an open mind but always dancing to the beat of your own drum!

Thank you So Much, Lee...

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