The Chesterfield-based singer/songwriter, Aza Brown, has years of experience in the music industry, which is showcased in his music. Took a long hiatus from original music and then returned to fascinate us with his distinct Power Pop sound. He recently released “Afterthought,” which we reviewed. And now it’s time to learn more about it directly from the renowned artist.
• You’ve been in bands and are now flying solo. You’ve been in the music scene since the 90’s, took a long hiatus and then came back stronger. How would you characterize the evolution of your sound and style throughout the years and diverse experiences?
In the early 90’s I was in a band called Dazy Age – we were all really into psychedelic stuff like Zappa, Jellyfish and The Beatles, but there’s always been a consistent use of vocal harmonies from my very first bands carried right through to my solo stuff (I was in a choir for 11 years when I was younger). My sound has evolved further with my influences from the electronic side of music too – I promoted club nights in the early 00’s, and I’m lucky and grateful to be able to say that some of the DJ’s and producers from those days have remixed some of my stuff and taken it to a whole new dimension.
• In other interviews, you stated: “I’ve been let down so many times in the past, and wasted so much time in various bands.” Did you ever regret playing in bands and wish you’d developed your own project back then?
Well, it’s time I’ll never get back, but there’s the old adage of everything you’ve done has brought you to where you are now. I have indeed brought those feelings of wasted time with me, though, and if I could have just streamlined a few of those other bands, seen weaknesses, time-wasters and trouble-causers in advance, I might have had a few more (creative) years spare! I’ve had amazing times with every single band I’ve been in, though, but one thing I’ll always say to young bands coming through is to make sure you’re all on the same page early on. I’ve always been writing concurrently anyway, but with the advent of GarageBand and a lot of other software/technology, it made it so much easier to write my own stuff, and I don’t think I’d have developed it to such an extent back then – whether I’d have liked to or not!
• I was introduced to you through your latest single, “Afterthought.” I’m wondering how you would describe your sound to someone new to your music.
That’s a really tough one! Everyone likes to think they’re unique, but I think I wear my influences on my sleeve. Musically, this album’s not gonna step on any toes (I’ve got a lot of other stuff in me that will, though!) – some of it’s quite easy listening, but lyrically, the upbeat yet laid-back style hides a darker edge with the words being really quite visceral in places. I’d suggest my music’s got a Power Pop edge to it – complete with vocal harmonies and tinged with a smidgeon of psychedelia…
• The sound in “Afterthought” is vivid and euphoric, however, the lyrics are dark and vindictive. Which came first, the lyrics or the music?
Well, the music came first, but only just! It was actually a friend who played the chords when we were jamming ‘round at mine, and I came up with a miserable Radiohead-type vocal almost on the spot. I then changed a few chords, and also led the lyrics to a different place so it didn’t sound like I was feeling too sorry for myself! It became more empowering in the end…
• The single is relevant and will conjure up a certain memory for anyone who has been let down and felt abandoned. You mentioned in your EPK that, “It’s not about anyone in particular—it’s about everyone who ever fucked me over.” But did a certain incident inspire you to write it?
It was a culmination of a few of those instances – some of them might have been girlfriends, some band members, some of them people who thought they could just breeze into my life and take what they wanted before disappearing. You know the sort! I found it cathartic to treat them with the same contempt as they’d treated me – probably a lot worse in the end!
• The music video is absolutely terrific! The atmosphere transports the viewer into the summer breeze. Where did you film it? And how did you find the experience?
Thank you! I went to Puerto Escondido in Mexico for most of it – I’d originally wanted to go to Spain to the Spaghetti Western studios in Andalucia – the song’s got an epic Spanish guitar solo in it, so it really made sense and I was relishing the chance to dress up as a cowboy and shoot guns from a horse, but Spain was “shut” at the time and Mexico didn’t disappoint – in the slightest! I went down the East Coast looking for places to film, and a few bits were shot on Holbox Island – just off the North East Coast, but on my travels I met a lot of people who were raving about the West Coast instead, and they were spot on! It was SO beautiful, and I might even put up an alternative lyric video which has more drone footage – just to show quite how amazing it is – I should probably approach the Oaxaca Tourist Board when I do that, because it would show their fantastic coastline in an extremely good light – accompanied by Yours Truly, of course!
• What are your plans for the rest of 2022?
I’ve had a massive boost over the Summer in the form of a celebrity fan – Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting/The Full Monty/The World is Not Enough) retweeted “Afterthought” – describing me as “a hugely talented Singer/Songwriter” with “really clever lyrics”, which not only was a lovely compliment, but it’s seen my Spotify Streams and Youtube Plays both quadruple – it’s really given me some momentum, so I’ve got another single out “Sticky Situations” out on Friday 30th September, with a WHOLE remix EP (at least 8 remixes) out in the 3rd week of October. As well as this, there’s some Merch, Prints and a physical version of the album available from the website (way before the digital release), and I’ll probably put another single out before Christmas. It’s all happening!
• Many thanks for your time! Any final words for your fans?
– a huge thanks for all your support and kind words of encouragement. …and thanks for your interest. I have to do a lot of this on my own, and I’m very grateful to have such amazing feedback spurring me on. For anyone wanting to sign up to follow me on any platform, here’s a FREE download as a “thank you”! x