Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Azure Blue Interview

He comes from Sweden, he's got a thirst for knowledge... Tobias Isaksson is one of those people you would like to spend endless evenings with a glass of white wine and witty discussions about modern art or popular culture. Apart from Azure Blue, who I love, he now introduces himself with brilliant disco new project Night Flights. Thank you Tobias, for this truly lovely interview. 

Beyond the dreams there's infinite doubt.. Does that mean that you only feel secure and creative while dreaming?
It's a tough first question but I'll do my best to answer it. I am pretty philisophical in my lyrics. I've based my view of the cycles of life and love on my own experiences and what I've read and heard from others. I have a dream of a perfect life with inner peace and true love. But the road I know is becoming a travesty of old love and a feeling of great doubt. But I'm not as pessimistic as it may sound. Beyond the doubt there's infinite dreams, too. So my sounds work against the sometimes sad lyrics as a sort of juxtaposition.

You mentioned in one of your interviews that the color of the sky and the ocean on your record sleeves is a symbol of your personal journey, a love story. Could you explain?
When I was writing my first album I was looking out with new expectations. I was in a new city and found a lovely person along the way. It all felt positive. But when I was writing my second album the relationship fell apart. Partly because of the intense touring. So the dream of living from my own music only got distorted and I used rushing back into the city nightlife under a dystopic sky as a symbol of the new direction. Without spoiling the future it looks like there will be lighter colours again for my future Azure Blue work.

I understand you read literature and inspire from pieces for your music. Fav writers?
I don't have time to read that much since I also run a label, but I read Klas Östergren and Earnest Hemingway etc while writing Rule of Thirds and I read Francoise Sagan while writing Beyond the Dreams. Now I've been reading philosophy again for the first time since gymnasium. Though I am a five year academic with a bachelor in media, I prefer philosophy and sociology. Thinkers like Bourdieu and Kierkegaard. And still, my main inspiration has always been film and relationships. Sorry for making your head spin.

If Azure Blue were a book, it'd be a romantic novel or an autobiography and why?
It would be a romantic drama with me as a protagonist, playing me, based on personal experiences, but I'd add colours and maybe end with a surrealist twist where it all goes into an impossible= murmur or the end of the world.

You manage to combine retro and modern, sexy and dreamy, simplicity and wittiness in an effortless way. What is your true feeling and vision with Azure Blue?
I just make the music I feel most passionate about. My vision is to stay honest but leave some of the lyrics more open for the listeners to interpret. That's probably more interesting for everyone. I'm a pretty normal person, only I have the blessing - or curse of coming up with colorful themes and oneliners. I'm very easy to talk to and in person I crack too many jokes. I can't help myself. Comedy is another ambition of mine. I'm writing for national radio right now. Another juxtaposition I guess.

Your new project "Night Flights" releases now self-titled debut. 70s disco ambient beautiful and a bit darker stuff! By that sound, do you maybe feel that you are one step closer to your "destination" ?
Nite Flights is my club music, so it's maybe slightly closer to my current position. But it will also lead it's own life and evolve. Azure Blue is in a new place for me, too. I don't think there's any final destination for music or art. Just for the musicians and artists. Our inevitable death. Laughs.

You mentioned somewhere that it is very important to always find fun and beauty in things. How do you manage to do that?
By having great friends and an active social life. Right now the people in the clubs I frequently visit are the most inspiring and uplifting part of my life. But I think it has to change from year to year. Everything has to progress and there has to be humor.

Name me 3 movies for which you'd be delighted to have written the soundtrack.
The Big Blue, Blade Runner and Betty Blue.

Do you get on well with other swedish bands? Do you feel part of the "swedish pop scene"?
Yes, I do but as I also work as a booking agent I have to be trend sensitive enough to both be a part of it and try to develop it. But yes, after more than 10 years in the business I know a lot of bands from all over the world.

Tell me a few things about Hybris, your own label and music agency. You've got a few of my fav names on there.. like Postiljonen, TIAC, Korallreven and Biker Boy.
Postiljonen are my babies, but I don't work with them personally. Korallreven are great guys, too. I only officially release one band so far and that's Wild At Heart. But we do a lot of collective stuff like PR etc. But originally I was signed as an artist, but as I was a booking agent since years I started my own agency under Hybris's umbrella. TIAC and Biker Boy are not active anymore. You should check out Wild At Heart, Niva and Iberia etc. I also represent The Embassy, Team Rockit and some other great bands from other labels as a booking agent. It's a lot of work. I also dj and arrange clubs all the time.

When are you coming to Greece? open invitation and free sofa for the summer!
I'd love to return to Greece! I've only visited you as a beach bum. It would be cool to dig into history, and it would make sense to play some gigs. I just got two tracks on a compilation for a huge record store in Greece. Maybe that will spread the word so I can come on tour. Otherwise I might just accept that sofa invitation.

You can listen here the Night Flights EP >>