INTERVIEW 51. azure blue

For a long time, I hear people saying that we know more about the space than about the oceans. That always seemed odd to me since I can touch the ocean with my feet. As I grew older and smarter (?) I started to understand the reasons why’s that. Perhaps for the same reason – or infinite others – some people have this connection – maybe bond is a better word – with the salty water that surrounds us.
And maybe the idea of grandness is better understood with the ocean since the grandness of the space is too abstract to our little minds to understand.
From the deep ocean comes Tobias Isaksson. Actually Tobias comes from Sweden and Azure Blue – his electronic project – comes from the ocean. A dreamy and crystalline ocean with gentle  and warm tides. 

Tobias is no stranger to music fans, since he was part of Irene and Laurel Music. 

"If Laurel Music was the sound of a lost first love and Irene was the impossible dream of endless summer, Azure Blue is the night after the day after. "

Rule of Thirds is the name of his debut album and it'll be released next Wednesday (November 23) via Hybris. "The Catcher in The Rye" is the first single.

The Catcher in the Rye by Azure Blue

Here's our interview. Tobias talks about his love for the ocean, his debut album, pre-release anxieties and perfect pop songs.

01. How and when did you start playing with computers?  Where does the name Azure Blue comes from?
Playing with electronic instruments and synths came with this new solo project. I'm originally a guitarist that had to sing in my old band and then I've gotten to appreciate modern work methods and prefer retro-modern sounds to traditional. We avoided midi, though and used a lot of analog equipment. Computers are bad substitutes for real instruments. But it's about connecting the newest music I love with some really nice stuff recorded in the 1980's. And it's also about a 30-something's way of making it easy for himself. Minimal rehearsal and quick takes in the studio is ideal.
The name came from Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue, but it's not just the music, it's his gentleman like look with the epic beard that's inspiring as well. The music sounds a bit like both my old bands aspired to sound like. Traditional and orchestrated. So in the name there's the history and the future at once.

02. If your music was a planet or landscape how it would look like?

I see Stockholm and Göteborg in Sweden because I live here, but it's about longing and dreaming about something more beautiful, more perfect. The bands that are inspired by beautiful beaches and water are getting many, but I can never stop loving the ocean. So imagine an aquatic world with clean, azure blue water.

03. Name a few influences…

Luc Besson's The Big Blue, Hal Hartley's movies, The Go-Betweens, OMD, New Romantic, New Wave, contemporary pop, novels by Paul Auster, Earnest Hemingway and Klas Östergren.

04. Your debut album is going to be released next November via Hybris. How was the making of it? How was the creative process and what were your ideas while recording it? How does the album feel like?
The album will be released by Hybris from Sweden, Matinée from Santa Barbara in the USA and Universal in The Phillipines for what we know so far. All around the globe via different distributors. All begins in November. 
The creative process has been different than previous projects of mine, only working with a friend with pre-production and a producer in the studio, then we had mastering by another friend. In a way it's a result of me knowing exact who to contact and what to get from them these days. But they all contributed, especially the secret producer who played great synth and did some really awesome technical stuff.

05. What’s the involvement of Hybris on the making of it? And how did they got in touch with you?
I'm good friends with Hybris but it doesn't make it any easier to get a deal with them. And it doesn't make it any easier for them to sign me. I did some really promising pre-productions and got some media attention and good gigs and then we decided I was ready to enter a studio. Hybris give full artistic freedom which is great, but they ask for harder work on certain details. I appreciate an honest label, always did. And I've always liked Hybris.

06. Are you nervous? 
Yes, I am a bit nervous because I want so dearly to communicate this record to people because of its lyrical, often philosophical topics and I'd be very sad if it gets bad response or even gets neglected.

07. What is a perfect pop song for you?
There are so many different kinds of perfect. But generally I want the melody to be memorable with a hook and the lyrics to speak to me somehow. I want to be moved or at least feel like moving my feet.

08. Time and place to hear your music. 
Any given time and place I hope. It's hard enough to say where I was when I wrote these songs, to be honest. Hehe.

09. Show us a music video you like.
I like Chris Isaak's Wicked Games. It's very dreamlike and romantic. I also love The Sound Of Arrows videos like Nova and now I'm getting a romantic video made with their director Mattias Johansson.

10. Describe the place where you are answering these questions.
I'm in my sofa with a laptop. Comfortable and calm. It's getting late. That's the best time to answer questions. In the quiet of the night.

11. Anything else you feel like saying?
Thanks for taking the time to read this interview. It's a world overloaded with information and I'm humbled by everyone taking the time to listen to Azure Blue. Honest love from Sweden.

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