Kiwi musician Julia Deans is performing at Auckland Zoo’s unique Love Bugs Valentines Dinner, in celebration of their Bug Lab exhibition. She talks about her persona affinity with bugs.
What is your favourite thing about bugs?
I think it’s just that they’re so different to us, and they are just such amazing little creatures, and so varied as well. When you start looking at the detail of them, their physical being, and when you get up close and see the markings on them, they’re incredibly beautiful. I think it’s sad that we grow up being scared of them because they are actually these really beautiful beings, and they have such detail in their carapace.
I think to a certain degree you learn your fear of them from adults. When you’re a kid they’re like ‘Uh don’t bring that thing in here, that’s terrifying take that away’. They have such an incredibly important role in our ecosystems and keeping our world alive. The obvious one is bees, but most insects are pollinators, and we would lose all our plant life if it wasn’t for those.
Do you have any favourite bugs?
I actually really like ants. Even though I’m constantly trying to keep them out of our kitchen, I refuse to poison the nests because I think it’s cruel, and if you poison one another is just going to come back. I like the whole colony thing and just the way they work and interact with each other, and their behaviour is as one unit, a family. They’re quite fascinating, same with bees and the whole hive mentality.
Is there a particular moment which sparked your love affair with bugs?
I think when I started getting more fascinated by them was when I bought a point and shoot camera which has a really good macro-lense and I started taking photos. I was really able to zoom in and see details, the hair and markings on spiders, and the detail on moth wings. I’ve been known to sit there for an hour or so and take pictures. Around our house we’ve got lots of grey house spiders that grow quite big, I take lots of photos of those. I also take pictures of lots of different moths.
Auckland Zoo’s Love Bugs Valentine’s Day menu incorporates edible bugs, have you eaten bugs before?
No! I’m a little bit nervous. I don’t even like eating whole prawns because it’s got the head and the eyes on it, but I think it’s like with any animal, if a lamb came out and it still had the head and eyes on it I wouldn’t be able to eat it. I was a vegetarian for 10 years as well.
What Valentine’s Day menu item are you most looking forward to trying?
All of it sounds really good, I reckon you should try everything at least once before you should pass judgement. The entrée of beetroot, cured salmon, edamame, lemon confit with a bug crumb parmesan wafer sounds amazing. It’s a great idea, nice way to ease people into the idea of edible bugs.
Do you and your partner have any Valentine’s Day traditions?
No! This is probably our first Valentine’s Day thing ever.
What can we expect to hear you play at Love Bugs?
Old and new songs. My new album is out at the end of April/early <ay. I will be playing a new album cut Clandestine.
Has any of your music been inspired by a love for bugs and conservation?
Not directly, but the songs for the new album are about looking after each other and the world we live in. I wrote a song about my cat when he ran away once. I love animals, all varieties, they’re amazing. And plants, the zoo’s a great place to visit!
Julia Deans is singing at Auckland Zoo’s Love Bugs Valentines Dinner on Wednesday 14th February.