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What I Learned at Bandcamp: Azwel

Azwel, interview, Bandcamp

New York‘s Azwel is the project of singer-songwriter Jason Perillo. The indie musician has been recording and producing his own music for over 10 years. ¬†Originally an electronic artist, Azwel has since incorporated more acoustic instruments with pop melodies.

In July 2014, From Now On was released. The nine-track album is available as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp.

The Spec interviewed Perillo about his influences and future plans for Azwel, read what he had to say below…

Tell us a little about yourself…
I grew up in New York and the first instrument I learned was guitar. Shortly after that I picked up the keyboard on my own and started singing.

How long have you been making music?
Ever since I learned to play guitar. Then I started a few bands and in 2003, I recorded my first Azwel album.

Who/what are your influences?
Most of it is from overseas. Stuff like Manic Street Preachers, High Llamas, Stereolab, The Divine Comedy, Pet Shop Boys, Radiohead, Suede, Pulp, Blur, ELO, Komeda and then a handful of American artists like Ben Folds, Matthew Sweet, Scott Walker and R.E.M..

What is your favorite song you’ve released and why?
Probably a song on the new album called, “Convalesence.” I’m not sure why but it’s one of my favorite recordings, but I do enjoy the song also. I think I got the arrangement perfect on it and the imagery it sets in your mind is effective. It was the first song I wrote for From Now On and that helped get the ball rolling.

Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
Well, since I just released this new album, From Now On, I am focusing just on that and the promotion that goes with it. I do other projects as well to make some money on the side, like cover bands etc. I have no urge to record new Azwel material at the moment, but I look forward to that when it happens.

If you could no longer be a musician, what would you be or do for a living?
Maybe teach full time (but since I have a background of teaching guitar lessons and music, I’m not sure what else I’d teach!), or take over the family business!

What musicians or bands do you look up to?
Since I already listed some influences, I’ll just list some individual musicians. Chris Lowe of Pet Shop Boys. All of the backing tracks he has created over the years is impressive. Everyone goes on about Neil Tennant, but how about the beats this guy creates, as well as the rhythm parts, arpeggios, string pads. He really does it all. I don’t even mind that he doesnt really seem to be doing much at the live shows. Favorite singing voices go to Neil Hannon and maybe Damon Albarn. Sean O ‘Hagan is a big influence, too. Aside from his work in the High Llamas, he creates string arrangements for many bands on the side. And Maybe Edwyn Collins who went through a lot of health issues, to say the least, to continue making music.

Why do you make music?
Mostly for me. I’m a compulsive songwriter and producer. It never feels like work, it calms me down and keeps me occupied. When I’m not making music, I’m always thinking: “I should be writing a song right now.”

Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
Download the new album for free at www.azwel.com If you’d like, you can donate or even get it on iTunes/Amazon.

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