French DJ/producer Azaxx is a new signing to Tru Thoughts for 2009, although his talents originally came to the label’s attention through his killer track “Fiesta Tropical”, which was duly snapped up for Tru Thoughts’ ‘Shapes 07:02’ compilation in 2007. Building on the success of that cut, and with a whole set of sizzling new tracks up his sleeve, he is back, and his forthcoming long player is set for release in March. Aptly entitled ‘The Exotic Delight Bay’, his full Tru Thoughts debut sees Azaxx mixing up the styles from Brazilian flavours and rhythms to Bmore and breaks with a quirky yet sophisticated Gallic touch.
Azaxx, a native of Rennes, started out as a DJ playing trip hop from labels like Mo Wax and Source in the early days, but quickly moved on to drum ‘n’ bass from key players such as Roni Size, Hype and Congo Natty. Not completely satisfied with these reggae-laced beats and becoming more interested in the original samples behind the more liquid funk side of the sound, he delved deeper into drum ‘n’ bass heritage. “I think this happens when you are into music – you inevitably start looking back at what influenced that genre. This led me to buying many funk/soul originals and playing slower, funkier big beat music”, he explains.
With his newly enriched musical palate, Azaxx went on to become an active member of the big beat scene in Rennes, and it was there that he met Freddy Fresh, who became an instant fan, putting out Azaxx’s debut 7”, “Bahia” on his well-regarded Howlin’ Records in 2004. This funky breaks head-nodder gained Azaxx a following across the channel in the UK, most notably gaining air play from the late, great John Peel on BBC Radio 1. In the same year, Azaxx released his debut album on French indie Mobil-Home recordings. Since then he has DJed around Europe and as far afield as Brazil, and in a uniquely intriguing addition to his CV, he has produced records for esteemed Celtic harpist Alan Stivell, aka ‘the father of traditional Celtic music’ from his native Brittany.
While DJing and travelling around in Brazil, Azaxx was blown away by the beats he encountered there, and was inspired to start work on some new material which would become ‘The Exotic Delight Bay’ album. More dancefloor-orientated than previous Azaxx productions, ‘The Exotic Delight Bay’ is packed with the temperature-raising flavours and rhythms that he soaked up on his travels, combined with textures and influences pooled from his grandmother’s collection of old mambo and salsa records and modern jazz, funk and breaks. Using these inspirations and with a nod to the production techniques of the likes of DJ Kam, Funk Mob and Motorbass, Azaxx has created his own unique style which is proving to be a hit with DJs including Pathaan (BBC Asian Network) and Domu (BBC 1Xtra). You can catch Azaxx these days DJing an eclectic cocktail of Latin, jazz, soul, funk, rare groove, breakbeat, broken beat, and ‘60s / ‘70s groove. ‘The Exotic Delight Bay’ CD album, and a 4 track EP 12”, were released Spring 2009.