Azimute Interview

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Azimute is a DJ/Production duo consisting of Cesare Marchese & Philippe Quenum. Together they have already released on such formative imprints like Bedrock and Crosstown Rebels, but having recently released ‘We Are The Sound’ and Cesare’s very own Serialism Records, we caught up with the guys to find out about their musical past, and their hopes and plans for the future…

What’s your earliest ‘musical’ memory?

C: Listening to Pink Floyd in the car with my father when I was just a kid, and he was explaining to me how beautiful the vibe was that they created.

Q: With my parents. My father was music-crazy, he had the music on 24-7 non-stop. We listened to all styles, African music, jazz, french songs, salsa, funk, everything. He really gave me his love for music.

What was it that drove you to get into the music industry?

C: My parents suggested I learn to play guitar when I was 5 years old and then the piano later on. They pushed me towards music since the beginning. They later did the same with my sister who actually attended the conservatory to play the piano a few years later. By that time I moved on, I got into electronic music and I had new inspiring people to keep me around.

Q:As I said music and dancing was always big in my family, it was all around me, I grew up that way. Both my brothers and my nephews are all dancers, they’re music crazy, so it was kind of natural. Also, I was in clubs alot because of my breakdancing, so I got attracted early on to DJing. I loved dancing, but I also loved watching these guys who made people dance, and I thought I wanted to do that too. On top of it, when I was in high school, my uncle was the head of security for Le Palace (legendary Paris club), so I soon lost my interest for classes…and I saw lots of amazing artists there.

Who have been the most influential people in your musical development?

C: I have many mentors, friends who helped my development during the years of learning process in all eras of my life, but also artists I have never had the pleasure to meet and they inspired me big time. I love many genres, from Rock&Roll to Classical Music, Jazz, Hip Hop, Trip Hop, Jungle/Drum&Bass, Electronica, Dub, Reggae, Techno, House, Blues and so on.from Mozart to Radiohead via Dj Shadow & Massive Attack, John Coltrane & Thelonious Monk but also Pink Floyd, Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins..and Lee Scratch Perry, King Tubby, Photek, Aphex Twin, Boards of name it.. I’ve been there.

Q:First I had a good start with my father. We lived for ten years in West Africa, and Fela was huge then, and still a big influence for me, specially his rhythms, percussions, and also his personality, his role as a political artist. He was from Nigeria, and my father was born in Benin, which is the country next door. My ancestors were from what is Nigeria today, so that’s a big influence.

As I said, when I was dancing in the 80’s I saw DJs for the first time, like DST, and also big artists in electronic music, like Afrika Bambaataa and also Herbie Hancock, playing live on a computer at the Roxy Club in New York. It was a big shock for me,it changed my course. Then I kept on discovering new inspirations as I worked as a DJ, like this musician from Benin called Wally Badarou. He’s a genius with electronic music, and he also gave me inspiration for how you can make this music warm and groovy. And, like everyone, I got into the music from Chicago, and New York, and then Detroit. Later I met some of these people, and even worked with them, im so lucky.

Who inspires you outside of music?

C: My wife, my family, my big brother Quenum and many other factors, where I am, how I feel, there are so many things that inspire me on a daily base.

Q: Also my wife, my kids, everything that surrounds me really inspires me..and of course Cesare also..

What are the biggest three challenges facing you at this moment in time?

C: Logistics for’s pretty heavy to cope with all this traveling, informations coming to us in a very intense way, different experiences with different cultures, in a small amount of time, continuously changing’s a challenge that I value x3.

Q: I agree, it’s fun but also hard life..i guess it’s well explained by my partner..

What is the best event you’ve appeared at and why?

Too many to say, we could say just freshly baked the Serialism showcase at Watergate club in Berlin last week..the club was on fire, we played home and supporting a legend like Derrick May.The vibe was just sublime, but we have mostly great experiences at the moment all over the world..everywhere people have their own way to have fun, their “tactics” to enjoy to the fullest and find a way to escape the real day to day life with a lot of creativity.

If you could collaborate with ANYONE in the world (past or present) who would it be and why?

C: Tom Yorke, Andy Warhol, Miles Davis

Q: Marcus Miller. I’m a big fan of the bass guitar, I’ve always liked this instrument and he’s an incredible artist, I admire him a lot. He’s played with Miles Davis and other big names in music.

If you weren’t in the music game, what game would you be playing?

C: wife is a director and I live also her experiences next to mine and I’m very attracted by the world of Film-making.

Q:Dance. That’s how I started. I stopped dancing because I got into music, but otherwise I would have kept on dancing. I did modern jazz and breakdance. I toured with a breakdance group, even went to New York in the early 80’s and met all the great dancers, I had such an amazing time. But then I started noticing the DJs and I got into that.

Who gives you the most support in your life and work?

C: My wife, my parents, my sister and my partner Quenum and few good friends around us who help full time.

Q: Same as above. My wife helps and supports me a kids also and few friends around us, true, work a lot for us..

Tell us about your next 3 months? Big plans, big releases, where can we catch you guys?

Q:We will tour as Azimute until end of ADE in Amsterdam in Mid October. Then Cesare will join his family in Sao Paulo, Brazil and tour South America alone and I’ll be in Europe until we reconnect again in end of November to tour USA first and then in December South America, Brazil to end in Bpm festival in Mexico..

C: Regarding releases we have a record “We are the sound” on my label Serialism Records just release, and in November we will finally have our debut on Derrick Mays’s Transmat followed by 2nd of our “vinyl only” series AZIMUTE MUSIC”, the AMZYellow and few more eps here and there as solo artists, these include a remix for Easy Changes from the Arma17 crew in Moscow, Quenum has an ep on Upon You, a remix of Mathew Jonson’s Decompression and much more in the pot but we cannot disclose yet.

Azimute’s ‘We Are The Sound’ is out now on Serialism Records

Photo Credit: Josue Alongi

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