We usually like to discuss about what we like, we want to learn more, make the others react with our ideas or influences. In this case we talked about music and the nightlife in places such as Berlin, Dublin or London with the DJ, producer, label and webzine runner Jasmine Azarian. It was a real pleasure. Wherever you are, whoever you are, here’s a nice point of view of what’s going on.
- The first thing that we can say when we think of Jasmine Azarian is that you’re a real mix of cultures and influences, we got lost when we tried to follow your path into music, Germany, England, Ireland and more, can you explain to us a bit your evolution ?
Haha to be honest I find it difficult to keep up with myself. I started playing in clubs 4 years ago in Dublin and got a residency with a night. It was primarily house music which I didn’t mind because I was happy to play and Dublin’s techno scene wasn’t very big at the time but I started to get itchy feet and was longing to play techno. I started getting bookings in Berlin and that’s when my love affair with the city started. I noticed there was much more room to grow as an artist over there and freedom of choice in what to play. I spent my final year of my degree in Music Production in the UK so it’s given me a good grasp of what the scene is like there.
- You run with 4 other girls the webzine called MOTZ dedicated to techno, what’s the big differences for you between Berlin, London and Dublin, the cities in which MOTZ is implanted ?
So when I started MOTZ I thought it would be pretty interesting to cover techno from different places that were close to my heart and luckily I knew the perfect people to get involved who reside in those places. All 3 places are vastly different, Dublin’s techno scene has improved in the past couple of years and good acts do get booked but the crowd are generally very young and not the most knowledgeable when it comes to techno. So they’ll know who Dax J is and will go to see him while some other acts who might be more obscure and interesting but are equally amazing won’t generate the same interest and have to play in sub-standard venues. It’s near to impossible to book the better venues because they are locked to the big promoters. So it’s very difficult as a small promoter to break through and start a new night. The scene in Dublin is quite clicky but I always have a huge amount of respect for promoters who bring new and diverse acts. The licensing laws are terrible over there too everything finishes at 2.30am. Playing in front of an Irish crowd is great though, their energy is amazing.
With Berlin’s scene there is always so much going which is great but is very dissipated and there’s only a handful of clubs that play the sort of techno I like. The London scene is also good, a lot smaller than Berlin’s scene which has created a real sense of community because everyone gets to know each other which is really nice. I was at an after-hours at a friends and the last people left cleaned the place and bought pizza for everyone, I had never seen anything like that before! We will also be covering Paris soon, we have a good following there so it makes sense and a lot of releases on MOTZ are coming from French artists.
- You played at parties in Tresor as a “New Faces” artist such as Sarin, VSK, Marla Singer, P.E.A.R.L. or Dr Rubinstein… how new would you define your style ?
That was an amazing party! I’m really into rave sounds at the moment, my set will probably consist of usually some EBM, electro, obscure techno, breakbeat, a bit of industrial as well. I like to play high energy sets, I’ve got a really hard sound. I’ve always found it quite difficult to do opening slots because I always end up belting it out, I can’t help it! Sometimes I think a tune quite chill and then I play it on a sound system and I’m like woops didn’t think it was banging! There’s quite a lot of boring techno out there so I’m always on the look for more obscure stuff, it’s always a bit more risky playing it but I’d prefer to take risks than to play a boring perfectly blended set. I guess the stuff released on MOTZ is sort of indicator of the stuff I’m into.
“I think it’s important as an artist not to pigeon hole yourself”
- We snitched into your Youtube playlists and there are many different styles, many different artists, if you had to define your main influences which ones would they be ?
Hahaha yeah I have incredibly eclectic tastes. I love music so much and I’m constantly listening to different things. I think it’s important as an artist not to pigeon hole yourself. I love 80’s music, indie, electro, post punk so I think they all somehow emanate into my style. My influences would be the likes of Myler, Airod, Manni Dee, Le Syndicat Électronique, Drexciya, Umwelt, Boy Harsher, KRTM, Aphex Twin etc. My all-time main influence in electronic music will always be The Prodigy, they were an absolute game changer for me.
