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BOTW Interview- Azari & III

When you’re currently one of the most talked about underground bands and you’ve just released your debut album that everyone has been desperate to get their hands on, naturally you’re a bit on the busy side. So, we’re bringing you BOTW, Azari & III’s interview a little late. But it was well worth the wait. We got an A (Azari) and B (Alixander) converstation with the two, where we talked about the new album, touring, and riots.

PN: How have the crowds been responding to your shows this summer?

A: I’d like to think they’re enjoying themselves. There’s some shock-and awe, and some get down.

PN: Are the crowds different from your roots in Toronto?

A: Well, the parties aren’t in our living room over here. There’s definitely a lot more people, and a lot more structure in the dance music scene and the club scene in Europe. We do have really good shows in Toronto, and I’d like to think it’s one of the hotbeds in North America, but we don’t have 20,000 fans in front of us in Toronto.

PN: How did all four of you meet?

A: We are obviously all from Toronto. We all kind of were doing our thing and making our own scenes which somehow when we all joined together, there was this kind of mould that was little bit crazy, and you never would expect it, but it did kind of create something that, I think, people can understand and feel, whether they’re relating to one of us in the band or something one of us wrote. It’s hard to really say how we met though because it just sort of happened.

PN: How would you describe your music? What are you aiming to achieve?

A: We definitely all come from various backgrounds in music, ranging from growing up in Africa to a rural suburb in Northern Canada (B: or most exotic of all Hamilton, Ontario.). I mean our music and our background ranges from psychedelic-rock to pop to punk to emo to moving right on to underground dance music from Chicago, New York, and Toronto to the rave scene coming out of London and that whole jungle techno. It’s such a melange.

B: And this is just our first album, and maybe we’ll be able to answer that question after the second or third album, but right now we’re just testing things out. We try not to get stuck in one genre.

C: The album is like a collection from Alexander McQueen- A/W 2011

PN: You tackle moral and political issues. Do issues come first and a song second or the other way around?

A: I don’t think they’re really political issues, I think they’re personal issues. It’s more about how people relate to each other under the circumstances of politisim that gives our rule and order.

B: We’re doing it for the humanities. That encompasses many different grounds. I feel like if I’m going to be on this planet, what am I doing? Am I just going to sit around? We really want to do something that changes this world, and when you die, have you ever thought about what happens when you die?

[Pregnant two minute pause]

A: We want to work with a vibrating quivering mass, beyond people, beyond good, beyond evil- just a vibrating quivering mass.

PN: Your music has a very hypnotic quality so are you hoping to tap into peoples’ moments of transcendence?

A: That’s probably one of main focuses. We basically tap into our own and then hopefully that resonates.

B: Tapping into theirs is by-product of the fact that we’re pushing ourselves in our creativity to actually incite that in ourselves.

PN: What do you think remixes can offer that originals can’t?

A: Our remixes, we try to encompass our personalities, not really what people are looking for. We hope that we please them, but we just have so much fun with remixes. It’s a cool way to express yourself with something that’s already been laid down, but we kind of just take it and make it our own.

B: We find a certain sentiment or message in the song that maybe wasn’t there intent, but if you rearrange the pieces of the song, all of sudden there’s a whole new kind of message to it.

PN: Were you expecting the ban on ‘Hungry for the Power’ from youtube or were you expecting it?

A: We put the video up, and we thought ‘ok, they could take it down at any moment.’ We didn’t really know what it would be that triggered them to take it down. It was up there for a while, and it turns out that it wasn’t the girl that gets shot in the face as she’s doing a sexual act, it wasn’t any form of a woman or cannibalism, it was literally just that moment of prono, in the corner when the business man is checking his computer. So all we did was put a little ‘OPPS’ symbol over the top of the act, just over the area of the body, and the rest we left, and it’s all fine. There’s a society for you. They’re a little confused I’d say. We don’t really have problems with the society in general- it just needs a little tweaking.

PN: Well, speaking of society, what do you think about the London riots?

A: That brings us to the exact same topic I was just talking about- of media, and marketing, and projecting negativity. It’s almost embarrassing when society has such a freak out. To be honest, yes it’s intense. Get the hell in there, grab those kids by their necks and take them out! Are you grown men? What’s the politics behind this? There are so many undertones that aren’t being said, and people in society need to communicate. You got to communicate with your wife, communicate with your neighbour. There’s no communication going on, it’s a bunch of fucking children, and then it’s just a bunch of people who are feeding off the media and marketing, and it’s projecting into something bigger than it actually was.

B: Violence is contagious, and it’s happening all over the world. There are riots everywhere in world right and now and even though this one had no real political foundation, get used it. The more people who are impoverished, and marginalised, and political powers vying for the power and too much confusion, you’ll see a lot more of this and a lot worse in the next 20 years, so suck it up.

PN: Are you happy with the reception of the album?

A: We’ve been working really hard. Apparently Johnny Depp came out to see us last night. I didn’t get to meet him, but that’s kind of a cool sign that it’s really getting out there. We were in the studio with Basement Jaxx last night and to kind of see the respect coming from our mentors so to speak, it’s really exciting for us. I’m just kind of going to stay grounded and keep my humility. You can see facebook numbers growing and twitter things, but I’m not focusing on that. I’m just focusing on how to make people go crazy at our live shows.

PN: You’ve mentioned that improv is important to your music, so how does it play into it?

A: All of us come from that background, I even had a band called Improvise. I guess it comes from not being so organised. There’s defiantly a large element of improv in our shows. We try to keep it like the album, but we try to add twists and turns too. We run a few different drum machines and its fun to switch them up and give a different feel or swing to it.

PN: What’s the last 5 songs on you listened to on your iPod?

A: On my record player there’s nonstop JEFF the Brotherhood. I really like the CSCS track that just came out, ‘Come True.’ I’m sure everyone says this, but James Blake. I don’t know if it’s out yet, but it’s really fun. Gesaffelstein he’s got an old mature sound, but cool and sexy. And this band from Toronto called Austra, their amazing!


-Stevie Pearce

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