azari & iiiI wrote this story in November 2011 for the Future Music Festival. It was published in Beat Magazine (Melbourne), The Brag (Sydney) and Scene (Brisbane). The show at the Forum was probably my gig of the year so far. Anyone else trying to compete, two words: Cat. Walk.

In a scene that continues to be dominated by and cater largely to heterosexual males, with every music video featuring some perky girl shaking her tits in a a bikini, it’s refreshing to come across a group like Azari & iii: unashamedly camp and bringing back vintage house in a truly sexy way.

Their rise to acclaim has been a rapid one. Following the release of the haunting Hungry For The Power in 2009, came Reckless With Your Love which quickly became last summer’s dancefloor anthem in the best underground clubs. Cementing their rising notoriety was Into the Night, remixed by the likes of Prince Languar, CFCF and Nicolas Jaar.

When Hungry For the Power was re-released this year, the controversial video accompanying it didn’t thwart the stream of attention they were already getting. The storyline follows a vapid businessman engaging in hedonistic and filthy things in his highrise office, watching porn and being visited by a dominatrix who he eventually murders. Naturally, this was deemed inappropriate for TV and they were forced to make another version.

“They wanted to play something [on TV] and they were like ‘well if you get rid of the violence and the pill popping’ ,” says Alixander iii over the phone from Brighton in the UK, “and we were like ‘well we’re not going to have a video’ then.”

“The only thing that was censored was the anal sex that the guy was watching. Without anal sex how could it be as fun?” asks Alixander.

“But it’s OK to have violence and cannibalism?” says Cedric. “It’s kind of like weird.”

The Toronto based four piece is made up of Christian Farley, alias Dinamo Azari, and Alphonse Lanza, aka Alixander III and the two fiercest vocalists you’ve ever seen in the form of Fritz Helder and Cedric Gasiada.

Their self titled album deals with “humanity being in decline right now”, according to Alixander and lyrically deals with some intense subject matter, exhibited on songs like Hungry For the Power and the newest single Manic.

“We like to have meaning, we don’t want to constantly sing ‘set me free’,” vocalist Cedric explains. “If we go through things in life we like to talk about them. We talk about things that are in our lives, things that surround us.”

“Desire in her eyes tells me that she wants me, but then I realize – she’s a schizophrenic,” they sing in Manic, which delves into the meaning of what is “normal” and what is not.

“At every party there is that one freak who is about to get ejected or their face smashed,” explains Alixander.

azari & iii self-titled
Azari & iii - S/T

Cedric continues: “There’s that girl who’s like flirting with all those guys and is like ‘oh you can come with me to the bathroom’ and then will go upstairs with some other dude. Day time she’s a total corporate girl, same thing with him, and it’s crazy.”

Alixander agrees: “It’s a hate on for normality. ‘Hey, you think your normal? Well you’re more fucked up than we are.’”

Although the band have risen from obscurity practically overnight, that doesn’t mean they’re going to relinquish control of their careers and accept anything they’re offered.

“It’s kind of the beginning of our band, having to deal with a lot of things really quickly, having people pushing us into situations that we dont even know if we want,” Alixander explains.

“I’m not that person who is like 21 years old who wants to live like a bum just to be known. We just want to express ourselves, it’s not about getting laid. We find getting laid harder now – we used to get laid a lot more before we were famous.”

At this point in the conversation I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that when I pushed them on whether they were “getting laid” a lot, Alixander takes our chat on a very revealing tangent. Sexy music = sexy band, makes sense.

“Well, we used to [get lots of sex]. Now it’s like ‘oh, well they probably get sex all the time, so maybe I won’t’, but if you’re just a really good looking dude with a big dick walking down the street…. If you’re up on a stage people are like ‘well he probably fucked 10 guys before me’. Stop thinking so much and just drop ’em,” Alixander explains, while Cedric laughs hysterically in the background.

“What I was saying before about the Manic thing – people think a lot about things and why they’re doing it. I know it’s hard for girls – if you just want to have an orgasm or whatever, then just do it. If you don’t, then don’t. Don’t flirt around the topic, don’t think too much about it. If you’re a slut then it’s easy. Never call a girl a slut because that’s not going to help her put out.”

Word.

Judging from feedback from those lucky enough to catch Azari & iii‘s flamboyant live show during their last trip Down Under for the Vivid Festival, attendees at Future Music next year are in for a treat. It is reportedly unparralleled. The band have already been getting acquainted with some of the performers they’ll be sharing a stage with.

“We just met Skrillex in toronto not too long ago, y’know he’s playing,” says Cedric.

So he’s a nice guy?

“He’s a bit of a douche.”

By Rose Callaghan

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