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Azari & III: Trilogy

The Toronto band speak to us about going on tour, their Beyonce meets Model 500 vibes and the new album

Since the release of the phenomenal ‘Hungry For The Power’ in 2009, Toronto based Azari & III have been winning hearts and minds the world over for their slick production and analogue sensibilities. We spoke to the full band - producers Dinamo Azari and Alixander III, and vocalists Fritz Helder and Cedric ‘Starving Yet Full’ Gasaida - on the eve of their European live tour, playing Trilogy: Part II in Leeds.

Dazed Digital: Can you tell us a little bit about the tour, and what your live show is like?
Azari & III:
It depends on the show, but generally we’ve got like a Beyonce meets Model 500 kind of vibe, if that makes sense. It definitely wasn’t easy to recreate that studio sound we developed with a lot of old gear - mainly the analogue stuff. There are some sounds in there that took a little longer to recreate. But we don’t really like to sit behind a computer and just move blocks around; in the studio everything’s very hands on. The live show’s crazy.

DD: How do you find the club scene in the UK compares to what you’d find back home?
Azari & III:
Well, obviously pop music in North America is very different from pop music in Europe. The club scene is much more integrated into society over here - there’s so much community wrapped around it. It’s on the radio, there are tons of labels that are supporting, there are massive festivals that keep everyone who’s on tour busy. It’s this huge industry. I don’t know why the states haven’t really caught on - they keep it underground. It’s funny because if you’re in the inner city, everybody’s into dance and electronica, but then it’s not on the radio.

DD: You get tagged with the ‘retro’ or ‘classic’ label a lot - is that something you embrace?
Azari & III:
‘Throwback’ is the big one. I don’t know - noone calls the Strokes a throwback. Or Lenny Kravitz, any of these rock bands that do things real simple and old school. I mean, we’re playing an old guitar, an old set of drums - so what? Our ideas are modern. We’re not young kids, we’ve got influences from the 70s onwards, so maybe our backgrounds are subliminally coming through. But you try to embrace everything - retro’s cool. Everybody loves an old, well-built metal car, before they became all about fiberglass and impact zones. Maybe some of that comes through in our music.

DD: Do you think there’s too much pressure on dance music to constantly produce new sounds?
Azari & III:
That’s where you get all this annoying stuff, because they’re concentrating on making the newest sound, but where’s the substance? It’s hard to really pull off substance when you’re sitting at a laptop in your bedroom. It is kind of cool, I suppose, to be able to make a beat and grab a bunch of samples to sound like old school house music, but we try to go a little further and bring the soul out - really demand proper musicianship. That’s the etiquette we’re playing by.

DD: What’s next for the band?
Azari & III:
The tour for this album is going to continue until 2012. This month’s going to be fun, coming back to some of the places that have really supported us, mostly in Europe. And I think there’s definitely new material floating around - we’ll probably take a couple of months to figure out our next move and come up with something that’ll have you guys talking about us again.

Azari & III’s debut album is out now. Wax:On & Metropolis presents...Trilogy will conclude with Part III on November 26th, with Chase & Status headlining

Text by Paul Britton