On The Record: The music that shaped Azer

On The Record: The music that shaped Azer

Celebrated as one of Belgium's very best DJs, Azer has been at the forefront of the European underground scene for well over a decade now.

Although highly regarded for his encyclopedic knowledge of jazz, funk, soul, Afrobeat and "all types of bass and electronic oriented grooves", those close to Azer know that hip-hop was his first and foremost love.

Capable of crafting eclectic, genre-bending hour-long sets or putting together marathon all-nighters - the one thing that ties Azer's selections together is his constant desire to push fresh, quality tunes and his smooth, uncanny mixing style.

Whether he's touring the world as a DJ, sharing the stage with the likes of FKA Twigs and Talib Kweli (just to name a few), or holding it down on national radio shows, the renowned Belgian's cred definitely runs deep. 

Most recently, long-running night All Eyes On Hip Hop (where he's been a resident for 12 years) also nabbed the "Best Party" award at the prestigious 2016 Red Bull Elektropedia Awards, adding another notch to his heavy belt of accolades.

This Friday, 17th February, Azer returns to Singapore with Revision Music (after his memorable showing at Good Times in 2015) for a special headlining showcase at kult kafé, where he'll be supported by Senja and Pushin'On's Shellsuit!

But before then, we caught up with the man himself to learn more about the influential records that have shaped his life and career. 


I heard it on a local radio station and I was immediately hooked by the warm jazzy sound and the characteristic voices of Q-Tip and Phife. It sparked my interest to search for more hip-hop and to start deejaying."


At the moment that would probably be Syd’s album Fin. It’s the album I have been listening to every day since it came out two weeks ago. Sampha’s new album Process would be a good pick too for a 2am drive."


There’s so much shit I wont listen to ever again. I’m constantly searching for new music so a lot of the time I listen to stuff I just want to check out but end up not liking. The last one is probably the new Migos album Culture. I like the single ‘Bad and Boujee’ and you might catch me play that at a party. But as an album It’s just not the type of music I like to listen to."


Not that it will make me cry but back in the days I was always very touched by 'Four Women' the hidden track on the first Reflection Eternal album. That album is such a masterpiece."


That’s a tough question, but you can never go do wrong with playing some Fela Kuti. My all time favorite is 'Water No Get Enemy'."


The whole Malibu album by Anderson .Paak without a doubt! It’s the album we constantly put on at home last year. It’s the perfect album for any moment and there’s a shitload of tracks on there that will get people dancing during a DJ set. This album has it all. It’s hard to pick a favourite track of this album but ‘Heart Don’t Stand a Chance’ is pure beauty."


In high school I used to be a big fan of Rage Against The Machine especially their debut album from 1992. That was right before I got into hip-hop. It makes sense as Zach De La Rocha is basically a rapper and the experimental guitar sounds by Tom Morello sometimes sound like scratches. My favorite track would probably be ‘Know Your Enemy’."


I think I heard ‘Juicy’ by The Notorious B.I.G. a bit to much at parties. Although I remember playing it myself recently, so I’m guilty too."


I didn’t expect to like Childish Gambino’s new album Awaken, My Love! so much. I knew his music as I played at one of his gigs in Brussels some years ago but I wasn’t really anticipating his new album. Until I heard the first single ‘Redbone’ that track blew me away. It was so different from what he was known for. It truly showcases how versatile he is as an artist."


Not that it makes me proud to be from Belgium but there’s two albums from last year that I really enjoyed. One is by Brihang who raps in Dutch he’s a true artist as he raps, produces, is a poet and is even a sculptor. He really has his own unique sound and style. Check out his album Zolangmogelijk. It’s in Dutch so you might miss out on his clever use of language but musically it’s very original too. Another album from last year is Morale by Brussels-based, French-speaking rapper Roméo Elvis and producer Le Motel. Check it out!"


Recently I heard this song somewhere that I really liked. I pulled out Shazam to get to know what it was and it turned out to be Black Sabbath."


When I was a child there was this cartoon about a duck. The opening song of the show was by Dutch musician Herman van Veen. The title song is 'Ik ben vandaag zo vrolijk' which means “I am so happy today”. But I really hated the whole vibe of the track and the sound of his voice. The whole thing just didn’t feel right."


The Welcome to Detroit album by J Dilla. It’s my favorite album. I had been buying every single record with Jay Dee/Dilla’s name on and I was so happy when he dropped his BBE solo album. It has so much diversity and it’s the perfect album to me. When it came out ‘Think Twice’ was my favourite track. But now it would be difficult to pick. I like all of them."


Has there been anything better made than D’Angelo’s Voodoo yet?"


I’m the biggest J Dilla fan but after he passed away they started to release everything they could get their hands on. For example that Jay Stay Paid album they put together, I really don’t enjoy listening to that album. I’m sure Dilla wouldn’t want it to be released the way they did. The amount of his work that is out now just brings down the quality of his legacy."