Thomas Azier is a pop-electronic music artist, based in Berlin. After spending the past 4 years tirelessly honing his sound Thomas Azier has emerged with his debut EP “Hylas 001”, released on his own label Hylas Records/BMG Rights Management.
He recently co-wrote with German artist Casper on his #1 selling album XOXO, and collaborated with Timo Kaukolampi, head of the Finnish experimental beat rockers, K-X-P. The 24-year old multi-instrumentalist is now working on his debut album, which follows his first EP “Hylas 001” and a second EP “Hylas 002” due out in Summer 2012.
I’m fine thank you. I’m answering these questions from my home ‘studio’ (desk and some speakers) in Berlin. I’m putting the finishing touches to my second EP « Hylas002 ».
For anyone that hasn’t heard your music yet describe the direction in sound you are taking?
Always a hard question to answer yourself. But I would say I’m looking for an electronic slightly futuristic pop sound. Maybe it sounds a bit like the city I’m living in.
I want it to be like a play between hope & despair. That’s why it has quite an epic and dramatic touch sometimes.
How does the writing process work internally, on both a lyrical and musical level?
It depends a bit. Most of the time the process starts with melody lines, chords, drum rhythms & sound ideas which are forming in my mind. From this I make sketches. Strong lyrical topics & moods start surfacing when I start to produce those sketches in ableton. During the production process the writing continues and the sketch evolves into a song. Everything starts to fall into place when all of this happens intuitivly, then it feels like ‘something else is writing the song for me’ and you write the best stuff. For me songwriting is a very important skill to develop. In these days ‘cool’ music is very sound orientated. That’s a great thing and I can get inspired by great sound as well, but in my stuff it has to be a symbiosis of songwriting & sound.
Why did you choose ‘Red Eyes’ from the album as the first release?
Red Eyes had the right vocal emotion. It was one take. I’m looking for those ‘real’ moments where you loose yourself in the music and the hair in your neck stands up. Like a wave of emotion coming over you. I wanted it to be like this to show the direction where I’m going next. I wrote quite some songs here in the last five years and I want to show a progression in my releases. This felt like the right first thing. Sort of acid pop-future, bitter sweet urban nostalgia.
What themes do you explore through your lyrics and are they personal?
This will evolve more and more in the stuff that is coming, but over-all i can say: the city, darkness, nostalgia, hope, despair, introspection, mythology & the future. Some of it is personal, with other tracks I really dive into a certain story, theme and study them before writing about it.
Did you work with a producer on the record? And if so what did they bring to the sound?
I produce myself, most of it throughout the places I’ve stayed in Berlin; I had to move quite a few times so the parts have been done here and there through out the city.
Working alone means you don’t have to make any concessions, but you also loose focus and objectivity at some point. You don’t know if it’s great or shit anymore. Overall I can say I need isolation to get the result I want.
Do you think the internet makes it easier for a singer starting now than it was ten years ago?
Being only a singer doesn’t bring you anything. Of course there are some exceptions, but music is not fucking karaoke like in all the tv shows. In my opinion you must be able to write & produce, to have something to say. What’s the point otherwise? I got into producing a few years ago, because I don’t want to rely anymore on other people and I had a strong vision in my head. I needed to experiment with sound and songwriting. Production wise I sometimes still have the feeling I have no idea what I’m doing, but if you trust your ears you’ll get there for sure! I know what I want to hear.
Regarding internet, it’s definitely easier to check stuff online, you don’t need any school or book, google has the answer. In that way it’s easier to make your own demo’s. That has helped me a lot. Plus you find crazy inspiration in the dark corners of the interwebs. But it still takes a strong vision, perseverance and time to make it actually sounds fresh and well crafted. And that’s good.
What is the first song you put on when you wake up?
My brother showed me the 5th symphony of Mahler the other day and that’s what I was listening to this morning. It’s mindblowing.
If you could go back and open up for any musician, (dead or alive) who would it be?
Kate Bush would be so cool! And another awesome thing happened. Yoann Lemoine (woodkid) contacted me the other day and said that he really liked my music. That was really amazing. Maybe I can open for him, that would be cool!
What’s next for you now that the single is out there?
Finishing the second EP, then do some shows in April and work on my album after that. I’m really looking forward to everything that’s coming for me. It feels like I’ve been in my room forever and now it’s the time I can go into the open and show my stuff. I’m super excited about everything, like a young calf in spring jumping around haha.
Your last word for our TEEZ’FM listeners?
Lots of love from Berlin! Thanks a lot for listening to my stuff. I appreciate this so much. Would love to come to france soon and play some shows!
Thanks to Thomas
Special Thanks to Bastian
Interview by Thierry Jaussaud