Daphne Camf of NO ZU, SaD and more has passed away

The musician was a beloved member of Melbourne's underground music community, performing in a slew of cult bands

Musician Daphne Camf — known for her work in a slew of beloved underground Melbourne bands such as NO ZU — has passed away.

The vocalist and synthesist’s death over the weekend was confirmed by her collaborator Simona Castricum, with whom she performed in the group SaD.

“It’s with great sadness we announce the death of our dear friend Daphne Camf over the Easter Weekend. We are all devastated and processing heartbreak and grief. We send our love and support to all of Daphne’s family, friends and community,” reads a statement via Castricum’s Trans-Brunswick Express label.

“To so many in Melbourne’s underground community Daphne was a true and loving friend. Kind, wise, spiritual, poetic and inspiring, Daphne reflected upon the wry and dark ironies between life and death, of love and pain: ‘dream of Land’s End, my soul in flight, the clay that forms you, is filled with light,'” Castricum added, referencing Camf’s lyrics in SaD’s debut single, ‘The Poets of Antiquity’.

Camf’s early Melbourne’s underground music projects included her first band GAY and the experimental pop outfit Rat Vs Possum, performing on the latter’s albums ‘Daughter of Sunshine’ and ‘Let Music & Bodies Unite’.

Camf was perhaps best known for her work in the sprawling, legendary “heat beat” collective NO ZU.

The group’s second album, 2016’s ‘Afterlife’, received acclaim for its eclectic composition —combining a range of funk, no-wave, house and global percussion influences to create its movement-oriented body music.

Last year, the band returned with their first new music since ‘Afterlife’ and its 2017 remix EP ‘BODY2BODY2BODY’. The track, ‘Talking to a Stranger’, was a cover of Hunters & Collectors’ 1982 single — a regular staple of NO ZU’s live sets, and arrived alongside a cover of Bryan Ferry‘s ‘Sensation’.

Outside of performing, Camf was also an internet TV presenter and radio broadcaster, hosting the show Desperanto on Hope St. Radio and regularly appearing as a guest on 3RRR’s No Pants program. Camf was also a skilled makeup artist, and made her own bespoke fragrances.

In 2018, Camf united with Castricum to form the dark, minimal synth-wave group SaD. Last year, the duo released the excellent debut album ‘Saturn Rules the Material World’.

Drawing heavily on both artists’ love of goth and romantic artistry and aesthetics, the hugely collaborative LP paired Camf’s poetic lyricism, haunting vocals and synth melodies with Castricum’s electric guitar leads and beat programming.

“Making music with Daphne was the most incredible connection. It was a dream come true. I am so immensely proud of Daphne: her wisdom, her poetics, her artistry. It was as if she was from another world. Yet somehow, I was super fortunate to become part of her world,” Castricum reflected in a post on SaD’s social media earlier today (April 6).

“I love you Daphne. I miss you. ‘Saturn Rules The Material World’ remains an enigma. Daphne lives on through her music, through her fragrances. Our performances on stage, our rehearsals I will treasure and be forever grateful. Our little world. Gone, but never forgotten.”