Azwel: 'As an artist - you always have to take the wheel'
We were fortunate enough to interview artist Azwel.
1) What made you decide to start recording albums?
I always have a lot of ideas floating around. Anytime I sit down with a guitar or keyboard, a song comes about. I'm never trying to write songs. They just come out when they do. Having the luxury to record them in my own home studio helps too. If the process involved an outside producer, it would take a lot longer. I do enjoy working that way though. I'd like to try that again one day. I used to work with one before Azwel started. I think in a lot of ways that made me want to become a producer on my own. I then went to school for production. My bachelors degree is in audio engineering and I produce/engineer many artists at home when I can. I am recoding a female duo at the moment- well, before the pandemic, which is sounding good. I do many jobs in the industry which includes being a session musiacian for other musicians on the website fiverr. Throughout the pandemic I got more creative and involved with my own work once again. It's been a year since the release of “Mind Caliber (er...Soul caliber)”
2) Its been quite a while since your first release. How does the upcoming album, "Halcyon" compare to the work you've done in the past?
Usually I record approximately 15 songs for an album, but this one I recorded 30. I picked 13 for the main album. In a way, I recorded 2 albums, but it is not being released that way. I spent a lot of time sequencing the tracks correctly. It's very much a “Listen to in one sitting” type of recording. Not one song is the same stylistically. It has some new rhythms soundscapes, and lyrical ideas. I've also been working a lot more acoustic sounds into my recordings. That started within the last few albums or so.
3) What would you like to achieve as an artist?
Just getting the music released is the more important thing. It will continue to reach new people as long as it is out there. I am always using different campaigns and ways to promote. Im continuing to put out the songs on my own label, and I don't see much need to go through minor or even major league ones. If I ever need services, promotion done, I contact a few go-to companies.
I don't agree with servicess like Spotify- although you've got to use them. They don't pay artists a fraction of what they should. But that is the way to release songs these days. I prefer my fans to stream/download the songs from my website. Those are the most updated versions anyway.
4) You released a few songs so far, what can you say about the "The Henchmen" video?
I needed a video so I hired someone to do it. Since we have a pandemic going, I can't use my normal guy and go out to film. So anyway, I just made a call and asked someone to make a video..and to make it weird. I mean what else is there? Lets go weird. I had to do some secondary editing- as an artist you always have to take the wheel at time point. But in the end, I think it serves the song. The meaning of it is metaphorical as compared to the songs lyrics. It is about bad influence. Anyway, I don't put much importance on videos. You just need one for promotional purposes. There is no MTV anymore, nothing like that. The other song I released, “Only Time Will Tell” doesnt have a video. It is also from the second half of the album, which gets a bit darker from the first half. I see the flow of most of my albums comparable to going from day to night. That is what keeps it organic and gives it a cohesive flow.
5) Is there going to be a physical release?
I used to put out cd's in the past. Its such a streaming world now. And I prefer to cut the costs down.
6) You are releasing a second disk?
Oh yes. Since I recorded 30 songs, I'm going to release most of the remaining tracks on a compilation called Halcyon II. Most of the songs on this album were recorded before the songs on the main album. It's a much different listen but not the album I wanted to release at the time. This disk is only availble to paying custimers and will be released 2 weeks after the first album.
7) What should we be looking forward to from you in the future?
Only once in the past have I said I'd like to put the project into hiatus. After 2014's From Now On, I was pretty satisfied with everything I have done on my own. I shifted the focus to live performance but eventually returned to record more music a few years later. It took me until 2017! Usually I release an album every year. I went on to do a few more albums. I can see a hiatus happening again this time. I will however try to release live recordings, acoustic versions, demos etc on the youtube channel.
I'd also like to get some music into other hands. Possibly some online collaborations with other artists etc. Other singers especially. I can have my own voice on only so many songs!
8) Will there be a tour/live performances?
The pandemic makes that hard but I am always working hard with the band and I'm sure we will see some performances soon, even if they are limited to NYC.