10 Questions with Aziya, the Alternative breakthrough with her debut EP ‘We Speak of Tides’
Finally, the live music scene is back in full swing, and we for one can’t wait to return to those sweaty evenings in our favourite venues. London’s indie-rock newcomer, Aziya, is also gagging to get back, prepped and ready to perform all the new music she’s released throughout the pandemic.
Inspired by a completely mixed bag of artists such as System of a Down, Jimi Hendrix and Patti Smith, the Hackney-based musician found it difficult to find her musical role model growing up. She has been honing her musical skills since she was 10, when she picked up a guitar for the first time “as a means to accompany her powerful vocal ideas”, she says. Since graduating from the BRIT school in 2018, she states that she “wants to be the artist that I didn’t get to see growing up”.
Aziya’s debut single “Slip!”, released in March, received a slew of positive reviews and has since been supported by a wealth of publications including NME and British Vogue. Her next single, “Heaven for Me” followed shortly after, receiving just as much hype. Her talents have already been recognised by Grimes, who reposted Aziya’s cover of “Oblivion” and US megastar H.E.R invited her to perform on her Instagram live, where she ended up playing to an online audience including Missy Elliot. Not bad, eh?
Releasing her debut EP, We Speak of Tides, on July 2 – Aziya set about exploring human connections and relationships. Each of the five tracks was written and co-produced by Aziya, firmly sitting in the realm of indie rock and indie.
We caught up with Aziya to talk about the EP, her return to live shows, the importance of social media in her world.
1. Your career hit off during lockdown. How have things differed coming out of lockdown?
“It’s less about posting covers and doing live streams online and more about rehearsing for live shows and recording music / filming music videos with others… in real life!”
2. Would you rather: perform at The BRITS or receive a number one single?
“Perform at the Brits. (Knowing the other one will happen.)”
3. How are you preparing for your live shows?
“I’ve been rehearsing pretty much non-stop, if I’m not rehearsing with the band I’m at home, sorting my pedals, strings etc checking the vocal pipes are still in working order.”
4. You write, produce and perform all your songs, which step do you love most?
“I love it all but, performing; there’s nothing like it.”
5. Talk us through We Speak of Tides.
“We Speak of Tides is my journey of trying to understand human interaction, exploring the grey area of relationships with a lot of self-reflection on being human and imperfect. You’ll be hearing me accuse a lover in one song and question a family member in the other.”
6. What is your favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe right now?
“This pink slip dress I own.”
7. What has it been like creating your EP during a pandemic?
“All of it was done pre-pandemic, so luckily the emotion and events I talk of in the songs are genuine. Which makes the songs more nostalgic to me.. Almost capturing a simpler (but yet not so simple) time.”
8. Which music video has been your favourite to film?
“Marathon”, it was co-directed by myself and it was done with one camera and a crew of four, so it was super DIY which I loved.”
9. Which three musicians would you want to get in the studio with? Dead or alive.
“Prince, Kevin Parker, Rosetta Tharpe.”
10. In your opinion, what is the best song ever written?
“Impossible to answer, I’ll tell you what was on my headphones last though: “Screaming Females” by Fantasy Lens.”
Photography by Sequoia Ziff. Aziya’s ‘We Speak of Tides’ is available to stream on all platforms now.