Dutch singer-songwriter Thomas Azier has returned with some new music and as you can expect, he continues delivered absolutely perfect pop gems to add to our favorite playlist.
This time, the young talented artist has shared “Hold On Tight“, which becomes his second release this year and a new taste of his new album «Love, Disorderly».
Thanks to Thomas Azier
Merci à : Morgane
Interview : Renaud Velin
Connect with Thomas Azier
The Goldsmith is back! I get the impression that this new album was conceived and thought of as a symphonic work, like a new opus telling us a story. Over the songs very worked, I hear percussion, strings, brass… It begins with Love, Disorderly, an epic, aggressive opening and with a beautiful and disturbing work on mute and break, to finally ends with Open Your Arms like a caress, a soft and tender ballad. Is this how you thought the direction of this album, in a bit of spirit of a harmonic symphony telling us a story? What is this story that this album tells us?
Since my independence (after Rouge) it was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the world that surrounded me. I noticed I was less interested in narrative storytelling or fiction and I wanted to find a way to make music a space to observe and improvise, and write words like brushes of a pencil. These experiments turned into songs and this became Love, Disorderly.
With a title like Entertainment, we can think about a very easy sound and a festive ambiance but it is quite the opposite. There is a multiple read about what is entertainment. A more dark and dramatic reality to escape, “dreams are now the only facts, when real life is feeling flat” as your lyrics say. Can you decrypt us the message about Entertainment and what is your read about it?
I feel my head is full with images, from the news, from instagram from advertisement. They all turn into the same type of stimuli and they become hard to differentiate. I’m interested in the fear, excitement and numbness it triggers in me. In a way these everyday triggers are a collage and it’s messy and non-narrative. I just simply wrote down these thoughts, sensical or non sensical.
Once again, there are a lot of little gems in this album such as the exquisite Hold on Tight which represents you so well, Concrete or Open Your Arms. But there is one that intrigues me, For Tsoy. Can you tell us about it ?
Thank you! It’s the last one I added on the record. On one hand the title refers to Viktor Tsoi- lead-singer of Kino, a Russian group that I find inspiring. On the other hand the song talks about brotherhood.
Freed From Desire! You reinterpret this hit from the 90’s of GALA a bit like a religious preach, an anthem or a propaganda speech to galvanize the crowds. Why did you choose this song? Is it for the force of the lyrics that are still as relevant today or is it for the memory of a youth where you could have fun unconsciously?
I think the lyrics are incredibly modern and relevant. It has nothing to do with my youth, I thought the lyrics were great. Apart from the title I also like the line: My love has got no fame, she’s got her own beliefs.
We know that you like looking for new sounds, trying new experiments, trying new things to develop your music. And this time, you also worked a lot on your voice. In many songs, it is more low and deep with a more marked character. It contrasts with your regular voice which is more high. Did you enjoy modulating your voice more ?
As I grew older my voice changed. It’s quite violent to sing so high now and I can’t hit the notes the same way as I used to. These days, I enjoy singing lower as it feels more effortless and matches with the person I am now.
You have a long and close artistic collaboration with Obi Blanche and Ellen Treasure for many years now. It is your gang, your ‘Rat Pack’. How does this creative emulsion work between you? Each one making a different contribution over time, right ?
I get inspired by Obi’s experimental guitar playing and ideas, he has an amazing character and always finds ways to surprise you. Since the video for Winners, the collaboration between me and Ellen has been growing. We work on the entire visual part together but also musically we have interesting exchanges. She convinced me to use my original ‘Yaourt’ voice for Hold On Tight because I had captured the right emotion in that first moment, or she encouraged me to pursue the music of Love, Disorderly (the song) and finish it.
Speaking of artistic collaborations, your music is always very visual and cinematographic as we can see once again with the videoclip of Love, Disorderly. Is it something that you would be interested in to work on a length or short movie ? To work on the soundtrack or even on the direction like you already directed videos ?
I would like to give credit to Laurent Chanez for his incredible work on Love, Disorderly, the video. I think he did an amazing job capturing a ‘soul’ of the world and it reads like you are flipping through the pages of a national geographic magazine, the news, or Instagram. It somehow captures humanity (in 2019). I am certainly open to compose music for film but I haven’t been talking with anyone yet.
Travel is important to you. It is one of your main sources of inspiration for composing your albums. It is much more difficult to travel these days, which can further increase the desire to escape. « Hold on tight ! Free your mind ! » like you say in the song Hold On Tight. As soon as it is possible again, is there a destination or a country that inspires you, that makes you want to go and free your mind?
I settled back in Amsterdam and I enjoy the atmosphere and spirit of the city a lot. There’s a tenderness that I have missed or maybe never felt in Berlin and Paris. My next trip would be to Greece, I was excited to go there before Covid-19 hit us.