Azriel is a French electronic act that I’ve been following since I started Echosynthetic. His music has grown by leaps and bounds in that time, which his crowning achievement releasing over this past week. We’re going to take a look at his new LP, Daemonized, and after that we’re going to talk to the man behind the music. This is one HOT Synthwave Sunday, and I mean that in more ways than one…I mean, look at that cover art!
You don’t get very many Explicit Content warnings in synthwave, but Azriel has broken through that barrier with the super saucy Daemonized. To that point though, this isn’t exactly a synthwave release. Azriel has pushed himself outside of the “comfort zone” of the genre and is really exploring a more experimental path. The results are absolutely legendary. What we get sounds like a blend of mid-to-late 90’s industrial tinged electronic music (think Mortal Kombat soundtrack), a drop of modern EDM…this is a dance worthy record from start to finish, and a very current darkwave heart. You also get a taste of Master and Servant/Strangelove Depeche Mode with the taboo themes of the tracks. I did mention this was a hot release, right?
Don’t let the sensational cover fool you…this is one well polished, well written, and dare I say, epic record. There’s a grand feel to the whole thing, like Tom Cruise in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. Azriel is giving us a peek into a world that we’re not supposed to be a part of, and we know it. But you know what? You just can’t look away…it’s an intoxicating world he’s shown us and once you’ve been exposed to Daemonized there’s no turning back. So, when I’m telling you this is a hot record, I mean it goes way further than the sexy cover art, salacious track titles, and theme. This is one of the hottest records released this year and it has taken me by complete surprise. When it finishes my first response it to hit play and do this thing all over again.
Now that I’ve got you on the Daemonized hype train, let’s talk to the artist behind one of my favorite releases of 2017. We had the chance to talk to Azriel a couple weeks ago and waited for this big release to share it:
Thanks for talking to us! For new listeners, what can you tell us about Azriel?
First, thank you! I’ve been following you since you started and I’m proud to be giving you my first interview!
I’m Samuel (my real first name), 34 years old (near 35, lol) from Marseille, France.
Azriel is the name of a multi-genre music project. I started to make professional music (1.5 years ago). It began in the Epic music genre, tried a little of EDM, but I quickly slid into the synthwave & darkwave world. The next step is to link synthwave/darkwave with another electronic music genre…a new music genre with a story behind each track.
You just recently released the Xtinction EP, in what appears to be the first in a Skynet themed records. Can we expect more Terminator fun in the future?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I always love the Terminator films, but the movies always focused on the USA. I started at first trying to imagine how it would be with Skynet’s army over Europe. Over the next EPs I will tell the story behind the Judgment War between Skynet and Russia, then China. The final EP will tell how, and by who, Skynet will be defeated.
What is your writing process like? How do you come up with your songs?
I have two main processes, the first being inspired by a picture or other visuals, or by synth sounds. The second is a story to tell…in that case I search for pictures which can fit the story and I use it to compose.
I always start with the bass or melody, and then I finish my tracks with the drum. I often have a clear idea of what I want and that’s why I write songs quickly. The most difficult part is mastering.
What is your recording set up?
Very simple stuff, lol. A Macbook with logic pro, a pc with studio one, a nektar LX61 for keyboard, a sennheiser HD205 and some vst. U-he, Arturia, TAL are my main synths. I don’t need a lot stuff to make music, the most important part is the creativity. For live shows, of course, I will need a DJ set, but it will come in 2018 or 2019.
What is the biggest challenge in the synthwave scene?
My biggest challenge is to not sound like the other artists. I love what they do, but I want to stay unique. It’s very frustrating to hear someone telling an artist they sound the same as another.
Another challenge for the synthwave scene is to renew itself. Synthwave has already started with three main styles : Outrun, synthwave, and darkwave. The next step is make new genre from the synthwave or darkwave.
Do you have anything planned for the rest of 2017?
Of course, a special LP, something new, “Daemonized”, will come in few weeks.
A new EP about Star wars, Legends of the Republic EP2, and then Skynet Stories 2.
I hope videoclips will come with this LP, but I need to find someone who would dare to make it, lol
Anyone you’d like to thank or shout out before we go?
I would like to give a special thanks to my wife & my father because they help me to make better music. A big thanks to my fans!
A special shoutout to Vampire Step-Dad, the artist who talked to me, UnholyRatKing, a special friend, you Echo, more than a blog…a friend. To CobraCommander and Devjock, the greatest supporters of the scene. Powerwalker, Dreddd, FaceXhugger, Synthaggedon, Airborn, LowPassVision & all who I forgot but still love!