TIME + PLACE: An Interview with Azere
"It's that whole age-old thing of going away on an expedition, or to the mountains, and coming back to your society anew."
Shards of memory, thought and environment are bottled and scored with full warm bass, glittering synths and calming beats like the thumping of a clock. Or perhaps the environment scores the songs. The moments are transient: a footstep, a mutter, an engine, a tannoy; as if pulled from the very bottom of the “poetic” list, brushed off and given new life. These sounds that would usually fall into the mass rubbish-dump of “ordinary” as soon as their echo blinks from space, here are given immortality and recycled anew. Each is designated to a specific environment in the time of the world, transporting you to somewhere familiar but distant; temporally spectral. The tracks paint your world and your world paints the tracks, present and past in a harmonious dance – fantasy made from real.
Azere’s time + place presents electronic ambience built on the back of contemplation: a paean to being present, instructions on how to stop and look. Listen to time + place here.
The Big Ship: One of the main topics touched on in time + place is this idea of introversion, do you find music more effective as a solitary experience? Would you ever want time + place to be played to a crowd?
Azere: When I decided to share time + place I wanted to give people a listening experience, like gifting people twenty or so minutes of solitude. Purely because I think it’s a good thing to have (in moderation) and in my university environment peace and quiet can be pretty hard to find so I wanted to give that to people. My favourite feedback has been people telling me it is ‘meditative’ and I suppose to have that meditative experience you have to be listening alone, unless it was some sort of weird cultish group meditation, but then you’d need a lot of headphone splitters.
TBS: Do you consider the songs to be soundtracks to the places mentioned in the titles? Why were the places chosen?
A: The places were all chosen on entirely separate whims, just that I happened to be somewhere and the noises were unfamiliar or new or interesting so I recorded them on my phone. Only one of the recordings was taken after the project started taking form so there really wasn’t much conscious decision to it. I had no idea what I was doing taking phone recordings at the time.
Soundtrack is a good word for it. When I was making the songs I like to think of the music as decoration to the recording. The recording was the place and the time and the rest was decoration to it. The music I added was an attempt at reflecting how I was feeling in that place at that time, and I made the songs so quickly it was like hearing the field recording just reminded me of the feeling and made the melodies and sounds fall into place.
TBS: The interludes featuring clips of artists are particularly interesting. Besides the common thread in their advice, what is your relationship with artists’ words, exterior to their work?
A: I love watching artist’s interviews; I spend so much of my time on it. At the moment I think it’s just a good youthful curiosity as to how creative people function, and when I find bits of myself in what they say I’ll write it down. Matter of fact I sampled Charles Bukowski when I’ve never read more than a couple poems by him and I was only halfway through my first Murakami novel, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle (which I hugely recommend) so I don’t even need a relationship to their work, I just wanted to consider how they use isolation in their own processes.
TBS: Do you agree with them? Is being alone is important to you for growth, or expression?
A: Absolutely. As with everything there has to be balance but I’ve found as an introvert that some of my most positive and life-changing moments have happened to me alone. It’s that whole age-old thing of going away on an expedition, or to the mountains, and coming back to your society anew. I think you can get the same thing from finding a good bench in the park sometimes and sitting for a few minutes. Maybe I’m a boring old man in that way and solitude shouldn’t be prescribed, but I know that being alone sometimes has helped me. Living with a mild social anxiety it helps hugely to consciously give myself a place to consider what went down in the company of other people, and to do it consciously helps remove the dithering and negativity my brain would push on me otherwise.
TBS: Why music?
A: Music is the form of expression I enjoy most, most of the time. With this project music gave me the opportunity for wordless expression of a feeling I didn’t know how to articulate (and from this interview you could safely assume I still don’t know how). That’s where the beauty of music is though. The absolute G, Susan Sontag, called art a ‘dynamic contemplation’, so with music I thought I could create 20 minutes of sound as a base for contemplation for the listener. I wouldn’t know how to give people that through image-based and wordy art forms or even if it’s possible, so I did it on FL Studio.