- We can read in iMusician that the headline of your article is called “MOTZ : a successful feminine techno collective”. Some journalists prefer to highlight the fact that it’s a female artist, some prefer to talk exclusively about the music without mentioning any gender fact, in what side are you ? Do you understand people from the other point of view ?
I’m quite on the fence with this one. I do feel in some instances it is important to highlight that it is women behind the cause because does raise awareness we are just as capable. For sure there are issues regarding women in the industry that do need speculation but I do feel like to be truly equal we need to stop segregating men and women and try to coalesce. Generally I don’t agree with all female line ups or lists or this idea of excluding men. It’s not helping the problem it’s completely counterproductive. MOTZ is a female collective but we are always working with men and promoting male artists. Yes there is a problem with inequality and not enough women on line ups but it’s not going to get better unless we work learn how to work together and respect each other. Music is for everyone.
- Is there a feminine style or way of playing techno then?
If I’m speaking for myself absolutely not, there’s women in techno like Paula Temple or Rebekah that you wouldn’t have a notion whether it was man or woman playing if the DJ wasn’t visible but then there’s others like Amelie Lens or Charlotte de Witte who you could say play more “feminine” but there’s also men playing less harder techno. So I would dismiss this concept, I would say it’s mostly down to taste and not down to gender.
- For a DJ and a techno connoisseur like you, what was your best moment in front and behind the decks ?
Whenever the crowd go crazy! Also I really enjoy when the strobe lights go in time with drop such a sick feeling. I was playing in a smoking area before and was meant to be playing house but none of the house cds were working and was only reading the techno ones. I had to play a techno set at 11pm in a smoking area, it became really crowded and everyone was going mental and taking their tops off. Also when I was playing in Tresor and I saw my mate standing by the cage and howling like a red Indian made me laugh so much.
I’d say the best moments are when I’m really euphoric and transcend into another world from the music. I also love to dance, I’ve had to write on my arm “don’t dance on stage” while I’m playing because I get carried away, I get so much adrenaline so I guess I have to dance some of it off. Or when you are with a special person and enjoying the music with them. I’ve seen loads of funny stuff throughout the years as well, people get up to mad shit when they’re high.
- I’ve been personally listening to your track “Verses” many times, I have it on my playlist, it’s a bomb track, everything sounds perfect, do you have plans concerning new releases ?
Thanks! Yes I have an EP coming out in the New Year and I’m also working a track with a French producer. I didn’t release anything this year because my sound kept changing and I wasn’t happy with the productions. I will only release something unless I’m 100% happy with it.
Saying that I don’t really like “Verses” anymore but I did think it sounded good when I heard it in Berghain but that’s the only time I’ve enjoyed it since releasing it.
- It was released on the label Dead Cert. Records, will you release some on your own label now with a more industrial style ?
I am going to try my best not to release on my own label. There’s so many labels out there I admire so I don’t see a challenge in releasing with MOTZ but maybe someday, I haven’t completely ruled it out.
- Berlin is famous all over the world for its reputation of an artistic city, specialized in electronic music and that opens the gates of this magical universe, do you think that it is truly easier to create something there ?
Yes for sure Berlin is certainly magical a bit like Disneyland for adults ha. I feel like I progressed a lot as artist in Berlin. There is a lot of opportunities and more like minded people. I guess it’s also a bit like Hollywood is for actors but in Berlin it’s DJs and producers because there’s so many DJs so it means a lot more competition and it is harder to establish yourself. If people asked me what I did I would try to avoid saying I was a DJ, it’s such a cliché.
Berlin is a very hedonistic city so a lot of people get caught up in the party scene and it can detrimental to your career as well as your wellbeing. You have to be really focused and have your priorities straight otherwise Berlin will chew you up and spit you back out.
Thanks a lot Jasmine, hope to see you somewhere soon.
Love & Respect