After a very noticed first debut album, the young artist Thomas Azier returns with « ROUGE » a beautiful album all in contrast and nuance.
Like a goldsmith, the artist carved each song as a jewel with the intention of making them timeless.
« ROUGE » will be released on May 12th with a big European tour until the end of the summer.
Behind this graceful elegance, this sensibility supposed fragile, we met a passionate artist with flamboyant energy and heart.
Thanks to Thomas Azier
Merci à : Anthony L. / Mercury France
Photos : Patricia Khan
Interview : Renaud Velin
If I would have to put a colour to my voice, I will choose red. Yes, red is a colour of sensuality, desire and passion but for me it is also the colour of anger, of blood and violence. It is such an interesting colour, it is the most contrasted colour there is.
So to go back to my voice, if we find all these different emotions in the colour red, it is all the emotions I can find in my voice too. I got all these emotions inside of me, all these emotions which give a human colour. Nowadays everything is black and white. What I wanted to do with this record is to show the colour in between, like the nuance. So I feel that my voice is the fil rouge of the record. That is why, I called it « RED ».
« RED » is about giving a nuance, not just about the duality of the feelings. Is it straight or is it gay ? Is it feminine or is it masculine ? Is it Black or is it white ?
No ! It’s everything in between ! I wanted to express eveything in between. It is not that I went with this idea to make the record, it is just something I realized when I made it. Like many things I make, I realize after what it is. And I feel, this is a record about nuance like about different shades. « HYLAS » (first debut album) was really about the night, this one is really about the dusk !
The sun is coming up and the darkness is fading. That is what I would like to hear today, in the time we are living in.
« Talk to Me », « Gold » and « Winners », your three first singles are definitely printed more soft, more bright, more optimistic moving songs than the previous album which was more into dark light. That was the desire with « ROUGE » to go forward more brightness ?
As an artist, you always magnify certain aspects of your personnality. But again, a personnality is so wide. It is so difficult to capture somebody in a word, in a style. And for me, my most favorite artists are the artists who constantly reveal something of their personnality along their career and they changing all the time. It is really important for me to see these changes in the artist. I want to see that, I want to feel that as a fan. My favorite artists are the artists who constantly try new stuff. Like David Bowie or Serge Gainsbourg, for example. So, I don’t want to hear the same record all over again. I am just reacting of what’s happening around me and darkness became mainstream. In every movies, series, TV, news that you can see : violence became mainstream, darkness is mainstream, sex is mainstream for a long time, chocking is mainstream … It is not exciting anymore !
Excitement is in nuance, in some femininity !
I recently discovered working with female producer and art director and that is something that I really want to continue to explore in the near future, I really liked their approach, their way of working. There is too less women in the music industry even in politics. At this point, we need their soft approach of things. I really liked to work with Ellen Treasure, the art director of « Winners » videoclip, she really opened my eyes for a lot of things. I wanted something different from what you usually can see, everything looks like the same today. « Winners » has to be a moving painting, I want to stop the video and see a painting and she really nailed it there. I wish people can see it in a dark room in a museum and would feel the experience with a good sound because it is quite intense. The bluriness make it feel like a painting. It really does not look like a music video and that is what interested me : exploring new things….
In this album, the melodies of your songs are much more worked while remaining simple and the lyrics are much more elaborated. You payed attention to the lyrics and having more melodious songs. Is this a way for you to express and create more emotions and feelings ? For your first album, you have been locked up alone for 5 years to create your songs, what was the process on this one ?
Well it was a similar situation because I like to lock myself up when it comes to writting but this time I wrote this one with my brother so it was a big change because I didn’t work alone. We are like really intense both of us but we are always fighting for the better thing so at the end the music in the room always wins. He is the opposite of me but in the same we are very complementary and he can tell me the truth very blently. I really worked on my voice on this record, it is very present and I learned a lot and my brother helped me to get closer to myself, he helped me a lot, I changed, I feel more comfortable with myself, with my voice and that was the work of this record for sure.
You have an intimate and special relationship with the cities in which you live. At the moment, you live in Paris who is one of the characters of the « Talk to Me » videoclip and who also has an influence on this new album. Berlin where you created yourself artistically and to whom you have just dedicated a song, some say a farewell song … but maybe it is just a goodbye … Is there a parallel to do with a love relationship ? Can the intimate relationship you have with these cities be likened to the love relationship you have with a person?
Yes, it is all the time like that. You never know with me, with « Angelene », with « Berlin » or with « Babylon », you don’t know what I am talking about. And I like that that way because for me, there is multiple fil rouge in a song. Like a Francis Bacon painting or whatever you like, you see sometimes things in it that you want to see. And I really enjoy that people find their own meaning in my songs. In a way, « Babylon » is a love story but when you listen to it closely, it is also about the time we are living in which falls. It is not working the way we are doing things now in our society so our Babylon will fall, just as much as it fell in the Greek and Roman culture. It falls because it is not working the way it works. So for me, it is like we are dancing on the tables, we are having our time of our lives in this capitalist system, everything is amazing, you can buy what you want, you can do what you want, you can be what you want to be but it is already dying, I feel it is like a dying old man. But I see it in a positive way because with young people, we have so much energy to built something new. I feel that we are lamenting all the time, that is why my music feels sad sometimes, it is in ourselves, I don’t know why but I feel that the young people of this generation have a certain sadness, a certain hedonism like life is a meaningless feeling but there is also a feeling of hope and there is always energy to create something new so I don’t see this lamenting process or this dying process as something bad. There will be always something new. I feel that lament here in Paris but less in Berlin because it is constantly building and growing. Like I like to travel and discover Africa lately. I really like its atmosphere, for me it is like a tropical Berlin. A feeling of new with a such warm and good energy.
You got this long elegant and graceful shape. It seems fragile and straight but you did this crazy choreography in « Talk to Me » video and in a recent photoshooting with Jean-Baptiste Mondino for the Numero Homme Magazine, he made you making so flexible positions and mouvements. The body language seems also to be a very important way to express your feelings and to express yourself, right ?
Yes totally. And I like when it is awkward, you know. When you do something you that you don’t feel comfortable. For me I come from Holland where everything is so serious and for me I like to do no matter how, I like to do the best ‘I can’t swim !’ or like ‘what the fuck I am doing ?!’. I like to do it as the best naive way like a child who learns to swim or to walk. In « Talk to Me » video it was not a choreography, it was improvisation like in Mondino’s stuff, just doing. A lot of times, it is not working but it is fine, I like it. I need to feel these crazy moments. I need to let it go. I use my body as an extension of my music or my personnality.
I like to give myself without a filter. You put your heart on a plate and the risk is that people trample it but I allow them to do that because it is my choice to give them my heart so it is ok. I can’t say it doesn’t hurt sometimes how people react to my music because I am vulnerable too. But by showing myself how I am, I just hope that other people would do the same because I think everything would be nicer if it is like that.
« … Talk to me, talk to me, tell me how you really feel…» ?
I am really happy. I just hope that people will give time to this record because it is more based on the songwritings. I am really happy to make this statement with the songwritings, I am really proud of the lyrics. This record sounds different and people needs to live with it, do the dishes, or go to work or take the metro and feel something. I do realize it is an album you need to give some time. So, I hope people will give the time and when they invest in it, I hope the music invest them too and I give something back to them. They need to listen all the songs and feel this album.