Jasmine Azarian comes to Corsica Studios, completing a thunderous line up for NAFF. Tijana T, Nite Fleit, Jenny Cheng and Soraya join the party.
Jasmine is a chief proponent of an emerging Irish music underground, which is dedicated to an always banging, hard techno style surefire to light up any dark room. She is a founding member of the all-female fronted techno webzine MOTZ which has grown to sprout a label and events wing all of its own – and continues to provide pitched-black inspiration and works to equalise a historically male dominated scene. Jasmine is originally from Ireland, but has cut her teeth playing to Berlin’s dance floors. She now resides in London, frying brains across the capital and beyond with her own brand of pummelling dance music.
First off, if you were to characterise a Jasmine Azarian DJ set, how would you go about that?
Haha volatile, eclectic, but always banging. When I played house years ago it was banging. I’m not happy with my sets unless it has loads of bangers, bass heavy, rave 90’s sound. Sometimes I dip into a bit of trance and hardcore and I also play EBM too. My sound can be a bit all over the place, I tend to read the crowd a bit and see how they react to what I play and work from that.
You’re originally from Ireland now living in Berlin. Has moving to Berlin changed your approach to DJing or your overall sound? If yes, how/why do you think so?
Leaving Ireland was the best career move I ever made. You can hit your head off the ceiling a bit and there wasn’t much room for growth. I played house because techno wasn’t popular when I first started out, so I had to leave in order to expand my sound.
Techno has become more in demand now and I think it’s great that the scene is improving in certain parts of Ireland. But, Dublin recently lost two of its biggest clubs. The government’s attitude needs to change in a big way towards music and culture. There’s a great movement called “Give Us The Night” which is trying to change licensing laws and help the music scene thrive. If you compare it to Berlin, they protect the club scene over there. Berghain is regarded as this place of high culture by the government and they’ve even initiated funding to sound proof clubs so they don’t have to face closure.
I’ve always felt a lot more respected as a female artist in Berlin and that definitely gave me a lot more confidence to progress.
What are the main differences between dance floors in Berlin and Ireland, where you started out?
The crowd can be a lot rowdier and energetic in Ireland, people don’t have that much time in the clubs because they close between 2.30 -3am so everyone gets pretty wasted because they have to drink fast. They usually get to the club by 12 or 1 so they have about 2 or 3 hours to give it absolute socks haha.It’s definitely fun to play in front of an Irish crowd.
Berlin is definitely less rowdy and you’re not too sure how long the crowd have been awake for – sometimes hours, sometimes days. But I was playing at 7001 last year in Berlin and the crowd were one of the best, so it varies with gigs.
Was your move to Berlin prompted purely by music or was there another reason to get out there?
I did my final year of Uni in Brighton and there was no techno, I had just spent the previous summer living in Berlin so I was dying to get back there to a techno haven.
I’ve started a new chapter since though and now I’m based in London.
Living in Berlin definitely helped my career and starting up MOTZ but I needed to get away from the constant partying for my own health. Berlin will always be my favourite city and has a very special place in my heart and I hope to move back there one day.
In addition to DJing, you’re an editor and co-founder of MOTZ. Are there any useful parallels between the two disciplines? Does one inform the other in any way?
When I founded MOTZ I was definitely more hands on with the editing and writing side of things but ever since we moved on to doing the label and events, I’m definitely more focused on that. The other girls have picked up on the editing and writing more.
What do you think MOTZ’s driving mission is?
To give techno from a females perspective and also to make the scene more equal. Women are just as competent as men.
I was just reading MOTZ’s piece on Limerick being a hotbed for underground techno. Generally, Ireland’s underground music scene doesn’t seem to get the credit it perhaps deserves despite DJs reporting on how fun it is to play there. Is this something you have noticed? Do you have any thoughts as to why this might be?
I’m originally from Limerick and when I left it in 2012 there really wasn’t much going on. One of our new girls, Maedbh, is there now and I’m so happy to hear that the scene is flourishing there.
I think Ireland still has some catching up to do, but unless you go to these places or live there it’s easy to make assumptions. I guess people writing about the scene really helps getting the word out there.
You’re playing at NAFF on an all female line up, MOTZ is an all female editorial crew. What are the benefits of working this way?
The one great thing about working with a female crew is that you feel comfortable to ask opinions and questions. When I was studying production, it was all guys in my class so I always felt shy to ask questions in case they thought I was stupid or, because I was a woman, I didn’t know how to do it. I’m much better now at asking about stuff but it’s just so empowering having the girls by my side.
You’ve recently had a remix out on Joefarr’s latest EP. Have you got any more plans for more production work coming soon?
Yes I have my very first EP on UX this year. Watch this space!
How have you found working in production so far?
I started studying music production and djing at the same time so I’ve always been doing both. It’s just been harder getting productions out there though because of being scared to fail and I always hate what I make so I’ve been working on improving that and my music.
Catch Jasmine Azarian and more at NAFF presents Tijana T, Nite Fleit, Jasmine Azarian, Jenny Cheng, Soraya