If warm shadows and secrets had a sound, they'd sound like Thomas Azier. I first discovered Berlin's Dutch man, Azier, at the Bitterzoet in Amsterdam, landing there on a hot Summer night expecting an ordinary weekday show, but left with awe and an amped up excitement for what has now become my favorite European discovery.
Last week, I chatted with Azier in preparation for his debut album set to release this year.
Alethia: So, how'd you get started as a musician?
Thomas: Since I grew up in a very small town and there was nothing to do, I escaped in my own world by playing the piano for hours. Internet was upcoming and I got in touch with all kinds of different music. From then on, I started producing my first songs on a crappy PC. When I was 16, I moved out on my own and not much later, I moved to Berlin. That's when I really started experimenting with electronic music and songwriting. I was tired of the same ways music was made around me and I wanted to create something that excited me.
Alethia: How did you end up finding your band mates?
Thomas: When you play live electronic music, you actually want to play live and not press 'play' like most dj's do. This requires a lot of technical knowledge and craftsmanship. I'm not really good at it, I just work my synths and that's it. Luckily, I found two amazing nerds who are really skilled in programming and come up with these crazy ideas for the live shows. We try to have a compact set but we push things forward as well.
Alethia: Speaking of live shows, you're outrageous to see live. Your sound is immaculate and your onstage presence is absolutely fascinating. Where do you draw inspiration from when you are on stage? Is there a place you go to when performing?
Thomas: I like the momentum. I like to realize what you do there will never happen again; It's a one-time thing with the people and you. I really like to go into a state of surrendering myself. Almost a state of delirium, almost.
Alethia: Who are three artists you're listening to right now?
Thomas: Tough one! Kraftwerk, Elvis and John Maus.
Alethia: You've got a debut album coming out later this year. What pushed you to get this album out of you and to the public?
Thomas: 5 years of spending a lot of time with myself in sin city, aka Berlin. It was an interesting time but I can say now: Hell, I'm ready for this. I've been in my room for too long. This stuff needs to get out!
Alethia: What can we expect from Thomas Azier in this album?
Thomas: Stories I find interesting, mythology, the ever-transforming city, it's darkness, isolation and solitude, gloomy and sweaty songs.
Alethia: What is one thing we probably don't know about you?
Thomas: I'm actually Dutch, not German. And, I'm a big fan of D'Angelo and a guy called Lewis Taylor.
Alethia: Any parting words for our readers?
Thomas: I hope I can connect and speak to you through my music. That's it!
Huge thanks to Thomas! Catch one of his stunning live performances below and be sure to check him out on Facebook! Thomas Azier Show Schedule
04.25 Amsterdam (NL), Trouw, Noisey NL Launch Party
04.26 / Bourges (FR), Printemps de Bourges Festival
05.18 / Cognac (FR), West Rock
06.21 / Brussels (BL), Zilveren Zaal, Out Loud Concerts
06.22 / Hilvarenbeek (NL), Best Kept Secret Festival