THOMAS AZIER, a Berlin-based Dutch guy who sings in English and has a record deal in France. This is the pan-European story of a highly interesting pop artists. With an uncompromising, dark and broody electronic pop sound, THOMAS AZIER makes his own impression on the pop music world. In 2012, he released two EP’s, Hylas 001 and Hylas 002, on his own label Hylas Records. He planned to release an EP trilogy, Hylas 003 grew bigger than he expected, it became an album. This debut album, simply titled Hylas comprises all of the meticulous work heÄs done to develop himself musically over the last five years.
THOMAS AZIER was born in the Netherlands and relocated to Berlin at age 19. ‘I was looking for a place to experiment. I didn’t know much about Berlin, other than it was cheap. So I bought myself time to help develop my producing and songwriting skills.’ The start wasn’t an easy one, since he struggled to find an audience for his music. So he played guerrilla sets in dance clubs, broke the endless loop of Berlin’s minimal techno parties with short 20 minutes electronic sets full of actual pop music. By doing so he leaned a lot about pop music. ‘It’s all about making sure you come to the point’.
I felt disconnected from the postmodern scene, which is prominent in Berlin. As a 19-year-old, my music had a romantic, naïve touch. I also was looking for something more ‘crafted’ and felt music was drowning in this sea of deconstruction. Sometimes I was by myself for weeks. It makes you really start to observe your surroundings and so I discovered this strange dark side of the city.
What also left a big impression on THOMAS AZIER is the constant transformation of Berlin. This led to the overall theme of his music, which he describes as ‘metamorphosis’. But not only his Berlin and his music are about transformation, also the album’s artwork is.
Of course the album starts with a song titled Hylas, goes on with Ghostcity (Berlin) and Verwandlung (German for ‘transformation’). Three songs that already make clear what’s important for him: everything around him. And when he sings ‘hot to disappear?’ it becomes clear what he wants. It is the transformation of the ghost city that makes him wanna disappear. Hylas is an album that took five years for him to make. Five endless years of impressions that directly mould into the album’s sound. The reflection of his development from the 19-year-old boy to the young adult he is now. Songs about the naivety of youth as well as the struggles of growing up. All put together with adult soundscapes.
If people ask me to describe my music, I always call it a play between hope and despair.
‘Safe me from the shadow of the sun’, he signs. We safe you, THOMAS. We give you hope and strength to not despair of the challenges of life and living in Berlin. By the way: there is probably no better way than closing Hylas with the song Sirens of the Citylight and the words ‘waiting for the sunrise’. An album that broaches issues that not only influence the artist with the pan-European story. It broaches issues that we all know, no matter which Ghostcity we live in. Not only Berlin changes, everything does. So do life and love. But what remains is music. And with THOMAS AZIER‘s music we’ll be waiting for the sunlight.
On his debut album Hylas THOMAS AZIER perfectly sets to music what is called ‘transformation’. The city, life and love are ever changing. Hylas remains.
NBHAP Rating: 4/5