We caught up with German producer Azaleh to chat about his music, influences and what’s coming up. Here’s what he had to say…
Hey Azaleh, thanks so much for agreeing to an interview. Where are you based? Do you tend to travel a lot, or are you firmly rooted at home?
I’m studying in Mittweida (Germany) now, usually going home to Radebeul during the weekends.
Can you recall your first real exposure to music?
Not really I’m afraid. I always loved music but my taste has massively changed so I don’t really connect with most of the music I used to listen to. There’s just a few artists from back then, for example Manu Chao, that still talk to me.
How and when did you first begin writing and creating music?
In autumn 2014. Basically spend the two weeks of school holidays we have in autumn in Ableton and got really into it. From then on I regularly worked on music whenever I found some time to do so.
How did you decide upon the name Azaleh?
It’s the name of a star. I stumbled upon it in astronomy course and just loved the way it looked and sounded, so I went with it!
Have you made or released music under any other name?
I have a side-project called Helaza. Under Helaza I’m releasing harder and more experimental music, all that music that doesn’t fit Azaleh!
Can you describe your music for us?
It’s supposed to make you think – I’m trying to capture the melancholy of modern life, to point out what is going wrong in this world, and also what really matters the most to all of us. We go crazy about such little meaningless things and forget to appreciate the good sides of life.
Have you played live recently? Would you like to do more shows or tours in future? Anything coming up soon you’d like to tell us about?
I’ve played a few Drum & Bass gigs recently and in the past but literally never played a chilled out set live yet. I’d love to play some shows in the style of Azaleh, but I didn’t have the opportunity to do that so far and also don’t see it coming at the moment. I can’t organize it myself, but if I get booked somewhere I’d love to come and play.
What have been your biggest influences?
Traveling through Canada has probably been my biggest influence so far, it’s changed my music, my personality and the way I look at life.
I’m always trying to experience all kinds of art, you can learn so much from photography or painting for example. There are so many parallels I wouldn’t have thought of a few years back, for example how you mix the elements together, the way they create tension or blur into each other. There are quite a few things I learned from that, it can be really useful for your own works.
Do you think producing electronic music requires technical or creative skill? Or both?
It requires both. But that only means that you have to spent a lot of time on it and never give up, even if it is frustrating. And that will most likely happen at some point.
Do you tend to find the creative process a cathartic or therapeutic experience? Has creating music helped you cope with difficult times in your life?
Definitely, it’s helped me a lot. If I can’t find the words then I’m trying to express myself through music. “Forever In My Heart” is one of those tracks, my heart was ripped into pieces at that time and all my sadness went into the track. It’s really relieving to get that sadness off your chest. Music has helped me like nothing else to get through times like that.
Any collaborations, remixes or joint projects on the horizon? Any new releases coming our way?
I’m working on my debut album. It will be a total of 11 tracks (including 7 collaborations and 4 solo tracks). More information about the album concept will be revealed when the time has come. Also working on an EP with Ecepta which is almost finished, and an EP with smokefishe is on the way. There’s lots to come!
Any new genres or musical styles you’d like to explore in future?
I’m trying to keep the Azaleh vibe and expand it into all possible directions. That’s what I did for those upcoming releases, you will hear all that music soon!
Do you have any thoughts on the future of electronic music? Do you think the scene will evolve further?
I think it will for sure, it always did so I don’t see why it would stop just here. We think we already heard everything until someone does something completely new. I’m curious to hear what that sound will be like.
Any artists or other individuals / collectives you’ve not worked with yet that you’d like to work with in future?
There are so many artists I’d really love to work with. Just to name a few it’d be Vacant, Aether or Pensees for example. I don’t feel confident enough to push that yet, because I feel like their skill sets are way beyond mine.
Do you have a favourite track / song of all time? Favourite artist?
It’s not that easy to decide… Think it’s “Hajimari – Sincere“. That track means the world to me, it might be my favourite track of all time. My favourite artist is Sorrow. If you want to hear the tracks that mean the most to me then I can recommend you checking out the Selects mixes I uploaded on YouTube and Mixcloud.
It’s been said that a life in music can be a hard one. Would you agree with that?
Yeah definitely, if you want to make a living from it then it’s going to be hard. You’re forced to release something to make money and that’s not good for your music at all. It’s not that easy to make money from music these days since you don’t necessarily have to pay to listen to it.
Do you have any words of advice for aspiring young producers?
Always keep on going, no matter who puts you down or discourages you. Leave those people behind, they shouldn’t matter to you. You can learn so much from music and it might open your eyes to a whole new world. The fight and frustration is going to be worth it in the end. Insanely worth it.
Any other projects on the horizon that you’d like to tell us about?
Think I mentioned all the important ones above 🙂
And finally – are there any tracks / artists that are relatively unknown that you’d like people to know about?
I can recommend you to check out (no particular order): Ecepta, smokefishe, Menual, Kori, aetherworld, Dakun, FLO, jellis, Lazarus Moment, Everbeat, Ekcle, Hudson Lee, Hajimari, Sora, Phelian, flukeluke, Spaceouters, Eikona, Rift and many more…
All of them deserve much more recognition, so if you haven’t heard some of the names go check them out!
Thank you so much Azaleh!
Thank you for the interview!