Azo: The ‘Shine A Light On’ Mix
Azo is a lover of the cosmos; if she could have it her way she’d be soundtracking the furthest reaches of outer space.
And perhaps she will in the future, bring on ecological space tourism!
But until billionaires don’t have the monopoly over space travel, Azo’s doing plenty on planet earth, particularly in her home of Brussels. In club world she’s the mind behind three parties, Queer Future Club, Bénédiction Rituels Exceptionels and Electronic Solidarity, all of which seek to make spaces more diverse, inclusive and safer.
You’ll find her behind the decks at these parties and other spaces and places across Europe, as well as providing cosmic soundtracks on her monthly transmissions on community-led station Kiosk Radio. Of course her own productions are from an intergalactic sphere too. Pulling from acid, techno, electro and hardcore, and using her arsenal of vintage synths and drum machines, her releases for labels like Duality Trax, LYO and Biologic – the home of her new release Space Tourism – are full of bright, futurist sounds to lift you up.
Her mix for us, which she suggests being listened to on a sunny dusk or dawn, moves through varying tempos and moods, and captures the cosmic sounds she loves so much.
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you
Hello! I’m Azo! I am half french, half Brazilian DJ and producer based in Brussels. I’m passionate about music and a space enthusiast. I’ve recently been abducted, that’s an experience that I recommend to everyone.
I’m a big fan of vintage synths and drum machines that I’m collecting, specifically the Roland ones. I’ve been quite active in Brussels as a party organiser with events like Queer Future Club, Bénédiction Rituels Exceptionels and Electronic Solidarity, focusing on inclusion and diversity and the creation of safer spaces.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
My music is space and rave inspired. It has a lot of influences: Acid, UK Hardcore, Trance, Detroit Techno, Electro. It’s a tribute to space and to the aliens.
The image of the eclipse rave from the 90s combining all of this.
Where was the mix recorded?
I recorded the mix in my studio. I try to never play the same tracks for each recorded mix.
I spent a lot of time drinking tea, meditating, digging and listening to playlists of different themes to create a progression in BPM and intensity and to share some emotions, like melancholy and hope.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
It’s an ideal mix for a sunny morning or sunny end of day, for people watching the sunset or the sunrise alone, or dancing with friends, outside or facing a window contemplating the sky. It can also work as a meditation.
We organised an event together with my collective Queer Future Club and Nuit Sonore in October including a performance of mental tuning. People were laying down on cushions, eyes closed connected to the music.
What should we be wearing?
If I could choose, it would be space ravers. I’m a super fan of aliens. Friends of mine Die Klar and Kwame are organizing crazy trance parties in Paris called “La Darude”, the dress code is trance 2000. I played for them last summer and there was a girl disguised with an inflatable alien carrying her. That’s my all time favorite dress.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
I think recording a mix in space would be amazing, but I will wait until people launch ecological space tours for tourists. The actual projects are disasters for the environment.
I am thinking about recording something connected to the planets. In a planetarium for example and making a mix dedicated to space. Something fun could be to record it in video with 3D audio for an optimal immersive experience. People will need to listen to it with headphones to have the 3D effect.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
The last one: Effective Force – Illuminate The Planet (World In Order Mix)
The intro track and the last track are the most important. It’s like most of my production, a lot are made to be played as an intro or outro track.
I was a bit stressed before recording this mix because I didn’t find my outro track. I listened to a tape of 94 of Laurent Garnier as he is a big source of inspiration for me and I found this trance track, I listened to it 10 times dancing in the studio. I’m really looking forward to playing it loud now. I think that the “World in Order Mix” makes a lot of sense at the moment. Like everybody I think, I feel so terrible with everything happening in the world right now. I really hope this worldwide disorder will be over soon.
What’s your favorite recorded mix of all time?
X-Mix 2 – Laurent Garnier. There are a lot of my favorite tracks like Underground Resistance – ‘The Final Frontier’ in there. Galaxy 2 Galaxy – ‘The Journey of the Dragon’ is my favourite track …
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
DJ Seduction. I’m a big fan of all his tracks and mixtapes. I wish I could have seen him play back in the days in the UK 90s Raves.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
Two Technics Mk2 and one Gemini PS 626 and Hercules speakers for computer.
I bought one of the Technics from a rapper, with a Louis Vuitton slipmat. I still keep it as a souvenir. I spent all my money on the turntables so I had to wait a while to have a decent sound system and mixer. I spent hours in my room practicing before being able to beat match correctly.
Now I still have the technics MK2, with an Allen & Heath Xone 92, XDJ 1000 and YamahaHS 80 speakers.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
I think both are super important because they are the two tracks people will remember but I will choose the end track. If you are doing the warm up, people are not really there to hear your first track
I think the last track has more impact. As I’m playing more high BPM, I’m doing a lot of closing sets. The last track of an event is really the one that people are enjoying the most, they are dancing like it was their last dance. They deserve a proper track for this occasion.
What were the first and last records you bought?
The first one was Egyptian Lover – One Track Mind. ‘Aurora Space Station’, on my last release on Biologic Records, is super inspired by him.
I met him twice in Brussels. I was so proud to have a picture with him where I was making the pyramid with my arms and he was making the Egyptian.
I’m actually buying an 808 so I will be able to make cool pictures like him with this epic drum machine.
I was already playing a lot of No Moon tracks, the previous ones were more dancefloor-focused. This EP is an amazing and peaceful journey through space.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
I think it would be a mocktail, a healthy juice or drink without alcohol.
I started meditation three years ago, it really helped me to be more focused on my music. I want to be 100% dedicated to the mix when I’m playing.
I’m starting to enjoy playing sober. I still like to have a cocktail or a glass of wine with friends or drink after playing 🙂
If it was an animal what would it be?
I’m allergic to a lot of things so I don’t have any pets at home. I also don’t have time to take care of an animal but if I had to choose it would be one of those cute and fluffy little dogs. One of my friends Mary just got a new one. It is so nice and smiles all the time. I spend a lot of time hugging it. It’s make me think about rave music, always positive and making people happy.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
I have a lot of Jazz, soul in my collection. The drums are recorded live, sometimes without clic. I don’t really take the risk to mix them. I also think that the rhythm is super rich and it’s sometimes too much to layer another track on it. I think it’s nice to use the start – stop transition when it’s relevant.
I love the track Dexter Wansel – ‘Voyager’. I always play this song from the beginning to the end to enjoy its beautiful intro.
Upcoming in the world of …
A lot of gigs are upcoming. Marseille with Harold, one half of Biologic records; Berlin; Nord Fiction Festival in Cherbourg; and of course gigs in Belgium like Horst Festival. We are hosting a stage at Paradise Festival with my crew Queer Future Club with KI/KI, Jasss and a lot of friends. Some other dates to be announced.
I’m working on two new EPs and a few tracks will be released on compilations. I’m actually working on the creation of my label. It’s gonna be fun.
Anything else we need to discuss?
I think a lot of people are sharing the same words actually about what’s happening in Ukraine, but it’s still important to say it and repeat it. I hope that all the country’s organisations will take fast the right decisions for peace to stop this war and these people suffering.