Azita: Music NOT to Fit Your Hairdo

“It’s my goal to get away from anything to do with genre,” Azita tells me: “When I have a phrase of music I don’t want any identifiable thing where people think, it’s cool because, ‘It fits with my hairdo.’ A lot of people don’t necessarily listento music.  It’s like they want it to fit their scene.”  I recently got a chance to catch up with the subculturally legendary Chicago artist/musician (notably as a member of punk performance artist outfits Scissor Girls and Bride of No-No) while she was at home practicing (“I don’t normally do that,” she admits.)

Last week Azita released Year, likely her most delicate and sunny release to-date.  “Well, they’re really different,” she tells me: “This record was originally part of a play.  I actually sang the songs in the play.  It was a six-week run.”  The play she’s referring to was a collaboration with playwright Brian Torrey-Scott.  As far as the sound of Year, Azita tells me, “This is a full band.  Arrangements are really tight,” but describes the difference in composing music for theatre, compared to “pop” (or at least her take on “pop”):

“When you do songs in theatre you’re not going to do songs the way you would a pop song.  You’re not going to repeat yourself.  It’s the characters’ lives.  Some of the songs are very short… but not in a Minor Threat way…”

The album does sound like the soundtrack to a fairy tale about a child of John Peel’s.  There’s a lot of soft and pretty piano pop, but it’s punctuated by things resembling jangle pop and [the seemingly-long-forgotten] dub.   And the fact that the work as a whole takes the form of avant-garde musical theatre actually fits quits nicely with her take on contemporary consumption of music by the masses.  She tells me that she, much like myself, doesn’t like the digital way and that her albums are each,

“Constructed like a story… It’s the attitude it’s created that kind of bothers me.  Like, if a person doesn’t experience it as an album, but as a bunch of tracks.  A lot of people wanna like hear something and immediately digest something and then get rid of it.”

The polishing off of Year marked a breath of fresh air for Azita:

“When I finished this record it was like the end of a long process.  I was like ‘What am I gonna do now?’  It’s the first time off I’ve had like that in like 10 years… I just let myself chill over the summer… I’ve been doing a lot of things that aren’t exactly going to sound cool, like cooking, baking, and grilling… I don’t need to put out another record just to ‘put out another record.’”