You know when you can tell someone is cooler than you, like, immediately? They just give something off, like pheromones, or a non-aggressive cologne. As soon as I plonked myself down on the couch between Fritz Helder and Dinamo Azari, I realized I was in a bit over my head. So, here’s how I stumbled through an interview with one half of the Torontonian neo-house/retro-dance foursome, Azari & III, during the London stop of their European tour. From our little three-person couch we chatted about giraffes, Drake, drag and, duh, music.
Noisey: So are you still recovering from playing Lovebox on Sunday?
Fritz: It was amazing, it was our second time, but our first time headlining. It was a beautiful day, and packed. The crowd was great and so attentive. Their energy was amazing. There were people having sex all over the place, apparently.
That must’ve been pretty distracting.
F: I wish we could have seen it—what a nice distraction! It was a sea of people. We were just happy everyone was having a good time.
You guys met at a place called Remington’s in Toronto, right?I used to live around the corner from there!
D: Ah, yes! I just saw Fritz and thought he had a hot-bod and said to myself ‘why don’t we get this guy singing’, and then after one of our gigs we went down to a karaoke bar and ran into Cedric, who was singing some shitty song but doing it really, really well, so we got him involved and carried on. That’s pretty much how it started.
A bunch of hot-bods making music for other hot-bods to dance to?
D: Yeah, I guess so.
F: And we wonder why people are always calling us gay.
Speaking of which, Dinamo’s been quoted as saying that what dance parties need are more transvestites. What do you think it is about transvestism that makes for a good dance party?
D: Everyone’s so boring. It’s nice just to see something a bit more elaborate. Everyone would rather look at a giraffe or a zebra.
F: There’s an element of freedom, too. People who can leave the house like that definitely have a sense of confidence about them, that I think is lacking now in the party scene. That kind of exuberance, that zest. People want that at a party, because it kind of lets them loose a bit more too. It’s like—“Look what that person’s up to, I can do my own thing too.“
And what would be at your ideal party?
F: A giraffe at the door with a clipboard.
A PR giraffe?
Interesting. How often do you guys get back to the T.dot? I’m sorry I called it that.
D: Every month. Whatever that means. We probably spend half the year there.
You talk a lot about multiculturalism in Toronto versus other places. Do you think it's ahead of the game and other places are playing catch-up?
D: Most metropolises are fairly multicultural now. Especially here in London, and New York, of course; Toronto definitely has a wide variety of people, and we do try to feed off that energy. It opens your mind to letting things in and accepting things, and that’s something that’s important to music as well.
So, you’re trying to get people to open up with the new album?
D: We want to make you cry. We want to fucking put you through some pain too. It’s not just about dancing, that’s for sure.
F: We definitely do want to be inclusive. We don’t want to leave anybody out. Everybody can come; the sociopaths, the trannies, the giraffes, black people, white people, brown people, pink people.
Everyone’s welcome, but then you’re going to make them cry?
F: Equal opportunity torture. Plus a party after.
Anything really exciting happen to you guys while you’ve been in London? You know, aside from the massive festival performances and European tour?
F: This is really silly, but yesterday we were getting ready for our show at 100 Club and these teenage girls came screaming up to us, just on the street. That never happens to us, we didn’t really know what to do. It was crazy.
You guys had a Justin Bieber moment!
D: Yeah, we totally did. They were like, fighting about who got to talk to us first. I didn’t know how to handle it—it was my first experience with anything like that.
F: They were screaming and shaking, it was really intense.
What did you guys do?
D: We don’t know how to handle that kind of thing, we’re Canadian!
Aaaaaand then my tape recorder cut off, which is the worst from a journalism standpoint, but the best from a My Life standpoint, because for the next ten minutes, unbeknownst to Azari & III, they were just having a cool hang out with me on some couches. It is actually tragic, though, as they had a lot of interesting things to say about the state of the Canadian music and entertainment industry generally—“It feels like the Canadian music scene is constantly ‘arriving’; Canadian artists have to work hard.”—and I am sorry, basically, that that is just something I know now. These are the snippets I can recall from the lost conversation:
-Dinamo likes Drake. We all agreed it’s crazy that he was able to go from “Wheelchair Jimmy” on Degrassi to one of the most popular rappers of the moment. Fritz suggested Drake’s refusal to let anyone deny him street cred probably has to do with the aforementioned Canadian tenacity.
-Everyone should check out Black Atlass, and, oh god, I’m so sorry to the other up-and-coming young musicians that were specifically name-dropped and are now lost in the annals of my dictaphone. (You’ll be fine! Keep up the good work!)
-Andlast but not least, “Please do not use the phrase ‘Justin Bieber moment’ in the actual write up.”
Sorry, keeping it in you guys!
Azari & III's new single "Into The Night" is out on July 16th and you can listen to the exclusive CFCF remix below.